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Elaine Stritch

Performer, Writer
( b. Feb 02, 1925 Detroit, Michigan, USA - d. Jul 17, 2014 Birmingham, Michigan, USA ) Female

Elaine Stritch was a brassy, tart-tongued Broadway actress and singer who became a living emblem of show business durability and perhaps the leading interpreter of Stephen Sondheim's wryly acrid musings on aging. Her career began in the 1940s and included her fair share of appearances in movies, including Woody Allen's "September" (1987) and "Small Time Crooks" (2000), and on television; well into her 80s, she played a recurring role on the NBC comedy "30 Rock" as the domineering mother of the television executive played by Alec Baldwin. But the stage was her true professional home, where, whether in musicals, nonmusical dramas or solo cabaret shows, she drew audiences to her with her whiskey voice, her seen-it-all manner and the blunt charisma of a star.

Plainspoken, egalitarian, impatient with fools and foolishness, and admittedly fond of cigarettes, alcohol and late nights -- she finally gave up smoking and drinking in her 60s -- though she took it up again -- Ms. Stritch might be the only actor to work as a bartender after starring on Broadway, and she was completely unabashed about her good-time-girl attitude.

Most of the time she was equally unabashed onstage, rarely if ever leaving the sensually astringent elements of her personality behind when she performed. A highlight of her early stage career was the 1952 revival of Pal Joey, the Rodgers and Hart/John O'Hara musical, in which she played a shrewd, ambitious reporter recalling, in song, an interview with Gypsy Rose Lee; she drew bravas for her rendition of the striptease parody "Zip."

In a nonsinging role in William Inge's 1955 drama, Bus Stop, she received a Tony nomination as the lonely but tough-talking owner of a Kansas roadside diner where travelers take refuge during a snowstorm. Three years later, in her first starring role on Broadway, Goldilocks, she played a silent-film star and impressed The Times's critic Brooks Atkinson with the acid capability of her delivery.

Noël Coward, one of Ms. Stritch's devoted fans, built the 1961 musical Sail Away around her role as Mimi Paragon, the relentlessly effervescent hostess of a cruise ship. She repaid his trust not only by giving what Howard Taubman of The Times said "must be the performance of her career" (including a delicious rendition of Coward's hilariously snooty "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?") but also by successfully ad-libbing, on opening night, when a poodle in the cast betrayed its training onstage. The show was not a hit, but Ms. Stritch came away with her third Tony nomination. Her next Broadway role was in the replacement cast of Edward Albee's scabrous portrait of a marriage, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as Martha, the bitter, boozy wife.

One of Ms. Stritch's most memorable appearances was in the Sondheim musical Company (1970), in which, as a cynical society woman, she saluted her peers with the vodka-soaked anthem "The Ladies Who Lunch." It not only brought her another Tony nomination but became her signature tune -- at least until, in her 70s, she became equally known for Sondheim's paean to showbiz longevity and survival, "I'm Still Here." It was the centerpiece of her 2001 one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, and she sang it in 2010 at Mr. Sondheim's 80th-birthday concert at Lincoln Center and at the White House for President Obama.

Essentially a spoken-and-sung theater memoir, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, created with the critic John Lahr of The New Yorker, began performances at the Public Theater in Manhattan (when Ms. Stritch was 76) and then moved to Broadway, where it was a smash. Alone onstage except for a single chair, clad only in tights and a white silk shirt, Ms. Stritch wove together music and showbiz memories into a nightly tour de force that won a Tony Award for the year's best special theatrical event.

Source: The New York Times obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
A Little Night Music
[Musical, Romantic Comedy, Revival]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch
      Madame Armfeldt - Replacement (Jul 13, 2010 - Jan 09, 2011)
Dec 13, 2009 - Jan 09, 2011
Elaine Stritch At Liberty
[Special, Solo, Play with music, Original]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch [Performer]
  • Reconstructed by Elaine Stritch
Feb 21, 2002 - May 27, 2002
A Delicate Balance
[Play, Drama, Revival]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Claire]
Apr 21, 1996 - Sep 29, 1996
Show Boat
[Musical, Drama, Revival]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch [Parthy Ann Hawks]
Oct 02, 1994 - Jan 05, 1997
[Special, Drama, Revival]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Joanne]
Apr 11, 1993 - Apr 12, 1993
Love Letters
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch
      Melissa Gardner - Replacement (Jan 16, 1990 - Jan 21, 1990)
Oct 31, 1989 - Jan 21, 1990
[Musical, Drama, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Joanne]
Apr 26, 1970 - Jan 01, 1972
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
[Play, Drama, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch
      Martha - Replacement (Apr 24, 1963 - ?)
Oct 13, 1962 - May 16, 1964
Sail Away
[Musical, Comedy, Satire, Original]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch [Mimi Paragon]
Oct 03, 1961 - Feb 24, 1962
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch [Maggie Harris]
Oct 11, 1958 - Feb 28, 1959
The Sin of Pat Muldoon
[Play, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Gertrude Muldoon]
Mar 13, 1957 - Mar 16, 1957
Bus Stop
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Also Starring: Elaine Stritch [Grace Hoylard]
Mar 02, 1955 - Apr 21, 1956
On Your Toes
[Musical, Comedy, Revival]
  • Also Starring: Elaine Stritch [Peggy Porterfield]
Oct 11, 1954 - Dec 04, 1954
Pal Joey
[Musical, Comedy, Revival]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Melba Snyder]
Jan 03, 1952 - Apr 18, 1953
Call Me Madam
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Standby: Elaine Stritch [Mrs. Sally Adams]
Oct 12, 1950 - May 03, 1952
Yes, M'Lord
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [June Farrell]
Oct 04, 1949 - Dec 18, 1949
Angel in the Wings
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Little Nettie, Milly, Singer, Ingabord, Lula Belle]
Dec 11, 1947 - Sep 04, 1948
Made in Heaven
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch
      Miss Crowder - Replacement
Oct 24, 1946 - Jan 11, 1947
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Performer: Elaine Stritch [Pamela Brewster]
Oct 16, 1946 - Nov 16, 1946
Special EventsDate of Special Events
Angela Lansbury - A Celebration
[Special, Benefit, Original]
  • Starring: Elaine Stritch [Performer]
Nov 17, 1996 - Nov 17, 1996
2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Book of a Musical
winner Elaine Stritch At Liberty [winner]
Conceived by Elaine Stritch
2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Solo Performance
winner Elaine Stritch At Liberty [winner]
Starring: Elaine Stritch
1996 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Play
A Delicate Balance [nominee]
Performer: Elaine Stritch
1996 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
winner A Delicate Balance [winner]
Performer: Elaine Stritch
1995 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Show Boat [nominee]
Starring: Elaine Stritch
1971 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Musical
Company [nominee]
Performer: Elaine Stritch
1962 Tony Award® Best Actress in a Musical
Sail Away [nominee]
Starring: Elaine Stritch
1956 Tony Award® Best Featured Actress in a Play
Bus Stop [nominee]
Also Starring: Elaine Stritch
Find out where Elaine Stritch and are credited together