Q is for queen playing: Helen Mirren

The Audience was not the first time Helen Mirren has played QEII

Helen-Mirren-The-Audience-on-Broadway-largeOur local cinema of choice, The Spectrum, did something different for them; they showed a series of recorded plays from National Theatre Live!, the “groundbreaking project to broadcast the best of British theatre live from the London stage to cinemas across the UK and around the world.”

It IS essentially a filmed play, but because of the camerawork, and perhaps the unseen audience, it felt more like being AT a play than merely watching one on screen. “National Theatre Live launched in June 2009 with a broadcast of the… production of Phèdre with Helen Mirren.”

My first NTL experience was seeing Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, a role for which she would eventually gain her first Tony award for the Broadway adaptation. Indeed, The Wife and I saw this production shortly after the Tony win, in early July 2015.

Why else did this theater magic work? The “butler” in the play announced certain information, like a fire marshal might before the play. There were costume changes just off-stage. There was an intermission, during which we learned about the various costumes.

Perhaps my favorite part was at the end, listening to Helen Mirren being interviewed by director Stephen Daldry, recorded during her run of the American production in 2015. We learn that while the play is mostly the same when it comes to her meeting with most of the Prime Ministers, the writers kept putting in current references when the current PM, David Cameron, has his audience with the Queen. She also shared a tale about a time when Bill and Hillary Clinton were present, and she, teasingly, really directed a snarky line about the US Presidency right at the 42nd occupant.

Of course, The Audience was not the first time Helen Mirren has played QEII. She won an Oscar for playing the title role in the 2006 movie, The Queen. She has also played the title character in the TV miniseries Elizabeth I (2005); The Queen (voice) in The Prince of Egypt (1998); The Snow Queen (voice) in The Snow Queen (1995); and Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George (1994). Coincidentally, she was born at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in West London in 1945.

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

Helen Mirren is 70 (tomorrow)

Mirren’s paternal grandfather was in the Imperial Russian Army and fought in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War.

helen-mirrenIn June 2015, Dame Helen Lydia Mirren won the Tony Award for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. Here is her acceptance speech.

I had forgotten that she had been nominated for Tonys twice before. In her win for The Audience, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II. Playing the same personage, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2006 in The Queen. Like much of her stage work, the role was developed in the West End, London’s equivalent to New York City’s Broadway.

She had won the first of her four Emmy Awards in 1996, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, for Prime Suspect: The Scent of Darkness, making her a Grammy shy of an EGOT. I’ve watched her in much of her seven seasons of Prime Suspect.

She’s done a great deal of voice work. On TV, she was Becky’s Inner Voice on Glee and a caller on Frasier; in the movies, the dean in Monsters University (2013), and the queen, per usual, in The Prince of Egypt (1998).

I think of her primarily as a film actress, but I’ve not seen as many movies as I would have thought. On-screen, I’ve seen her in:
2014 The Hundred-Foot Journey
2006 The Queen
2003 Calendar Girls
2001 Gosford Park
1999 Teaching Mrs. Tingle
1994 The Madness of King George (playing Queen Charlotte)
1985 White Nights
1973 O Lucky Man! – here’s the O Lucky Man! trailer

From the Wikipedia:
helen-mirren (1)












“Mirren was born Helen Lydia Mironoff in … London. Her father, Vasily Petrovich Mironoff (1913–1980), was Russian…and her mother, Kitty (née Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda Rogers; 1909–1996), was English.

“Mirren’s paternal grandfather, Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, was in the Imperial Russian Army and fought in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. He later became a diplomat and was negotiating an arms deal in Britain when he and his family were stranded during the Russian Revolution. The former diplomat became a London cab driver to support his family and eventually settled down in England.

“Helen’s father… anglicised the family name in the 1950s and changed his name to Basil Mirren. He played the viola with the London Philharmonic before World War II, and later drove a taxi cab… before becoming a civil servant with the Ministry of Transport.

