I don’t typically follow the trends of Instagram and such when it comes to the #ManCrushMonday or #FollowBackFriday kind of things, but today I am making an exception.
Since moving to Florida and needing something to distract me while I wait to hear about my start date for my job, I’ve dived into the wonderful world of Mrs. J.B. Fletcher and Murder, She Wrote.
I absolutely adore Angela’s character, Jessica Fletcher. She falls into Mystery writing and begins using her skills and research to helping solve actual murder mysteries. As usual, Angela is magical on screen, hilariously witty, and just the right amount of prim and proper. I have always been a lover of mystery stories and having Angela as the lead detective on the cases is just a dream come true.
I had the incredible luxury of getting to meet Angela Lansbury in 2009 at a Theatre conference in Houston, TX. She was such a genuine pleasure and stayed in the auditorium for hours just to make sure everyone got a photo and autograph. When I told her how much of an inspiration she was to me, she replied, “Oh, why thank you so much. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.” Now, I’m sure she’s said that to hundreds of people, but getting to speak face-to-face with her and having her encourage me was almost more than I could handle. (Tears of disbelief and happiness followed this picture almost immediately.) Something she said during her presentation that touched me so deeply was how she loved nothing more than being on stage with her fellow actors. She said as much as as she loved movies – and she hoped that given her age she’d still have time for one more – you can’t compare the electricity of a live theatre audience.
I just remember sitting there and thinking about how this woman, this incredible movie star who could do anything she possibly wanted, still found the thrill of the stage worth pursuing. Even though I was merely 19 at the time, really kicked me in the rear to begin taking my theatrical career more seriously.
I cannot remember a time in my life when Angela Lansbury was not a part of it. One of my favorite movies growing up was Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a Disney classic that surprisingly few people have seen!
Angela plays a witch, Eglentine Price, who goes on an incredible journey and helps to defend Britain during the war with the aid of three children and a conman, played by the oh-so-wonderful David Tomlinson. It was pretty groundbreaking in terms of film making since it combined animation in with the live action.
And who could ever forget Angela’s iconic role as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast!?
One of my all-time favorite roles of Angela’s, however, is Mrs. Lovett in the original 1979 Broadway production of Sweeney Todd.
(I daren’t admit how many times I’ve watched this version of Sweeney Todd on VHS…)
One of the things Angela said during her presentation at the TETA Festival in 2009 was that she never found herself to be a good singer. She’d compare herself to the likes of Julie Andrews and other leading ladies of the time who had “more traditionally feminine voices” and said she would get discouraged quite often. I feel like the whole audience gasped in unison because we all knew what an incredible talent she was and couldn’t imagine someone of her stature lacking in any self-confidence. However, having studied musical theatre for many years now, I can see what she meant, in a sense. No, she doesn’t have the more common lullaby of a mezzo or the operatic pleasantries of a soprano, but her ability to project and belt out those lower notes is, in my opinion, a wonderful one.
I realize how strange it is to feel so close and connected to a celebrity, and I know I’m being ridiculous by saying this, but I truly love this woman and everything she has contributed to my life. Her talent, her generosity, and her kindness are that beyond measure and I dread the day when she has to leave us all behind.
Oh, I can’t bare to think of that sadness right now. Back to watching more Murder, She Wrote! I’m on an episode in Season 2 in which a late celebrity’s diary is causing all kinds of mayhem and Jessica is all caught up in the middle of it. Better go see how it turns out! Thank you for letting me fangirl and gush over my dear, dear Ms. Lansbury. I promise not to do too many posts like this. (Ok, no promises… But I’ll try!)
Until next time! ❤