Judith Ivey has acted on Broadway, starred in films and appeared on TV. This week, she directs a light winter comedy at the Public Theatre in Lewiston.
“I like to be able to run the show,” she said, laughing, explaining her interest in directing. “I enjoy creating the big picture. I love actors and enjoy watching them find the story and the character. Likewise, sometimes when I have bit off more than I can chew, I rush back to acting so I am only in charge of that one little thing.”
A two-time Tony Award winner, Ivey is directing the comedy “The Ladies Foursome.” It opens Friday and runs through Jan. 31.
It’s about three women who get together to play a round of golf in honor of their friend and golf partner, who recently died. They are joined by another friend of the deceased, whom the other three do not know. The play is about the banter they create remembering their friend, with talk that moves among the subjects of love, sex, motherhood and careers. The Public’s artistic director, Christopher Schario, calls it “Sex and the City” on a golf course.
“It’s a very funny play,” Ivey said, “with poignant moments and touching moments. I am always look for a story that does the three Es: It enlightens, entertains and educates. If you can get them all in one play, all the better. I’m not sure how much we educate in this one, but we certainly enlighten and entertain.”
Ivey has won two acting Tonys, for her work in “Steaming” and “Hurlyburly.” She appeared alongside Helen Mirren in “The Audience” on Broadway and is best known for her work on the final season of the TV show “Designing Women.” She appeared on “Will & Grace,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nurse Jackie” and other TV shows. She also has more than 40 film credits, including “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “The Woman in Red.”
When she is done in Lewiston, she returns to New York to begin work on a new play, “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” written by Israel Horowitz and co-starring Oscar-winner Estelle Parsons.
Ivey has never worked in Maine, and until she arrived in Lewiston to begin this play, she had never been to Maine before. She’s enjoyed her time here, but it has been difficult emotionally with the recent deaths of actors Alan Rickman and Brian Bedford. She worked with both of them.
“It’s been a very sad week,” she said.
WHERE: The Public Theatre, 31 Maple St., Lewiston
WHEN: Opens Friday, through Jan. 31; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional matinee at 3 p.m. Jan. 30
TICKETS & INFO: $20; 782-3200 or thepublictheatre.org