Kathleen Turner is still enjoying herself. That was the biggest takeaway from her recent holiday performance. Kathleen Turner Finding my voice, the actresses’s one woman show debuted at Town Hall for one night only last month.
Finding my voice, produced by Ken Davenport, mixes music with stories from the actresses’s prolific life.
Throughout the two hour run (including intermission), Turner bellowed out various covers. Including Paper Moon, Every time we say goodbye and more. All with that signature, Jessica Rabbit voice. She recounted joyous memories from her life. As well as darker ones, like those related to health battles. Or the darker, lonelier side of fame. Retold through songs that speak of getting tired of room service. Or interrupting herself to share how lonely being on location in a strange city can be.
Of course, she’s best known for her film roles – Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom. Along with countless others. But Turner’s clear love of the stage shines through here.
Whether singing, or reliving stories from it. Like when discussing the UK production of the Graduate. When she went naked on stage at 48. Something that would cause a social media uproar now. Or how she accomplished her goal of playing Martha in Whose afraid of Virginia Wolf by 50. Simply by pleading for a reading to playwright Edward Albee.
One of the most delightful aspects of the show was just watching how much fun she was having on stage. A simple detail. But one that so many other performances are lacking.
Turner occasionally stopped to laugh in between thoughts. Followed by an “oh well”, or a slap of the thighs. These mannerisms didn’t seem rehearsed. More like the natural reactions of someone discussing a story. While being thrilled to do so. Which also allowed the sincerity of each vignette to shine through.
But despite a clear passion for performing, and storytelling, even more talking could have enhanced the power of the show.
Her famous movies are mentioned. Including a brief story about her most well known role. The sultry Matty Walker in 1981’s Body Heat. One of our greatest femme fatales. At one point she recounts going back to the diner where she worked after filming. Telling them she’d just finished her first lead in a film. After saying the title, her boss said, “No one will see that! Don’t quit your day job!”
But more film back stories like that placed throughout could’ve kept it even more engrossing.
However, there’s no denying that Kathleen Turner is a powerful storyteller.
The one night performance featured real, and raw moments from the Turner’s life. As well as some of her personal thoughts on life and love. Even going political at times. Normally, this wouldn’t be a desirable transition. Except in this case, it was less irritating. Because it felt more like chatting with an old friend.
And Finding my Voice displays that inherent talent. Turner tells us that in this next chapter, she’s embraced a long, love of singing. And one of the results turned out to be this show.
Kathleen Turner Finding my voice is just someone sharing a sincere appreciation of their past, present and future. And that is an exciting, and contagious feeling.
Kathleen Turner Finding my Voice debuted at New York City’s Town Hall on December 16th.
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