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Meet the Tony Winners: Glenda Jackson of ‘Three Tall Women’

Category Broadway

|by Jeryl Brunner |


The Tony- and Oscar-winning actress returns to Broadway after a 30-year absence, delivering a show-stopping performance

For 23 years, Glenda Jackson served as a member of parliament. She was also made a Commander of the British Empire. Now, Jackson is back on the boards, starring alongside Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women. The revival delves into how people evolve and what shapes them. For her fiery portrayal of "A," Jackson earned her fifth Tony nomination and her first Tony win. It was recently announced that Jackson will reprise her gender-blind portrayal of the titular character in Shakespeare’s King Lear, which she originated on the West End, on Broadway in 2019. 

Glenda Jackson in Edward Albee's 'Three Tall Women' (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe)

Glenda Jackson in Edward Albee's 'Three Tall Women' (Photo: Brigitte Lacombe)

What went through your mind when you were approached to do Three Tall Women
Glenda Jackson:
Well I must admit – it’s rather shameful – I didn’t know the play at all. I had worked with Albee. He directed me when I did Virginia Wolf.  I read this and my first instinct was, “Well, there’s no physical movement with this play. Surely it’s a radio play.” But then I read it again and realized what a great play it is. The cherry on the cake is that I am working with actresses, which is a very rare experience for an actress. There is usually only one woman’s part and if you’ve got it, that’s it. And to work with actresses of this caliber is just wonderful.

When you are not working what do you love to do? 
Glenda Jackson:
Gardening. You put a seed in the ground. It grows. You may be able to eat what it produces. It’s the closest to becoming God, to being God, that I’ll ever know.

The play is all about looking back and the choices we make in life. Is there something you wish you could have told yourself? 
Glenda Jackson:
I have to say, I’m not a person who looks back much. I mean, I think you have to make the most of where you are now. But certainly, I think we are in an era now where we’re all actually living longer. So how, if we manage to hang together as a society, are we going to look after each other when we are old? That is a really serious problem. And no one really seriously seems to be talking about it.

You don’t have the luxury of having Edward Albee around to ask him questions. (Albee passed away in 2016.) Is there something you wish you could ask him? 
Glenda Jackson:
I’d like to know what he thought of our production. In his script he gives very detailed instructions for the actors. I crossed them all out.
***
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