An Evening of Wit, Wisdom and a Whisper of Gossip!
Off the Aisle Productions in association with Invisible Theatre proudly presents
A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD starring Susan Claassen and written by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen, opening wOctober 1 at the historic El Portal Forum Theatre in North Hollywood, California.
Actress Susan Claassen was inspired to write and star in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD while watching a TV biography of Ms. Head. Susan Claassen said: "Not only do I bear a striking resemblance to Edith, but we share the same love for clothes and fashion. She stitched Dorothy Lamour into her sarong; put Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in kilts in "The Road to Bali;" created Bette Davis' glamorous Margo Channing; made teenage girls swoon over Elizabeth Taylor's white ball gown in "A Place in the Sun;" dressed Ingrid Bergman in "Notorious," Grace Kelly in "To Catch A Thief," Kim Novak in "Vertigo," Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" and Sean Connery in "The Man Who Would Be King." There are many myths about her but she was a discreet, tenacious personality. She knew whose hips needed clever disguising and made sure those legendary stars always looked the part. Our show gives the inside scoop on Edith and the Golden Age of Hollywood.
A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD premiered in Tucson, Arizona in 2002 and was subsequently presented in Chicago, Key West, at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring, MD, Hartford, San Francisco, Nantucket, San Diego, Houston, Austin, and Scottsdale, as well as in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, London's West End and a 'sold out' engagement at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. (Out of the 2,000 shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe only 200 were officially designated 'Sold Out' engagements.)
A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD, based on the book EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD by Edith Head & Paddy Calistro, is a feast of delicious behind-the-scenes stories about Hollywood's greatest stars that provide an intimate portrait of Hollywood's legendary costume designer. In her six decades of costume design, Edith Head worked on over eleven hundred films; dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood; received 35 Academy Award® nominations, and won an unprecedented eight Oscars®. Edith Head's story is as fascinating as the history of the film industry itself, filled with humor, frustration and, above all, glamour. This diva of design helped to define glamour in the most glamorous place in the world -Hollywood! Edith Head was a Hollywood costume designer for more than 60 years.. Her eight Academy Awards® celebrated her artistry in "The Heiress" (her first Oscar®), "Samson & Delilah," "All About Eve," "A Place in the Sun," "Roman Holiday," "Sabrina," "The Facts of Life" and "The Sting." Edith Head died in October 1981, still under contract to Universal Studios, having just completed the Steve Martin film, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid."
Much of the dialogue in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD comes directly from the famed designer. When she was asked to write the authorized posthumous autobiography, EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD, Paddy Calistro acquired more than 13 hours of recollections recorded by Edith Head - including her own snippy "Edithisms" as Ms. Head referred to her own sayings, such as: "I hate modesty, don't you?" and "Good clothes are not a matter of good luck." The show also features insights from Hollywood insiders who knew Ms. Head best: costume designer Bob Mackie, who once worked as Ms. Head's sketch artist; her dear friend Edie Wasserman, wife of the late Universal Studio head Lew Wasserman, and Art Linkletter, award-winning host of TV's "House Party," who brought Edith Head into the homes of America. Edith would stroll through the studio audience with Linkletter, offering brutally critical fashion, diet and grooming advice - all this half a century before the current mania for on-screen makeovers. "Go on a diet!" she would instruct an overweight woman, while instantly making her look ten pounds slimmer by pulling her shirt out of her trousers, whipping a belt around her middle and swapping her cheap gold jewelry for her own signature pearls. Young fans of Pixar's "The Incredibles" will recognized the superhero outfitter Edna Mode as an affectionate tribute to the legendary Hollywood costume designer.
Co-author Paddy Calistro is one of the leading authorities on the life and work of Edith Head and is the coauthor of Edith Head's posthumous autobiography, EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD. She was selected as Ms. Head's official biographer based on her experience as a fashion journalist. A former fashion and beauty writer for the Los Angeles Times, Paddy wrote the weekly "Looks" column in the LA Times Magazine for four years. She was the West Coast reporter for Allure and has written for Glamour, Mademoiselle, House Beautiful, Elle, Four Seasons Magazine, Fitness and Los Angeles Magazine. For more than a decade Paddy was the lead interior design writer for
LA Magazine, and was also the editor of American Style, a bilingual fashion magazine sold in Mexico and South America. The co-founder of Angel City Press, an independent book publishing company based in Santa Monica, she currently serves as its Publisher and Editor-in-chief. The 25th anniversary edition of EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD has recently been reissued and will be available for purchase at all performances of A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD.
El Portal Theatre is a historic landmark in the San Fernando Valley located in the heart of Ho Arts District. The theatre, originally built as a vaudeville house in 1926, sits across Lankershim Blvd from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Art Institute of California-Hollywood.
"There's nothing like a row of Oscars® for putting the fear of God into an actress who thinks she knows everything about dress designing." -Edith Head
THE HEIRESS, 1949
SAMSON AND DELILAH, 1950
ALL ABOUT EVE, 1950
A PLACE IN THE SUN, 1951
ROMAN HOLIDAY, 1953
THE FACTS OF LIFE, 1960
THE STING, 1973
"Edith Head comes to life in a way thatÊ¼s so perfectly accurate..." - The New York Times
"You can just tell from Claassen's high quality of acting, she is capturing Head's essence with her every crafted move. She actually becomes her. A great evening of old-school glamour and wonderful recollections." - Emma Barnett, The Stage, London
" One honestly does feel they have met the truly inspirational woman that was Edith Head and what a privilege it is." - The British Theatre Guide
"Head and shoulders above the rest! Hollywood costume designer Edith Head lives!"
- The Chicago Sun Times
" ItÊ¼s a winning production! Susan ClaassenÊ¼s portrayal of Edith Head is a tour de force ... "
- Celebrate, Key West, Florida
"It's a moving, seamless, beautifully played portrayal." - The List, Edinburgh
Off the Aisle Productions in association with Invisible Theatre presents
A Conversation With Edith Head
Starring Susan Claassen
Written by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen
DATES: September 23 - October 24
Thursday Sept 23, and Friday Sept 24, NO PERFORMANCE
Continuing Sept 25, Sunday Sept 26 &
Special Performance Benefitting MPTF's Pet Care Program:
Thursday, September 30 at 8pm
Costume Designers Guild Gala Press Opening:
Friday, October 1 at 8 P.M.
Press is invited October 1, 2 or 3
Closes: Sunday, October 24 at 3PM
Thursday - Saturday at 8pm
Saturday & Sunday Matinees at 3PM
$25 & $35
For Tickets call:
818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111
Or order online: www.elportaltheatre.com
For Press Seats please contact:
Forrest & Associates
Pegge Forrest - Jay Irwin