Interview with Three Tall Women star Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson

Two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson, in short, has been taking Broadway by storm and sweeping the board during the 2017-2018 Awards Season. We caught up with the stage and screen veteran, following her victory at The 63rd Annual Drama Desk Awards last night, and she is the hot favorite to walk away with the Tony Award for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play" this coming Sunday too... And it's about time, say we!

For all of her five appearances on the Great White Way, Ms. Jackson has earned Tony Award nominations, but this year - after a thirty year absence from Broadway - she may finally take home that coveted Tony. She was last seen on the New York stage as Lady Macbeth in the 1988 Broadway revival of Macbeth, following her performances as Nina Leeds in the 1985 revival of Strange Interlude, as the title character in the 1981 premiere of Rose, and her Broadway debut as Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade in 1965. Arguably her current role in Edward Albee's Three Tall Women at the Golden Theatre is a career-defining one for Ms. Jackson and a jewel in the crown of an illustrious stage career on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a headline-making career change and serving as a Member of Parliament in the UK from 1992 through to 2015, she made a triumphant return to the stage playing the gender-bending title role in King Lear during the fall of 2016 at London's Old Vic... Luckily for New York audiences, a return to Broadway was not far behind...

Glenda Jackson in Three Tall Women
(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe)

Congratulations on yet another accolade out here on Broadway, Ms. Jackson! You are sweeping the board, as they say. How are you feeling at this moment?

Well, at the moment, I’m desperately thirsty and rather hungry and I’m also desperate for a cigarette, but we can move on beyond that.

I love your frank honesty, Ms. Jackson, and I love the way it has caught a few people in the Broadway community off guard. As a fellow Brit, I just also wanted to thank you for all your service as a Member of Parliament…

Why are we leaving Europe?! We’ve gone completely insane!

We could talk for hours about “Brexit”!

We certainly could!

But did you imagine in 2015, when you retired as a Member of Parliament, that you’d find yourself once again on a Broadway stage for the first time in 30 years?

Well, I’ve never stopped being a member of the Labour Party but I did stop being a Member of Parliament. I didn’t stand for the election in 2015. And I didn’t expect this, no. I also didn’t expect the other offers that came to me. The Beeb [BBC] gave me a radio series, which was great to do, and the Old Vic let me do King Lear. When the chance to do Three Tall Women came up, it was terrific!

Alison Pill, Glenda Jackson & Laurie Metcalf in Three Tall Women
(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe)

Well, it was a real privilege for me to see you perform on both the West End and Broadway stages. Obviously, it must be a huge milestone professionally, but I was just wondering if being a part of Three Tall Women has affected you at all in your personal life?

I don’t think so, apart from the realisation that we’re all going to die, which we all know anyone but we rarely or truly think about it. The thing that has been the great bonus – apart from working here in New York – has been working with other actresses. Usually, there’s only one woman’s part and if you’ve got it, then that’s it.

I hope we get to see you on stage again in the not-too-distant future on either side of the Atlantic. Would there be any dream roles that could entice you back?

Well, it’s always… It’s always a rare treat to be offered work (laughs)… You can’t have those kind of thoughts.

(Photo by Jim Byk)

Three Tall Women Tickets are available now for performances through to June 24, 2018.