After 64 Years, Lillian Gish Gets Chance To Sing On Stage – By William Glover (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1965)

  • Santa Cruz Sentinel, Volume 109, Number 275, 21 November 1965
  • After 64 Years, Lillian Gish Gets Chance To Sing On Stage
  • By William Glover – Associated Press Drama Writer

New York (AP) Lillian Gish is singing at last.

“Since I began business at age 5,” gently banters the thousand – role veteran, “I’ve wanted to be in a musical and a circus. I’d better be careful, or I’ll end up in the center ring.” Miss Gish ventures into modest melody during portrayal of the dowager empress of all the Russians in “Anya.” due November 29 at the Ziegfeld theater.

The production is based on “Anastasia,” a mildly successful drama a decade ago which investigated the purported survival by one imperial princess of the Bolshevik slaughter in 1917. For Slavic atmosphere, all the tunes are adapted from Sergei Rachmaninoff compositions.

Lillian Gish – Little Hands – Anya (musical)

Miss Gish’s special song is “Little Hands.” If she shows a measure of inner fear about doing the number, the 69-year-spry star has no qualms whatever about everything else in the musical.

“I’m doing it because I was asked by producer George Abbott it’s that simple.” she says. Rather ruefully, she recalls, she might have branched out earlier.

Constance Towers and Lillian Gish in the stage production Anya – Friedman Abeles Photo 1965

“I was the last pupil taken by Victor Maurel he was the great vocal teacher a half century ago. I was only 19 and I’m afraid I didn’t fully appreciate the opportunity.” There were later voice sessions with another eminent instructor, Margaret Carrington. “She taught Barrymore and I went to her off and on through the years.” Always there were plenty of screen and stage calls to keep Miss Gish busy, and in between she was always avid to dash off on further travels. “Going places and reading books are the two greatest things in my life,” she declares. “There are still so many places in the world I want to see.” Miss Gish is unequivocal about the current condition of Broadway.

“I won’t go to see straight plays anymore.” she says. “They are all brown plaxs about brown people in brown sets.” She feels much of the dull atmosphere crept in with elimination of footlights.

Close up Anya 1965 – Lillian Gish

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