Sunday, November 17, 2019


It is a beautiful day in Southern California and… well, trust me… there is not a very interesting explanation as to what I am doing indoors on this word processor.
One excuse is a bit of Jet lag. Sharon and I both have arrived from England where we saw friends from her time in the theatre in London’s West End. That was preceded by a couple of weeks in Wales…specifically Cardiff… where the BBC has one of its primary studios for television production. Once a year for the past three years, Sharon has traveled to Cardiff to guest star in Casualty, the longest running medical drama in all of television. The show has been on the air for almost 40 years and is very popular among the Brits. Those of you who read this in the states can probably find the show on BBC America.
It is a not so well-known fact that Cagney & Lacey was (by many multiples) a much bigger hit in the United Kingdom than it ever was in the US of A. It was over 30 years ago but I remember vividly the 50th anniversary of the BBC when the only stars from America invited to the Royal celebration were Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless. I was backstage that night when Paul McCartney asked Sharon for her autograph… no kidding.
So, today, it is understandable why Sharon says yes to a show in the UK. Why wouldn’t she? I visited on the set just one day. It was a thrill for me to watch how loving that crew was to my wife and how “honored,” they would say they were, to meet me. That’s a nice dividend for a show I haven’t done since the last century.
While Sharon worked, I spent the bulk of my time looking around. I was embarrassed at how little I knew about Wales… my only excuse being that Scotland had Mary, Queen of Scots and Braveheart; Ireland, The Informer, The Quiet Man, the infamous “troubles.” How Green Was My Valley may have taken place in Wales, but it wasn’t ABOUT Wales. Ignorant as I am, I somehow sort of “got it” about the country; their sense of being the underdog…the poor stepchild to England, coupled with the feeling of being overlooked by much of the world. I dunno… I liked it. It is beautiful, the people are lovely and there is at least a thousand years of history just about everywhere you look.
In London town there were some nice stories of upward mobility: Daniel Thurman, Sharon’s assistant in the West End while starring in A Round Heeled Woman, is now succeeding as a playwright for the BBC; Bill Paterson, Sharon’s on-stage co-star in Steven King’s Misery, is enjoying the adulation of everyone for his work as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Dad in Fleabag.
There was not much time for theatre, but we did take in Sir Ian McKellen’s one-man show. Sharon and Sir Ian were co-grand Marshalls at San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade several years ago so it was even more enjoyable than usual to watch him have as much fun as he did in this auto-biographical presentation. At the end of this new production, Sir Ian stood in the lobby taking donations for theatre charities. We would have stayed to contribute and say “hello,” but he was mobbed by that Theatre matinee audience… and we had a dinner date with Sharon’s West End co-star (Neil Simon’s Chapter II) Tony winner and Oscar nominee, Tom Conti.
That’s it for the UK. We are states-side now… in California for Thanksgiving and a couple of business meetings (mostly, as far as I am concerned) to try to get some clarity as to when our well rested series, The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, will finally be released to the public on DVD. This is supposed to happen soon, but I have been hearing that for longer than I want to recall. Sharon will have some meetings and finalize her selection of photos for her autobiography for Simon & Schuster which will likely be published in 2021.
Thanksgiving this year will be at my youngest daughter’s home. It is at this dinner where I will meet my oldest granddaughter’s fiancé and so it augers to be an even happier family gathering than usual. This blog should pick up again in December from home field in Miami Beach. Til then, a Happy Holidays wish to all.

No comments: