Political Theatre

Deeply sad news this week of the too-early death of Jan Maxwell. I only worked with her once, back in 2002, when I took over from Nick Woodeson in House and Garden at the Manhattan Theatre Club.


On stage Jan was an elegant, intelligent presence, handling language with poise and precision and impeccable comic timing. Backstage her vocabulary was, what’s the word I want? Vigorous, energetic, vivid, feisty … all of these and more. I specially enjoyed her acerbic wit. She was the most generous of scene partners and a joy to play with.

I say political because as a dedicated artist, Jan worked whenever she could for The Wrestling School, a theatre company which produces the plays of Howard Barker. It was good to see the New York Times acknowledge her work both in an obituary and a feature article.

My own politics are green-of-centre.

I am among those subversives who wants clean energy solutions. In memory of a truly sparkling talent I recommend http://www.Kiva.org — it’s a way to fund eco-friendly people and projects.

10 thoughts on “Political Theatre

  1. Henny Russell

    I’m SO sad about Jan’s passing. We did The Royal Family together, and I adored her. I, too, was pleased to see the feature article. I hope they are dimming the lights on Broadway for her — or already have. If you hear of a memorial, please let me know.

    Hope you and Trish are happy & well. We’re all fine here in Jackson Heights. 😊

    xoxo, Henny


  2. Dan Leonard

    “Max” was a dear friend since our days in college. A true original, and either directing or acting with her was sheer joy.

  3. Jennifer Harmon

    Dear Colin,
    What a beautifully written salute to our exquisite Jan. Bless you and thank you.
    She was so deeply beloved by so many. My love, Jenny xoxo


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