Sian Thomas has done it all. Her screen credits include HARRY POTTER and MERLIN and on stage she has covered the full gambit of parts including Martha in Edward Albee’s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? and Lady Macbeth in ‘the Scottish Play’. In 2002 she appeared with Madonna who was making her West End debut in UP FOR GRABS at Wyndham’s Theatre. Michael Billington wrote in his Guardian review, “Sian Thomas, who can get a laugh simply through the flick of an eyelid is superb as a Courtauld-trained consultant longing to get her revenge on the corporate world.”
In the Royal Shakespeare’s 2004, production of MACBETH at Stratford-upon-Avon, Billington wrote, ” Sian Thomas was born to play Lady Macbeth, the right mixture of attack, sexiness and emotional drive.”
I drew this sketch of Sian as Lady Macbeth and Martha and meet her at the Donmar Warehouse on Saturday after the matinee performance of WELCOME HOME, CAPTAIN FOX where she signed it for me.
One of my favourite songs is ‘Send in the Clowns’ from Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 musical A Little Night Music. I’m not sure why I like it – the haunting melody, the lyrics or maybe as a political cartoonist it’s simply metaphorical. Sondheim that it was about fools and foolishness.
It’s the show’s big number – a ballad from Act II in which the character Desiree reflects on the ironies and disappointments of her life after her marriage proposal is declined. The song became a major pop hit when first Judy Collins recorded it in England, then Frank Sinatra heard it and also recorded it. It won the Grammy in 1976 for Song of the Year. Since then it seems that every person who sings has recorded it, including Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Olivia Newton-John, Elaine Paige…. even Krusty the Clown of The Simpsons.
Sir Trevor Nunn’s 2009 production – the third London revival – started life at the Menier Chocolate Factory before transferring to the Garrick Theatre. The wonderful Hannah Waddingham played Desiree, the touring thesp, self-absorbed, once-successful actress who rekindles her love affair with a benign middle aged lawyer, now married to an 18 year old.
Kelly Price played Charlotte, the tolerant wife of Desiree’s lover Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm. Both ewere nominated for Olivier Awards. Getting this sketch signed was a bit of a mission. I eventually caught up with Kelly after a performance of The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre in March 2010 and Hannah signed in August at the Regent’s Park Open Theatre where she was appearing in Into The Woods.
I have a 50% success rate when it comes to sending stuff to Broadway Theatres for signatures, so I was very happy to receive my sketches back from Catherine Zeta Jones and the legendary Angela Lansbury in February 2010. Both were starring in Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 musical A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre. And both were nominated for a Tony Award, with Catherine winning for Best Actress in a Musical, a category Angela had previously been nominated in 4 times, winning on each occasion. For this production Angela was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical. She didn’t win, but had won in the same category in 2009 for Blithe Spirit.