"joan collins in private lives"

Published February 9, 1992


Joan Collins in Private Lives (2/9/92)



During her days as a student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), Joan Collins longed to play Amanda in Private Lives. The closest she came to Amanda was the role of Louise, the French maid, in a RADA production of the play. In 1991 for the BBC, she starred with ex-husband Anthony Newley in eight of the Tonight at 8:30 plays. Collins finally got to play Amanda in London in 1991, followed by an American tour, and, finally, on Broadway in 1992.

In an interview with The Advocate during the London run, Collins was asked, “Elizabeth Taylor did Private Lives, and you were once considered to star in Cleopatra. Are you rivals?”

“My choosing to do Private Lives had nothing to do with Elizabeth Taylor,” Collins responded. ”I chose it because it has sophistication and dry humor. I think Noël Coward wrote brilliant women’s roles.”

In an interview with Cindy Adams a few weeks before her Broadway debut, Collins was asked how the New York production will differ from the London version. “It’s infinitely better,” Collins replied. We’ve put in more comedy business … I’m doing a tango. I do calisthenics and splits. I go into the kitchen and throw pots and pans. We’re still rehearsing, changing the blocking. It takes working on.”

The role of Elyot in the production was played by Simon Jones, an actor with considerable Coward credentials, including Waiting in the Wings and Blithe Spirit on Broadway, as well as productions of Design for Living, Hay Fever, Long Island Sound, and Tonight at 8:30. In 2002, Jones appeared as Noël Coward in Barry Day’s Noël and Alfred and Lynn at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

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