11:20 AM CDT on Thursday, April 30, 2009
By Lawson Taitte / The Dallas Morning News
President Richard M. Nixon may never have achieved the rehabilitation in public esteem he so craved in his lifetime. He’s got it now, though, at least as Stacy Keach plays him in Frost/Nixon.
Peter Morgan’s play about the TV interviews Nixon gave to talk-show host David Frost had its origin in that most fecund of London theatrical enterprises, the Donmar Warehouse. The show then traveled to Broadway and went on to become a major film, winning Tony Awards and Oscar nominations both for the vehicle and the star who played the president, Frank Langella.
If there’s any actor on the American stage with more stature, more sheer talent, than Langella, it’s Stacy Keach. He headlines the touring version that the Dallas Summer Musicals brought to the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday.
The marvelous Langella brought depth and tragic dignity to the role of the disgraced President three years after his unparalleled resignation from office. But he also brought a certain smarminess to the role and a whiff of parody in the ways he adapted some of Nixon’s well-known mannerisms and vocal patterns.
Smarmy is not a word you’d ever use to describe Keach’s Nixon. Tortured, self-regarding, yes, perhaps even venal. But this figure projects a fallen grandeur and canny, self-possessed intellect that command respect – and maybe even affection.
The touring version (directed, like the original, by Michael Grandage) does have its own quota of smarminess. Alan Cox’s Frost oozes slime right up to the final moments when he at last gets Nixon to confess wrongdoing on camera (something that never actually happened in real life, by the way). Even that formidable journalist Jim Reston in this young incarnation (as played by Brian Sgambati) is lightweight and petty in comparison with the wounded-bear Keach as Nixon.
It’s too bad that Keach probably won’t be touring his version of King Lear (to be seen in Washington, D.C., this summer) and that he hasn’t been seen more frequently in great plays in New York and around the country. He commands the stage as only a couple of American actors of his generation do. Whatever your politics, don’t miss the chance to see him do his stuff in Frost/Nixon.
Happy New Year all,
Here is a re-post from the Minneapolis Post regarding the hit show that is coming to The Majestic Theatre. (Tickets are not yet on sale–stay tuned for the on sale date!)
Review: ‘Frost/Nixon’ (the play) packs a lot of punchBy
Ed Huyck Published Wed, Jan 7 2009
You can take in the film version of “Frost/Nixon” at a lower price than the touring production inhabiting the State Theatre in Minneapolis, so why choose the play? I could go on about the connection between the performer and the audience, maybe even toss out fancy words like “gestalt,” but the answer is pretty simple: Stacy Keach (as Richard Nixon) and Alan Cox (as David Frost) fully inhabit their roles to the point that the verbal battles between the two at the show’s climax feel as intense as the real thing.
The film explores the aftermath of Nixon’s presidency via the famed TV interviews conducted by Frost in 1977. As one of the characters notes, the two spar like fighters. Playwright Peter Morgan has a knack for exploring the human toll of politics (past work includes “The Queen,” about Tony Blair, Queen Elizabeth II and the death of Princess Diana) and that’s in full effect here.
While it gets off to a slow start, “Frost/Nixon” finds its pace and drive once the two characters begin their on- and off-screen battles. Keach certainly gets the meatier role here, and takes full advantage of it, making his complex character come to life. Cox has a tougher role, as Frost buries his doubts beneath his playboy image. This comes into sharp focus in the play’s final quarter as the men share a late-night phone conversation. Frost asks Nixon the questions that everyone wants answered, and the disgraced former president obliges.
In the end, this smart and well-paced production scores with the intensity and immediacy of the two main performers — and that’s something you can never get on the movie screen.
There have been a number of presentations that have graced both stage & screen–what is your preferred medium?
After many inquiries and requests, we have just decided to release the THE MAJESTIC SERIES to go on “soft-sale” this Friday morning, Dec. 19 at 10am. So that will be only these shows:
BOB THE BUILDER
Feb. 21 – 22, 2009 @ The Majestic Theatre
RAT PACK LIVE AT THE SANDS (my pick for one of the best shows…)
March 3 – 8, 2009 @ The Majestic Theatre
The Rat Pack Live at the Sands Show Page
March 10 – 15, 2009 @ The Majestic Theatre
April 28 – May 3, 2009 @ The Majestic Theatre
Friday morning, 12/19 at 10am, you’ll be able to purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com. This link is live now, but they are currently updating the page, switching the onsale dates from January 26th to December 19th, so don’t let that throw you off.
The homepage on our website will also be reflecting this later today, so you’ll be able to get details there: http://www.dallassummermusicals.org/. You can also email us at email@example.com if you have questions, or just to say hello!
PS: If you haven’t already, we’d LOVE to have you follow us on TWITTER.COM:
Our twitter account is like a giant conversation of DSM announcements, facts, questions etc… and also one of the most consistent ways to hear of what’s happening at DSM before anyone else!
