Monday, June 16, 2008

Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono so, we had quite a fight.

The musical greatness that was Grey Gardens played its final performance on Broadway on July 29, 2007 so, my dream of seeing it never came to fruition because well, the time just was never quite right. Anyway, Grey Gardens took its premise mostly from the 1975 documentary of the same name.

This film followed Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her equally eccentric daughter, little Edie , who were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her sister, Lee Radziwill and American socialites in their own right.

As a young mother, "Big Edie" pursued a singing career, hiring a personal accompanist and playing private parties for the most part. Edith's husband, Phelan Beale, abandoned her and his three children, (little Edie had two brothers) when she was 35 therefore, she was forced to depend upon her immediate family, the Bouviers, to support her along with her children.

Little Edie modeled clothes in department stores as a young girl and she attended the Spence School and graduated from Miss Porter's School in 1935. She resided in New York City and lodged at the Barbizon Hotel for Women from 1947-1952. At that point, she returned to the family home, Grey Gardens, to live with her mother. She never married claiming in The Beales of Grey Gardens a documentary follow-up released in 2006, that she always seemed to be drawn to Sagitarians, a bad match for a Scorpio such as herself.

In their later lives, these two women became notorious recluses living in squalor with more than 50 cats and virtually no indoor plumbing. At one point, the department of health interfered and cousin/niece Jacqueline invested over $30,000 in the attempt to clean the place up.

There is much more to be learned about these ladies and many hilarious anecdotes and tidbits of wisdom shelled out in large quantities by little Edie in the aforementioned film but, as my offering, I bring you the incomparable Christine Ebersole in her portrayal of Edie Beale performing Revolutionary Costume for Today as seen at the 2007 Tony Awards :

Inspiration for this number was taken from this:

Little Edie, I loveth thou.

Sunny Side Up!,

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