LP0246. MEDEA (Freely Adapted from THE MEDEA Of Euripides), recorded 1948, w.Judith Anderson, Doris Rich, Arnold Moss, Raymond Johnson, Everett Sloane. Decca early plum label with gold print D 9000.
“Dame Judith Anderson, who electrified Broadway audiences in 1947 with her savage performance of the title role in MEDEA and was a memorably sinister housekeeper in the 1940 film REBECCA, was for years one of the first ladies of the American theater, repeatedly portraying women gripped by powerful emotions.
After the Broadway premiere of the 1947 MEDEA - a new adaptation of Euripides's drama, written for Dame Judith by the poet Robinson Jeffers - Brooks Atkinson wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES that she had ‘set a landmark in the theater’ with her ‘inspired performance of rage and revenge’. Her fiery portrait of a barbarian woman who takes revenge on Jason, the unfaithful father of her two sons, by murdering them won the actress an honored niche in theater history.
She was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actress for her portrayal of the malevolent housekeeper Mrs. Danvers in REBECCA, a Gothic romance directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. Early in her career, in a 1924 issue of THEATER MAGAZINE, Dame Judith wrote, ‘I like emotional roles because they permit unleashing of one's feelings’. She gave full rein to those feelings in MEDEA, a role she seemed to have been born to play. The Broadway production ran for 214 performances and went on an eight-month tour coast to coast. In 1949, she played the part again in New York City in the Jeffers adaptation, this time at City Center, in a production presented and staged by Guthrie McClintic. She performed in the play again in later years, venturing as far as Paris, Berlin and Canberra, Australia.
As time passed, she came to take a broad view of the actor's craft. ‘We live, we breathe, we experience, we die, we love, we hate, we experience beauty and tragedy, and we find it in the parts we play’, she said in a 1984 interview, adding, ‘Whatever I do, I'm passionate about….my failures and my successes, my tears and my laughter, my joys and my sorrows, my heartbreaks and my loves, and my pride and my gratitude for the wonderful audiences that have played their music for me to listen to’."
- Eric Pace, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 Jan., 1992