THE FACE-OFF OF THE CENTURY, LIVE ON STAGE
Direct from Broadway
“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”
Nixon’s secret of overcoming adversity – written in a private note to Ted Kennedy after the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969.
“If an individual wants to be a leader and isn’t controversial, that means he never stood for anything.”
Nixon’s take on leadership, 1978.
“The American people are entitled to see the president and to hear his views directly, and not to see him only through the press.”
Said by Nixon at a press conference on December 10, 1970.
Q: How did David Frost, a famous British talk-show host with a playboy reputation, elicit the apology that the rest of the world was waiting to hear from former President Richard Nixon? Award-winning actor Stacy Keach and Alan Cox lead a cast of 10 in this fast-paced Tony Award® nominated new play which shows the determination, conviction and cunning of two men as they square off in one of the most monumental television interviews of all time. Frost/Nixon is written by Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, & HBO’s “Longford”, and directed by Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage.
For awards, key historical players, timelines, bio’s and more, keep reading!
AWARDS & NOMS
Tony Award Nominations: Best Play (Peter Morgan)
Best Direction of a Play (Michael Grandage)
Drama Desk Award Nominations: Outstanding New Play (Peter Morgan)
Outstanding Director of a Play (Michael Grandage)
Outstanding Music (Adam Cork)
Drama League Award Nominations: Distinguished Production of a Play
Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations: Outstanding Broadway Play
Outstanding Direction of a Play (Michael Grandage)
Outstanding Lighting Design (Neil Austin)
KEY HISTORICAL PLAYERS IN “FROST/NIXON”
American university lecturer and staunch critic of Nixon. He joins David Frost’s team as a researcher and acts as narrator in the play.
Nixon’s Chief of Staff and loyal supporter, a tough negotiator in setting up the interview with Frost.
Tennis player, the first Aboriginal Australian to win Wimbledon and a guest on Frost’s show.
Head of Current Affairs at London Weekend Television and Frost’s producer.
Legendary Hollywood agent representing Nixon, brokers the deal with Frost securing an unprecedented $600,000 for the interview.
Veteran American reporter, well-known in the Washington scene and a key member of Frost’s team.
Journalist, Washington Post
Deputy Assistant to Nixon (1969-1973)
White House Special Counsel (1969-1972)
Secretary of US Treasury (1971-1972)
Chief of Staff (1969-1973)
Acting Director of the FBI (1972-1973)
US Secretary of State (1973-1974)
Anchorman of CBS news show “60 Minutes”
January 21, 1969
Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States
June 13, 1971
The New York Times and the Washington Post begin publishing the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s secret history of the Vietnam War.
June 17, 1972
Five men, one of whom says he worked for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30am trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel.
October 10, 1972
FBI agents establish that the Watergate break-in stems from a massive operation of political spying & sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon re-election campaign.
November 7, 1972
Nixon is re-elected in one of the largest landslides in American political history.
April 30, 1973
Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, Nixon’s top White House officials resign over the scandal. White House Counsel John Dean is fired.
May 18, 1973
The Senate begins its nationally televised hearings regarding Watergate.
June 13, 1973
Watergate prosecutors find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burgle the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Alexander Butterfield, Deputy Assistant to the President, reveals that all conversations and telephone calls in the Oval Office have been recorded since 1971.
July 18, 1973
Nixon orders White House taping systems to be disconnected.
July 23, 1973
Nixon refuses to relinquish tape recordings to the Senate Watergate Committee or the Special Prosecutor.
October 20, 1973
“The Saturday Night Massacre”. Nixon fires Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor whose colleagues resign in protest. Pressure for impeachment mounts in Congress.
November 17, 1973
Nixon declares “I’m not a crook,” maintaining his innocence in the Watergate scandal.
December 7, 1973
The White House can’t explain an eighteen-and-a-half minute gap in one of the subpoenaed tapes.
April 30, 1974
The White House releases edited transcripts of the Nixon tapes but the House Judiciary Committee insists the actual tapes be handed over.
July 24, 1974
The Supreme Court rules unanimously that Nixon must hand over the tape recordings of sixty-four White House conversations, rejecting the President’s claims of executive privilege.
July 27, 1974
The House Judiciary Committee takes the momentous step of recommending that the President be impeached and removed from office.
August 8, 1974
Richard Nixon becomes the first US President to resign. Vice President Gerald. R. Ford assumes the country’s highest office and later issues an unconditional pardon for any offences Nixon may have committed as President.
Former FBI Deputy Head Mark Felt revealed as “Deep Throat”, the anonymous source who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate Scandal.
