Annette Bening will return to Broadway in 2008, in The Female of the Species. She hasn’t graced the boards since 1987, so this is kind of a big deal. And it does sound like a play worth pursuing:
Bening as a "feminist literary giant”? Sounds perfect. If anyone can play larger-than-life characters, it’s the woman who made Michael Douglas tolerable in The American President.
But I haven’t always been a Bening fan. Back in the mid-’80s, I — and the rest of the members of my high school drama club — saw her in a production of The Cherry Orchard in Denver.
But I got soon forgot her incompetence, especially after I saw American Beauty. Bening’s unraveling real estate agent in that film is mesmerizing and unforgettable.
Too bad I can’t say the same about her dalliance with Kristin Chenoweth in Running With Scissors. What a tease of a scene that was! Bening’s worries about what her kids would think are usually cited as the reason the scene was "toned down," but maybe Chenoweth had a hand in that too. When asked how Bening was in the kissing scene, Chenoweth said, "Very good. But I said to her, ‘You know what? Unless you’re going to take me to dinner and a movie, that’s as far as this is going.’"
The Female of the Species will have a pre-Broadway run in Los Angeles in February and March 2008. And if you’re nowhere near either of the coasts, take heart: Every book/TV show/movie/Broadway show seems to eventually get taken to the stage/big screen/small screen/page, so if it does well, odds are good it will end up on something near you. Oh, and before that happens, you’ll get the chance to see Bening and a bunch of other big names chewing up the scenery (if we’re lucky) in The Women.