Kenneth Lonergan’s tale of astronomy and midlife misery THE STARRY MESSENGER completed its British premiere at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End over the summer. It featured Broadway royalty and double Tony winner Matthew Broderick and Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Elizabeth McGovern.
Kenneth, who won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for his 2016 film MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, wrote the play specifically for Matthew, a long-time friend, who played the lead role ten years ago in the original off-Broadway production. In his West End debut he reprised his role as Mark Williams, a disgruntled astronomer who teaches the subject at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, where his life is spiralling out of control and his marriage is on the rocks.
Elizabeth played his anxious wife Anne. In his Independent Review, Paul Taylor wrote, “The actors play characters that range from laugh-out-loud funny to twisty, wrong-footed ambivalence.”
Both Matthew and Elizabeth kindly signed my sketch based on early publicity images during rehearsals in early May
DOWNTON ABBEY’S Elizabeth McGovern returned to the London Stage this month in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s new play SUNSET AT THE VILLA THALIA on the Dorfman stage at the National Theatre. She plays June, the ‘retsina-sloshing’ alcoholic wife of the enigmatic Harvey, (Ben Miles) a US Government rep during the political turmoil in Greece in 1967. The ‘funny and passionate’ play looks at the effects of Western interventionism on the Greek nation and it’s people. The Times said ‘The play is a winner. Elizabeth McGovern is superbly funny.”
American-born but London-resident for many years, Elizabeth played Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham in the hugely popular TV series DOWNTON ABBEY from 2010 until this year. It’s a role that has earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination and has won the ensemble SAG Award twice. She also received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and a Globe nomination for the 1981 film RAGTIME.
Elizabeth is also an accomplished singer-songwriter. In 2008 she formed the band ‘Sadie and the Hotheads’ which became a regular fixture at the Castle Pub in Lndon’s Portobello Rd.
Fittingly, I left this sketch of her as June in June at the National, and she signed it for me.