STACY KEACH (Richard Nixon)
John Huston once said of Stacy Keach that “Stacy is not a star. He is a constellation. The audience will come to see whatever character he portrays.” Keach, who has excelled in many of the classic and contemporary stage’s greatest roles, has been called one of America’s pre-eminent interpreters of Shakespeare. Mr. Keach began his professional career with the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1964. He received the first of his three Obie Awards for his work in the off-Broadway political satire, MacBird. Broadway credits include Indians (Tony Award nomination); Deathtrap; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kentucky Cycle (Helen Hayes award for Best Actor) and Solitary Confinement. One of the most versatile stars of film, television and stage, Keach next appears in Oliver Stone’s cinematic portrait of George W. Bush, W. He has appeared in numerous films, including: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, The New Centurions, Doc, Fat City, The Longriders, Up in Smoke, Nice Dreams, The Ninth Configuration, Escape from L.A., Honeydripper and American History X. He is celebrated worldwide for his hit series as hard-boiled detective, Mike Hammer, as the irascible, hilarious Dad on Fox’s comic sitcom, Titus and as the warden on Prison Break. He won a Golden Globe award and an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Ernest Hemingway. Following his triumphant recent title role performance in King Lear for the prestigious Goodman Theatre in Chicago, directed by Robert Falls (which he will reprise in June 2009 at Washington D.C.’s new Shakespeare Harmon Center), Keach has recently starred in such films as Rob Nilsson’s Imbued (for which he also composed the music) Ring of Death, The Boxer, The Assistant and Meteor.
ALAN COX (David Frost)
Before attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Alan worked extensively as a child actor, most memorably in A Voyage Around My Father with Sir Laurence Olivier and as Young Watson in Young Sherlock Holmes. Moving to the US in 2007, he made his Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated production of Translations by Brian Friel for the Manhattan Theatre Club and also appeared in Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago. He made his London West End debut at the age of thirteen in Strange Interlude and more recently appeared there in The Creeper and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other work in the UK includes: Natural Selection (Theatre 503), The Rubenstein Kiss (Hampstead), The Fence (Wrestling School), The Earthly Paradise (Almeida), The Flu Season (Gate), An Enemy Of The People (National Theatre), The Lady’s Not for Burning (Chichester Theatre), The Seagull (National Theatre) and several productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has appeared in Flahooley and 50 Million Frenchmen for the Discovering Lost Musical series and Chu Chin Chow in the Celebrating British Music Theatre series. He directed the surprise hit of the 2004 Edinburgh Festival, Dirty Fan Male (Gilded Balloon) as well as Flanders Mare (Sound Theatre), The Riot Act (the Gate) and A R (Theatre 503). He is delighted to be appearing alongside Stacy Keach whom he worked with previously on a radio adaptation of “The Plutocrat” by Booth Tarkington. Film and television credits include: August, Ladies In Lavender, The Auteur Theory, Mrs Dalloway, An Awfully Big Adventure, The Odyssey, Midsomer Murders, Not only But Always, Housewife 49, Custer’s Last Battle, John Adams and Margaret.
Nixon made his famous ‘you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around any more’ comment after he unsuccessfully ran for:
-Governor of California
Who gave Nixon the nickname ‘Tricky Dick’?
– Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas
What law school did Nixon attend?
– Duke University of Law
In what branch of the military did Nixon serve during World War II?
– The Navy – he was a Lieutenant Commander
How many US presidents has David Frost interviewed?
What was the name of Frost’s groundbreaking satirical show that aired on the BBC from 1962-63?
– That Was the Week That Was
How did Frost commute from the UK to the US during the 70s?
– By Concorde
What were the documents the Washington Post & The New York Times published from the Defense Department that told the secret history of the Vietnam War named?
– The Pentagon Papers
Five men were arrested breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel on what date?
– June 17, 1972
One of the subpoenaed White House tapes caused controversy when it was discovered to be missing how much of its recording?
– Eighteen-and-a-half minutes
What was the name of the man who in 2005 revealed himself as the informant ‘Deep Throat’?
– Mark Felt
All the President’s Men, the movie based on the book written by Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein based on their experiences during Watergate, starred what two actors?
– Robert Redford & Dustin Hoffman
What does it mean to be impeached?
– To charge a public official with an offence committed in office.
Who were the only two presidents to be impeached?
– Andrew Johnson
(In 1867, Congress passed laws placing restrictions upon the President. When Johnson allegedly violated one of these, the Tenure of Office Act, by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him. He was tried by the Senate in the spring of 1868 and acquitted by one vote.)
– Bill Clinton
(In 1998, as a result of issues surrounding personal indiscretions with a female White House intern, Clinton was the second US president to be impeached. He was tried by the Senate and found not guilty. He apologized to the nation for his actions and continued to have unprecedented popular approval ratings for his job as president.)
Why wasn’t Nixon impeached?
– He resigned to avoid it, making him the first & only president to ever resign from office.
Which president signed the Resource Recovery Act to encourage recycling?