Edna Purviance's bio

June 6, 2018 - Re-editing Edna Purviance's family biography 2nd Draft. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Behind the Limelight - play about Chaplin

The New York Musical Theatre Festival and the Chaplin Corporation are presenting a play about Chaplin called 'Behind the Limelight'. The six performances start September 19th and end September 30th. Actress, Brooke Sunny Moriber will play the part of Edna Purviance. This play premiered in the summer of 2005. I have not heard any news about it, so something of interest for fans in the New York area.

Update Sept 21th: Here is a review on this play from theatermania.com

Link to the BEHIND THE LIMELIGHT official website.
July 21, 2005 - Playbill article
Vassar article on Limelight

Also, someone sent a couple more reviews you can see in comments.
MORE INFORMATION: The lyrics to the Limelight theme 'Eternally' and more...

UPDATE: Because of a related internet question I will place a short answer here - Edna Purviance was never in Limelight. Check this link for more.


Edna's Place said...

Thanks for these other reviews on the play. I removed one because it was a repeat of the second sent.

Anonymous said...

Behind the Limelight: Charlie Chaplin musical

New York Musical Theatre Festival
Review by Oscar E. Moore from the rear mezzanine for talkentertainment.com

With the bases loaded (Book, Lyrics and Music) Christopher Curtis hit a grand slam right out of the Theatre at St. Clements with his new musical Behind The Limelight – based on the life and career of the infamous “Little Tramp” Charlie Chaplin. What a fantastic show. Open the champagne and toast Broadway’s newest triple threat talent. What an entertaining backstage look at Chaplin – as a child, as a star and as an old man. It takes three actors – all superb – to fill Chaplin’s controversial shoes. As a young boy (Danny Hallowell) who learns from his mum to watch people and learn from them to the vaudevillian on his way to stardom (Luther Creek) who does a smashing job of inhabiting the soul of Chaplin without making a caricature out of him to the old man (Robert Langdon Lloyd) who bookends the show with grace, dignity and wonderment. Mr. Curtis does have some super help to mount this complicated yet clear as can be story in the name of director Michael Unger – who deserves his own bottle of champagne to celebrate their joint success.

There are times when a show begins and you just know that you are in for something extraordinarily special – this is such a show. It has a great story that is told in a concise and taught manner – you get all the points needed to me made without any excess fat which lead right into what matters most in a musical. The songs. And they are so right. They further the story and give insight into the characters. The songs are memorable. Melodic. The words are witty and intelligent. I can’t remember the last original cast recording I purchased but this one will be immediately scooped up when it’s available.

Chaplin was a womanizer and we see the many women in his life (quite comically popping in and out of his bed one right after another) but the one standout is Oona O’Neill – whom he truly loved. Garrett Long looked stunning and gave an embarrassed, nervous and yet thrilling reading to the character who truly loved him – despite all his faults and his political problems. As one of his cast-offs, Edna Purviance (Brooke Sunny Moriber) has a power ballad – “Somebody’s Going To Love Me More” – which she sings to the hilt. Wouldn’t be surprised if Streisand picks it up. Sean Palmer as Charlie’s brother Sydney is the perfect foil – steadfast, always there and understanding without being sappy. Andrea McArdle (Hedda Hopper sans hat) gives new meaning to the words “witch hunter”. She goes after Chaplin with a vengeance to get him out of the country for not giving her, her due respect in Hollywood, his immorality, for being an alleged commie, and if that wasn’t enough - for never becoming a citizen and being ungrateful to the country which helped make him a millionaire. All of this happens in the best traditions of musical comedy style.

Whatever you feel about his political alliances, Chaplin was a consummate performer, known worldwide, and you will be moved to tears by the last song of the show, “This Man”. Charlie Chaplin wanted to make the world laugh and cry at the same time - at the foibles of humanity. Behind the Limelight does just that with Chaplin’s life. Splendidly. See it.