DANA IVEY CAST AS VIOLET VENABLE IN TENNESSEE WIILLIAMS FESTIVAL IN PROVINCE TOWN
for information on Dana's career, click here.
We just spoke and, while fresh, I thought I'd let you know my connection to Dana. We never met but I had a wonderful relationship with Dana's mother, Mary Nell Santacroce and her step-father Dante Santacroce. (Back in 1974, I was actually a cute, curly haired 180 pound 21 year old living in Atlanta)
I had just come off my first Equity tour of MAN OF LA MANCHA and Dante directed me in a memorable production of THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES. Mary Nell coached me in this role and Dante was a wonderful director and became a friend as did Mary Nell. I was hungry for more coaching and felt I needed to get a more solid foundation by getting into a good liberal arts school. All my instincts told me I was not ready for a professional career. I was 21 and incredibly insecure. Response to my work in both plays I did in Atlanta had been extremely positive but I was well aware of the well trained competition I would be facing and was in search for solid experience--this came in the form of a Drama scholarship at Birmingham Southern and I was enrolled and in rehearsals for Claudius in HAMLET by the 1974 fall term.
Mary Nell arranged a lunch at Harry Ellerbe's. It was just Harry and me and his older sister who was quietly charming but distant. She served us in the beautiful breakfast room and then disappeared.
I had no idea Harry had been the original "gentlemen caller" in The Glass Menagerie and he never brought it up--I only found that out a few years ago.
We enjoyed our lunch and he had many simple, solid pieces of advice for a young actor. He drove home the point that actor's today do not treasure the "words". This remained with me.
Just, if not awkward, pass on my deep affection to Dana for Mary Nell and Dante. I feel they must have both passed away at this point.
Mary Nell was quite wonderful as "the land lady" in John Houston's WISE BLOOD and did appear in several films. She would have worked non-stop in Los Angeles but chose to remain in Atlanta.
Dearest David, sorry to have allowed this little note to grow into a 'bio tale' but it just flowed........... I know how busy you are but once I begin a tale it sometimes happens! Hope the T. Williams Festival is coming together. My Sciatica should be better soon but, regretfully, I will miss the 5th Season. Very disappointed but health has to take the front seat this year.
Best to you and Jerry and Spot,
For those who can make it to Province Town, here's a link with info: http://www.twptown.org