Wednesday, January 27, 2010

FLASHBACK: Jane Elliot 1965

Girl Who 'Went Wrong' Rights Herself on B'way

The Hartford Courant
September 5, 1965

NEW YORK -- "Out of my graduating class of 45," lovely Jane Elliot said during a break in rehearsals for her forthcoming Broadway appearance in "The Impossible Years," "44 went to college. I was the only one who went wrong."

In all probability, the other 44 members of her class regard her with just a trace of envy these days.

Busy Year

In little more than a year, the 18-year-old went to England, played a lead on the BBC production of "Come Back, Little Sheba," played a part on THE NURSES that led to her being signed for the running part of Linda on the FLAME IN THE WIND soap opera for four months, and played a role in the Bucks County Playhouse production of "Hay Fever." This led to her being signed to a lead in the "Impossible Years," which stars Alan King.

"If anyone had asked me a year ago where I'd be today!" she said excitedly. "it's remarkable. It's hard to believe. I've been in the business a whole year!

"And what's almost the most exciting thing about it all is that for the first time, I'm not the youngest in the cast. Neva Small is about 12.

"I guess I always wanted to be an actress," she continued. "When I was seven I decided to change my name. I knew a person couldn't be an actress without changing her name. I had a friend named Elliot. So, a year or so ago, when the time for me to change my name, I picked Elliot.

"It was very confusing at first. I couldn't be sure under what name my agent was submitting me. And when I met my friends and said I was Jane Elliot they'd say, 'When did you get married?' And people I don't know are always asking me about how is Mr. Elliot. And then I have to tell them I'm not married, and then it's embarrassing to introduce my parents. My familyi name is Stein. It's strange to say, 'Hello, I'm Jane Elliot and I'd like you to meet my father, Mr. Stein.'

According to Jane, her theatrical aspirations were not encouraged. But she started ballet classes when she was four and has been studying singing the past four years.

"I expected to go to acting school in England," she said, "but I was refused admission because I was too young. So I've head practically no formal training as an actress.

Warming Up

"My father would never admit it," she said with a giggle, "but when I was on FLAME IN THE WIND, he bought a Sony TV set and kept it on his desk so he could watch me. Now I think my parents are quite proud of me. After all, it isn't every family which has an 18-year-old daughter who's earning her own living."

The "Impossible Years" began its out-of-town warm-up with a two week engagement at the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia. Then after New Haven and Boston, it will arrive at New York's Playhouse on Oct. 13.

Jane's first love has been the theater and she would like to become established in New York before thinking of Hollywood. She has already turned down a seven-year studio contract.

"My sights were always on theater," she said, "but I found it a hard adjustment from TV to the stage. Suddenly I realized I'd forgotten how. I looked up and I didn't see the mikes or the cameras and I knew I was speaking too softly. But I think I've gotten over the difficulties."

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