Announcement

Greta Gerwig Drew Inspiration from Off-Broadway Production that Featured Alumna

Alumna and instructor Jennifer Grace (MFA, dramatic arts, ‘21) starred in an acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Our Town in 2009 that Barbie director Greta Gerwig drew inspiration from as she wrote the screenplay for her breakout film Lady Bird. Gerwig shared that insight with film legend Francis Ford Coppola in a November 2017 Q & A for Interview magazine:

“Our Town” was one of the things I thought about when I was writing the Lady Bird script. I had seen a production in New York directed by David Cromer, and it was done very simply and almost seemed like it wasn’t being acted. Everybody was dressed in street clothes, and then at the very end, when Emily reflects on her life, they pull back this curtain, and there was this completely realistic stage set, and there was actual bacon being cooked onstage, and they were in period costumes, and suddenly everything that had been so simple was there vividly living in front of you. I thought, “I want to figure out how to get a piece of that into what I’m trying to do.” In one of the very first scenes I wrote for the film, someone says to Lady Bird, “Where are you from?” And she says, “Sacramento,” but they mishear her and say, “Excuse me, where?” And so she says, “San Francisco.” I thought, “How do I reverse engineer a movie where, when she does that, you feel that ache of a place you can’t go back to?”

Grace has worked as a professional actor most notably as Emily Webb in Tony Award-winning director David Cromer’s acclaimed production of Our Town, which she performed in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, for which she was recognized with a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway debut. New York theatre credits include: Nikolai and the Others (Lincoln Center Theatre, world premiere) and The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide (59E59). Selected regional credits: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Balm In Gilead, Arcadia, The Sea Gull and Angels in America. Film: I See You (w/Helen Hunt), The Casserole Club, Kelly & Cal (w/ Juliette Lewis) Television: Inside Amy Schumer, VEEP, Billions, Chicago P.D., and The Red Line. She is also an audiobook narrator, VO artist, and a writer. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity. 

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