In what is sure to be the theatrical event of 2019, Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe winning legend, Ellen Burstyn, makes her Australian stage debut in a new production of Moisés Kaufman’s acclaimed Tony nominated play, 33 Variations, at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre in March 2019.
Known for her iconic performances in classics such as The Exorcist, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (Oscar and BAFTA winner for Best Actress) and The Last Picture Show, a tour de force in Requiem for a Dream (marking her 6th Oscar nomination), and memorable roles in How to Make an American Quilt and Netflix’s hit series House of Cards, Ellen Burstyn is widely regarded as one of her generation’s greatest actors.
In a staggering career spanning six decades, she’s given an unknown Martin Scorsese his second job (directing Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), joined the list of just 24 actors in history who have won the “triple crown” (Oscar, Emmy and Tony), become Artistic Director of the renowned Actors Studio in New York, and been described by Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan and Noah) as “the greatest artist I have ever worked with.”
In 33 Variations, Ellen plays the brilliant Katherine Brandt, a musicologist deeply devoted to her study of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Featuring stunning performances of Beethoven’s masterpiece, the play moves between Beethoven’s creation of the work and Katherine’s journey to understand the composer’s obsessive drive.
Meanwhile, Katherine’s own single-mindedness has led to a strained relationship with her often overlooked daughter Clara. Combining magnificent music with Kaufman’s “deeply moving” story, 33 Variations is a truly unique theatrical experience that explores the complex connections between life and art, mothers and daughters.
“33 Variations is a dream project for me,” says Burstyn. “I feel Beethoven’s glorious music in my bones and I couldn’t be more excited to travel to Australia to perform this beautiful play.”
Presented by Cameron Lukey and Neil Gooding Productions in association with Ellis Productions, this strictly limited season is directed by Gary Abrahams. Abrahams recently collaborated with Lukey on an acclaimed production of Angels in America (noted by The Age, Time Out Melbourne and The Guardian as a top ten highlight of 2017) and was behind the Australian premieres of Bad Jews, Buyer and Cellar and Hand to God.
“We’re honoured to be bringing Ellen Burstyn to the Australian stage in a powerhouse role and play befitting her extraordinary talent,” says Lukey. “And we’ll be collaborating with an outstanding Australian cast and creative team to stage a production Melbourne audiences will long remember.”
“Deeply moving… Music lovers and theatre lovers alike won’t be disappointed by this affecting piece.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Season: from 7 March 2019
For more information, visit: www.marrinergroup.com.au for details.
Image: Ellen Burstyn (supplied)