Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Star Quality

Now I know what star quality is. Kathleen Turner was here in our studios yesterday.

Hi, it's Sheila. When a star walks into a room, heads turn. Kathleen Turner oozes it simply by standing in a doorway. Something about seeing her there in her large, black sunglasses, with her flowing blonde hair made me jump a little inside. Then you hear the voice. People in the entertainment business talk all the time about the "it" factor, and she has it.

Cincinnati theater goers have a rare opportunity to see one of America's most acclaimed actresses this month in the Playhouse in the Park production of High.

Kathleen Turner has been a favorite of mine since I saw her in Body Heat (1981) with William Hurt. She's a Golden Globe winner and Tony and Academy Award nominee. Turner's credits include big movies like Romancing the Stone and Prizzi's Honor, but lately she's been walking the boards in some major theater roles. She's one of only three actresses to take on Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe on Broadway, one of the stage's most demanding roles for women. The New York Times said her turn as Martha "secured her berth as first-rate, depth-probing stage actress."

In Heat, Turner plays Sister Jamison Connelly, also a demanding role. She never leaves the stage. Sister Jamie is a nun who is forced to take on the case of a meth addict who's not interested in giving up drugs. The play deals with some heavy subject matter, but it's beautifully written, and moments of humor relieve the tension.

For me, watching Turner on stage felt like an honor. I am always impressed by actors' ability to become someone else, and I even forgot for awhile that I was watching Kathleen Turner and not Sister Jamie. I wondered how much a role like that one carries into real life. She told me some nights at the end of the performance she says to her, "Oh God, that hurt."

High may not be for everyone, but it's one of the finest pieces of theatre I've seen (and I see a lot). It's not often we see an actress of Kathleen Turner's caliber right here in our hometown, so I hope the seats will be filled through the rest of her run here.

Off camera, Turner told me she loved the Cincinnati WEBN fireworks. She watched from a private home in Covington, and her favorite part was the waterfall. She launched into all kinds of facts about the Rozzi's. She says she loves to learn. We also talked about botox and plastic surgery. Turner says she doesn't think she'd try botox because she once acted with someone whose forehead wouldn't move, and while she's not up for plastic surgery at this time in her life, she's not ruling it out. And when someone in our newsroom said he loved her in the Showtime series, Californication, she told me the role embarrassed her 22 year old daughter. Her response, "Grow up!" Turner's a really funny woman, and when I interviewed her, she told me she is always on the lookout for laughs.

Be sure to watch my interview with Kathleen Turner on today's Fox 19 Morning News at 8:45, and you can find ticket information for High at

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