|Ed Asner as Lou Grant
Lou Grant won some 12 Emmy Awards in its day, including two for Asner as Best Actor, as well as a Peabody and two Humanitas Prizes. Asner has won a total of seven primetime Emmys, with one for his performance in Roots, one for Rich Man, Poor Man, and three for his supporting role as Lou Grant on Mary Tyler Moore.
Up and returned to Broadway last year alongside Paul Rudd in a play by Craig Wright called Grace.
So why am I writing about Ed Asner now? Because he's scheduled to be in Chicago this weekend as part of a 60th anniversary celebration of the Playwrights Theatre Club, which began in 1953 and paved the way for the famous Second City troupe. The reunion event will bring together other luminaries with Playwrights Theatre Club connections like Helen Axelrood, Rolf Forsberg, George Goritz, Zohra Lampert, Sheldon Patinkin, Joyce Piven, Joann Shapiro, David Shepherd and Carol Sills, all part of a panel discussion to be moderated by Chris Jones from The Chicago Tribune.
Second City is holding this celebration at 3 pm on Sunday the 23rd at the UP Comedy Club at 230 West North Ave, on the second floor of Piper's Alley. And it's FREE. You can make reservations by contacting The Second City box office at 312-337-3992 or reserve online at www.SecondCity.com. The doors open at 2:15.
Here's what The Second City had to say about the Playwrights Theatre Club when it announced the event:
"The Playwrights Theatre Club was started in Chicago in the early 1950s by a group of young theater pioneers. Founded by David Shepherd, Paul Sills and Eugene Troobnick, Playwrights Theatre Club appeared on the scene in June 1953 with a production of Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle. In two years, the company presented nearly thirty productions, with the company members, several of whom lived in the theatre, making all sets and costumes themselves. In addition to show rehearsals, company members regularly played Theater Games (now considered the basis of improvisational theater) created by Sills' mother, Viola Spolin. This training prepared the group for their rechristening as The Compass Players in 1955. The Compass Players opened their doors in a new, larger and air-conditioned space on July 5, 1955, presenting regular improvisational theater shows, the predecessor to the legendary form The Second City is known for today. Roger Bowen, Elaine May and Barbara Harris are among the many notable performers in the original Compass Players."I won't be able to be there -- I've got a performance of the 10-Minute Play Festival at Heartland Theatre at the same time -- but I will be thinking about Ed Asner and celebrating his career in my own way, all the same. Maybe I'll watch some episodes of Lou Grant on Hulu (as I continue to hope they'll fill in the last two seasons so I can see the "Double Cross" episode, one of my favorites. My other favorite, "Hollywood," was in season 3 and available right now. WOOO!) Or maybe I'll watch Up, where the animated Mr. Fredericksen looks a great deal like the current version of Mr. Asner (see below). But however I choose to visit the Ed Asner archives, I'll be thinking about you, Ed!
|Edward Asner, 2013