“Mirren’s mother was a working-class Londoner… and was the 13th of 14 children born to a butcher whose own father had been the butcher to Queen Victoria… Mirren was the second of three children; she was born three years after her older sister Katherine (“Kate”; born 1942), and has a younger brother…named Peter Basil…

“Mirren married American director Taylor Hackford (her partner since 1986) on 31 December 1997, his 53rd birthday…. The couple had met on the set of White Nights. It is her first marriage, and his third (he has two children from his previous marriages). Mirren has no children and says she has “no maternal instinct whatsoever.”

“On 11 May 2010, Mirren attended the unveiling of her waxwork at Madame Tussauds London.”

Her Bio piece.
CBS Sunday Morning February 2015 (updated in June 2015).

June rambling #2: composer James Horner, and coloring books

John Oliver: Helen Mirren Reads the Most Horrible Parts of the Torture Report and What the Internet Does to Women.

The Internet Age of Mean.

11 Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility for its Racism. “The pernicious impact of ‘white fragility.'” Slurs: Who Can Say Them, When, and Why. And Churches Are Burning Again in America.

President Obama’s extraordinary eulogy in Charleston, SC.

A black man and a white woman switch mics, and show us a thing or two about privilege.

Using music in political campaigns: what you should know.

SCOTUS_SpideyThis is actual content from the Supreme Court decision by Elena Kagan in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, Inc., decided June 22, 2015.

Bobby Jindal’s bizarre hidden camera announcement to his kids that he’s running for President.

Meh, cisgender, jeggings, and other new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Arthur shares the Father’s Day message from Upworthy.

For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort.

This School Was SHOCKED By What They Found Hidden Behind The Chalkboard. Might I say, though, that the phrase “my mind is blown” is highly overused.

Anti-Slavery Hamilton Gets Pushed Off The $10 Bill, While Genocidal Slaver Jackson Stays On The $20 and Here’s Why Andrew Jackson Stays and Alexander Hamilton Goes. I’m not happy about it, especially since I’m a member of the church Hamilton once attended. And I’m still pulling for Harriet Tubman to get on some bill, preferably on the larger denomination.

Serena Williams Is America’s Greatest Athlete. It was true last September when the article was written, and after her French Open win, still applicable.

Now I Know: It’s Not Pepto Bismol Lake and King Friday XIII.

Jaquandor loves waffles.

Meryl explains Beanworld.

Two Weeks of Status Updates from Your Vague Friend on Facebook.

Evanier points to the 27 shows have been announced for the coming season featuring Audra McDonald, Bruce Willis, and Al Pacino.

Comedy Central in the Post-TV Era: “What’s the difference between a segment on a TV show and the exact same segment on a YouTube channel? Tens of thousands of dollars.”

Comedy Central is running every Daily Show since the day Jon Stewart began, on January 11, 1999, in a 42-day marathon over on this site. It started on June 26.

Eddie rambles about his health & Emmylou Harris’ cool award, among other things.

Evanier’s Patrick MacNee stories.

Farewell, James Horner, who composed a lot of music for movies I’ve seen.

Jim Ed Brown of the Browns singing trio (“The Three Bells”) passed away at the age of 81.

From 2012: The making of Disraeli Gears, my favorite album by Cream.

SamuraiFrog ranks Weird Al: 50-41.

Tosy ranks the songs of U2’s Songs of Innocence.

Bohemian Rhapsody on a fairground “player” organ that is more than 100 years old.

Just for you, Dan: The Tremeloes, who covered Good Day Sunshine.

A Stevie Wonder cover: Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Jacob Collier.

Muppets: Thor, God of Thunder.


Bloggers ADD has met, including yours truly.

Arthur takes the ‘I Side With’ quiz.

SamuraiFrog’s dad and Carly Simon.


Roger Green lost both of his children, Amanda and Lance, in separate DUI crashes. “Green and his wife Anita raised their children in rural Oklahoma.”

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial