Once Known as Angelica Torn, the Daughter of American Acting Royalty Takes a "Page" Out of Her Mother's Book

By Harry Haun
05 Feb 2012

Laurence Lau and Page in Psycho Therapy.
photo by Carol Rosegg

Psycho Therapy was one of the plays that surfaced in a weekly salon series Page conducted at her family home in Chelsea for three and a half years. Barbara Ligeti, the producer who brought it in, suggested they do it over the winter. A week later, while attending the reading of a Lyle Kessler play at the Cherry Lane, Page met Angelina Fiordellisi, who runs the theatre and just happened to have an opening.

The Off-Broadway play proved a snug fit with the play that Page will be doing on Broadway. She's part of the all-star cast that will be reviving Gore Vidal's The Best Man at the Schoenfeld. "I'm Catherine. The way my director describes her: 'She's the sex-kitten political aide that John Larroquette paws on.'"

Her previous brush with Broadway was in Warren Leight's 1998 Tony winner, Side Man, in which she wound up playing both female characters — starting with the blowsy barmaid, Patsy, and graduating to the harridan housewife, Terry.

"I originated Patsy. When I first came to Patsy, she had about four lines, and every day Warren would come in with some new pages. He kept writing new scenarios for me so it was really nice to have a part written for me." She covered for Terry and eventually took the role over on Broadway and on tour. She won the Helen Hayes Award when she played Terry at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center.

She recently contended for a second Helen Hayes Award for her performance of Ivy Weston in Tracy Letts' likewise Tony-winning August: Osage County, led by that Energizer bunny of actors, Estelle Parsons.

"One of the reasons I went on that tour of August: Osage County was that I wanted to watch Estelle do that tour. That's what I want to be when I grow up. I feel like we're kin. I've played her daughter twice. After the first time, I said, 'I'm never doing this again,' and then August: Osage County and I was, like, 'Okay! A three-and-a-half hour play, 21 cities in 11 months! Let's go!' On the road with Estelle — it was just divine. You can never rest for a moment when you're on stage with her because she'll eat you alive.

Page and Libby George in August: Osage County.
photo by Robert J. Saferstein

"Ivy's the middle sister who falls in love with her cousin, who turns out to be her brother. I could have done any of the sisters, but Ivy was the part I wanted to play. Her arc was so challenging and her journey so unexpected. It was a much different part for me to play — the wallflower who's almost invisible 'til the third act when, all of a sudden, her mother's not around and you hear what's going on inside her head."

Page's first Broadway job was understudying Natasha Richardson in Anna Christie. Her own father played Anna's father, so that aspect worked out well. "I loved him in Anna Christie. I got to see him every night. That was the one reason I would liked to have gone on. I try to give my understudies always one performance because I didn't get one that time when I understudied. Now, I'm glad I never went on because it put a real fire in my belly to do it. I got this itch."

Last year she started scratching that itch. "We did it at the Actors Studio. It was so, so good. I've been working on it for many years, on and off, exploring it at the Studio. Wilson Milam, the director of The Lieutenant of Inishmore, was our director, and we were about to move it to a commercial run when there was word that the Donmar Warehouse was bringing over an English version. I said, 'So what? Let's have dueling Annas.' Neither production happened, but I just talked to some producers who want to do a site-specific version on a boat at the end of the summer or early fall of this year — for a very limited run, maybe 25 performances."

She believes, for all practical purposes, Torn has quietly retired. "He's got a great place up in Connecticut. He loves farming and fishing — y'know, he seems perfectly content. And he's writing his memoirs." One volatile chapter will be the bizarre show-me-the-way-to-go-home headlines he made last January when he mistook the local Salisbury bank for his home. Father and daughter are currently cooling it.

"We're taking a little bit of a break. I'm sure we'll reconvene. I was the closest to him out of all my siblings for many, many years. I traveled with him a lot of times when he was working so I'm letting my siblings get their fair share of time in now. I need a bit of time to myself right now because my whole family can be a little distracting."