Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

The Caldwell Theatre Company
Lands Legendary Television and Film Star
Ed Asner to Star as FDR

In a major coup, the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton has successfully booked legendary film and television star Ed Asner to star in a one man show, FDR by Dore Schary. FDR explores the life of one of America's best-loved presidents, and the events and decisions that shaped a nation. This powerful play follows the iconic president as he reflects on his years in office, from inauguration to the trials of World War II. The original version of FDR, entitled Sunrise at Compobello, opened on Broadway for 1958, and ran for 556 performances.

Laurence Vittes of the Hollywood Reporter said of FDR: "Asner's pacing is immaculate, and his absorbing phrasing communicates directly to the audience."

"This is such an incredible opportunity for Caldwell to be in a position to offer to our patrons" said Clive Cholerton, Artistic Director of Caldwell Theatre Company. "To not only land a true icon in Mr. Asner, but more so, to have him in a role that he has portrayed to such critical acclaim. This is simply a theatrical event not to be missed."

Actor Ed Asner is perhaps best known for his performance as the gruff but soft-hearted journalist Lou Grant on the landmark TV newsroom comedy "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." He continued in the newspaper-set drama "Lou Grant," which earned him five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards. Asner received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots." Most recently, Mr. Asner provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the award winning Pixar animated film Up. Edward Asner has been the recipient of seven Emmy Awards and 16 nominations, as well as five Golden Globe Awards, and served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1996, and received the Ralph Morgan Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000.

In 2002, Asner was the recipient of the prestigious Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, presented annually to an actor who fosters the highest ideals of the profession. Edward Asner has consistently committed himself to the rights of the working performer, advocating for human rights, world peace, environmental preservation and political freedom. A passionate and informed spokesperson for the causes he supports, Asner is a frequent speaker on labor issues and an ally for the acting industry's older artists. Some of the many honors he has received throughout his career include the Anne Frank Human Rights Award, The Eugene Debs Award, Organized Labor Publications Humanitarian Award, ACLU's Worker's Right's Committee Award and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Award.

Playwright Dore Schary (1905-1980) began his Hollywood career as a screenwriter for Columbia Pictures in 1932. After leaving Columbia the following year, he became a freelance writer, winning an Academy Award for his screenplay Boys Town. He was hired by MGM studios and eventually became production chief. After 20 years of working at MGM, Schary left to continue writing, directing, and producing. He focused much of his attention on the life of his personal hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Schary's tribute to FDR, Sunrise at Campobello, was originally produced by The Theatre Guild. Schary continued his political work in New York, serving as national chair of the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith from 1963 to 1969, and as commissioner of cultural affairs in Mayor John Lindsay's administration. To honor his memory, the Anti-Defamation League established the Dore Schary Awards in 1982.

The Theater Guild, which produced the original version of FDR in 1958, was formed in 1919 by Theresa Helburn, Lawrence Langner, and Armina Marshall. The stars of the Theatre Guild included Katherine Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Burt Lancaster, Peter Ustinov, Uta Hagan, Hume Cronin, Jessica Tandy, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson—honored by the legacy of Lunt and Fontanne, Ina Claire, Alfred Drake, Judy Holiday, Lillian Gish, John Gielgud, Helen Hayes, Walter Matthau, and so many more. The Theatre Guild was engaged by the State Department under President John F. Kennedy to assemble a U.S. theatre company to tour the capitols of Europe and South America. This company, headed by Helen Hayes, performed in some 25 world capitals, and presented the works of three of America's finest playwrights: Tennessee Williams, Thornton Wilder, and William Gibson. The Theatre Guild also produced William Gibson's Golda, starting Anne Bancroft. In 1968, The Theatre Guild entered the travel field, taking 25 of its subscribers to European capitols to see plays. The last Broadway play produced by The Theatre Guild was Rodgers & Hammerstein's State Fair in 1996.

The Caldwell Theatre Company is a professional theatre company hiring local and non-local Equity and non-Equity actors. The Caldwell Theatre Company is designated by the State of Florida as a Cultural Institution and receives funding from the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, the Florida Arts Council and the Division of Cultural Affairs. The Caldwell Theatre Company is located in the 333-seat Count De Hoernle Theatre at 7901 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton, Florida. Performance times are Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

FDR will be performed June 1 - June 5, 2011 at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton. Show times for this production are: Wednesday June 5th at 8p.m. (all seats $40.00); Thursday and Saturday at 8p.m. ($60 and $45); Friday at 8p.m. ($75 and $60); Saturday and Sunday at 2p.m. ($60 and $45); Sunday at 7p.m. ($60 and $45). For information and/or tickets you may contact them by phone at 561-241-7432 or online at

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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