I absolutely LOVE French Stewart so I was thrilled to learn that he’ll be portraying Buster Keaton in a new play about his life and career. The comedic physicality that Stewart showed as the kooky alien, “Harry” in 3rd Rock From the Sun should have propelled him to a whole other level of acting post-3rd Rock. Instead, as with most iconic roles, he was typecast as “the guy that used to play that alien dude with the squinty eyes.” Now, finally, Stewart steps out from the shadow of “Harry” and into a role that he was born to play.
Good luck to all involved in Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton.
7 responses to “French Stewart to Play Buster Keaton in New Stage Play!”
If the producers stay true to Keaton’s life, it could be a wonderful movie. Somehow, I have little faith tht it will.
My bad, Stage play nopt movie. Sorry, guess I need to slow down in my reading. A stage play that centers on a certain part of Buster’s life rather than his entire life could be very good.
It would be very interesting to see! especially to see Stewart do legit theater! Pretty decent job on the makeup, too.
I agree. James, buy a ticket…off you go. It runs until the end of June. I’m waiting for your review… 🙂
A great review from the LA Times Michelle. “French Stewart is a Revelation as Buster Keaton in “Stoneface.” Link to follow….
This blog won’t allow me to paste so I guess you’ll have to go to the Los Angeles Times site and search for the review link. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture
Here it is below:
By F. Kathleen Foley
May 30, 2012, 1:40 p.m.
From his turns in early Justin Tanner plays to his long-running role on the television sitcom, “3rd Rock from the Sun,” French Stewart has established himself as an immediately recognizable character actor, with “tired” and true tics — knowing squint, twee hand gestures — that have become synonymous with his persona.
Now forget any preconceptions you may have had about this actor. In “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton,” in its world premiere at Sacred Fools, Stewart has left his bag of tricks behind the stage door. In the eponymous central role, he displays a comical gravitas entirely fitting to his subject, combined with sheer physical virtuosity that is, quite simply, a revelation.
The play was written especially for Stewart by his wife, Vanessa Claire Stewart (nee Smith), co-creator and star of “Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara,” which also premiered at Sacred Fools before going on to extended runs at larger venues — as indeed, one suspects, could be the trajectory of this current production. Inspired collaborators, the playwright and her director Jaime Robledo imbue what could have been a standard bio-play with remarkable inventiveness and style.
Supported by a virtuosic design team, Robledo delivers a staging best described as surreally creative, complete with Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions and live silent film “clips,” with titles on an upstage screen. The performers, buoyed by music director Ryan Johnson’s live period piano music, all possess the spot-on timing of seasoned vaudevillians.
The cast includes Scott Leggett in a heartbreaking turn as Keaton’s close friend, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, and Joe Fria as the young Keaton, who berates his older self for his collapse into alcoholism and penury. The tone of the play varies from the antic to the tragic, yet as Keaton wanders through the alcoholic wreckage of his life, the drollery never flags, nor does the poignancy.
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“Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton,” Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Hollywood. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Ends June 30. $25. (310) 281-8337. http://www.sacredfools.org. Running time: 2 hours.