Lynn Redgrave has written and will star in a new play about her grandmother. Now, when a Redgrave, one of the most renowned acting families*, with four generations of stars, writes about a member of that family, it is worth taking notice. But Redgrave’s grandmother Mildred was not one of the well-known Redgraves, not to the public and not to Lynn herself. Indeed, according to the advance publicity, Nightingale â€œis a play about a promising woman stymied by society and all but erased by history.â€
The play is scheduled to begin October 15 at Manhattan Theater Club.
*Since I brought it up, I might as well present the Redgrave acting family tree:
Roy Redgrave (1873-1922), star of the stage and silent film, gave birth to Michael Redgrave, eventually Sir Michael Redgrave (1908-1985) famed stage and film actor, director, manager and author. Sir Michael had three children â€“ Vanessa Redgrave (1937), Corin Redgrave (1929) and Lynn Redgrave (1943) â€“ all of whom became actors.
Vanessa Redgrave had three children, two of whom became actresses â€“ Natalie Richardson (1963-2009), who died in a tragic accident earlier this year, and Joely Richardson (1965), best known for her role on â€œNip/Tuckâ€. Her other son, Carlo Gabriel Nero, became a screenwriter and film director. Corin Redgrave sired five children, at least one of whom is an actor â€“ Jemma Redgrave (1965). Jemma’s brother Luke Redgrave is a camera operator. (Lynn Redgrave is the mother of three children, none of whom as far as I know are performers.)
Are the Redgraves the only acting dynasty? No.
Their greatest competition is probably the Barrymores. Stage actor Maurice Barrymore (1849 to 1905) married actress Georgianna (Georgie) Emma Drew (1856-1893), who was herself a member of an illustrious acting dynasty: both of her parents were actors, and all three siblings were. Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore gave birth to John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, and Ethel Barrymore, all renowned actors of stage and screen. (Lionel Barrymore is best known now for being the miserly Mr. Potter in â€œIt’s A Wonderful Life.â€) John Barrymore sired John Drew Barrymore, the father of Drew Barrymore.
There are also the Hustons â€“ Walter Huston, his son the actor and director John Huston, and John’s daughter Anjelica Huston.
And while we’re at it, there is the Douglas family â€“ Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas; the Bridges â€“ Lloyd Bridges and his sons Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges; the Fondas â€“ Henry Fonda, his children Peter Fonda and Jane Fonda, and her daughter Bridget Fonda; the Sheens; the Carradines; even the Hanks â€“ Tom Hanks and his son Colin Hanks.