Kathleen Turner Re-Plots The Killing of Sister George for Revised Revival

By Mervyn Rothstein
03 Nov 2012

Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
photo by Carol Rosegg
How is it different? "I'll give you one clue," she says. "In the original, we find out very early, at the top of the second act, that Sister George is going to be killed off. Well, it just doesn't ring true to me that she would make no attempt to stop that. So what we've done is weave in a subplot for her to keep her character alive."

This is Turner's first directorial assignment since a 2008 revival of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart for Roundabout Theatre Company.

"Since then I've been looking around, at least in my mind, for the next piece I would want to direct. I find myself very drawn to plays about the relationship between women, because I think it's much less explored, much less clichéd. Not nearly as many assumptions are made."

She comes to Long Wharf from the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, where she portrayed journalist Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, winning raves, as she had in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She has also been traveling with High, her most recent Broadway vehicle (written by Matthew Lombardo).

She is in remission from the severely painful rheumatoid arthritis that took hold in the 1990s, badly damaged her film career and led to a vodka addiction that increased her troubles. "I'm able to stop all the medications, which is fantastic. I find it quite a relief. But it's not easy. My knees and feet have all had multiple operations. A couple of other joints will need surgery. But I'm not quite ready for that."

(This feature appears in the November 2012 subscription issue of Playbill magazine.)