More in a Series about Actors in Bloomingdale Past and Present
It's possible that the post I made back in November 2018 about Bloomingdaler Estelle Parsons, The Triple Threat Living among Us, was the most read piece on this site. Ever.
After my deep dive into Civil War era actor Maggie Mitchell who built 855 West End Avenue (some of which you can read here and here), I've become attuned to just how many actors there are piled into our little slice of the Upper West Side. And how very few are working currently. And also to the optimistic thought of all the creativity that will pour forth from behind closed doors when our ordeal is done.
One local actor, Brian Stokes Mitchell, deserves a Bloomie for throwing up his sash every evening during the Covid crunch last spring to sing us back from the edge. High over Lenny's Bagels, he came to the window and belted out "The Impossible Dream" night in and night out, calling out to first responders who always had a front row "seat" in the downtown lanes of Broadway.
I'll never forget that cohesion of an admiring and grateful community massing below for the treat of a live performance, an upside down serenade at an inside out time.
With so many people this year who have lost work or worse, every person is a rich story of a year endured. And getting back to Estelle Parsons, when our paths crossed I wondered how she'd fared offstage and off camera these many months.
So I asked for a chance to catch up with her via Zoom for Saturday morning coffee one winter beautiful day, and we taped it. Click here to view. The recording is not professional sound or image, but it captures a genuine conversation between neighbors, one of whom happens to have an Oscar to her name -- for her portrayal of Blanche Barrow in the 1967 Arthur Penn film "Bonnie and Clyde."
Her career has toggled from small screen, to big screen, to stage, back to the small screen. And also to the director's chair: among other gigs, she served as artistic director of the Actors Studio for 15 years. Some morning TV fans may recall that she got her start on the Today Show or perhaps you think of her as Roseanne's mom from the show of the same name or from its successor show, "The Connors." I always think of how she tore the house down in Tracy Letts's play "August: Osage County." Just thinking about that play and the ensemble brings me hope of being back in a theater soon to experience that intensity again.
If you click through to the video of our conversation by clicking the link or photo above, you'll hear that this creative neighbor is only momentarily interrupted: she is moving projects along and will be ready to roll as soon as we are released from our limbo.