October 15, 2008 |
Nearly A century before Tina Turner's current and possibly final tour, Sarah Bernhardt, the greatest actress of her time, made a similar journey. At 71, Bernhardt did not possess the remarkable health the 68-year-old Turner displayed Monday at the Staples Center. Instead of flashing two still-mighty legs for everyone to admire, Bernhardt hid one under her skirts; the other had been amputated after an infection, and she sat in a chair to deliver her soliloquies. Yet the Divine Sarah's voice and physical charisma still enraptured audiences in the U.S. and beyond, and the very fact of the tour, so seemingly defiant of mortality, added to an already considerable legend.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 2006
May 19, 1906: Sarah Bernhardt, the great French actress, concluded her Southern California tour, performing "La Tosca" at the Venice Auditorium. The Times reported that "as Floria Tosca, Madame Bernhardt puts forth her usual powers of intensity and emotional force" but added that the actress, then 61, lacked the "girlish spontaneity, physical vivaciousness and the youthful brilliance of voice that once was hers."
December 4, 2005 |
WHEN Sarah Bernhardt had herself photographed at 35 in her coffin, she was already well on her way to becoming the best-known person of her era. By the time the legendary French actress truly died at 79, she had performed on stages all over the world, including four "farewell" tours of America, made eight films and endorsed face cream, cars and Bronx real estate.
August 26, 2004 |
Abundantly entertaining, Lillian Groag's "The Ladies of the Camellias," now at the Colony, is a gilt-edged valentine to the theater that begins as a frothy exegesis of eccentric celebrity and ends with a surprising philosophical punch. That gilt edge is not figurative. The stage is encompassed by a lavish gold-trimmed proscenium, a fitting framework for Tom Buderwitz's sumptuous set, which vividly re-creates a Paris theater, circa 1897.
July 18, 2004 |
More than 80 years after her death, Sarah Bernhardt has not yet seen her final curtain call. The tempestuous actress was arguably the world's first modern superstar, a proto-celebrity well before the advent of cinema would make such creatures commonplace. Imagine a Madonna capable of inspiring Oscar Wilde to pen "Salome" with her in mind and you get the idea.
April 1, 2002 |
Is it possible for a play with only two actors to seem cluttered? If the play is "Memoir" by John Murrell, which opened Saturday at the Cassius Carter Centre Stage here, the answer is yes, alas. The play, directed by Joseph Hardy, brings us the final lament-filled days of the immortal singer-actress-impresario Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) through a series of witty repartees with her longtime secretary and manservant, Georges Pitou.