Updates with more information: Here’s a clip from the docu Jane, released by the Sundance Doc Club, in which a not yet famous Jane Fonda readies for her Broadway bow as a star in The Fun Couple. Although she’d appeared on Broadway twice earlier, The Fun Couple marked her heralded 1962 debut as the star of a show. This was long before she became an Oscar winner and a political lightning rod; this was back when she was a beautiful young actress who risked embarrassing her world famous acting father.
It intrigued me because these days, with images so carefully crafted, you don’t often see an actress depicted behind the scenes so vulnerably and at the mercy of her blunt director, in this case Greek acting coach Andréas Voutsinas. (Fate caught up with him when Mel Brooks cast Voutsinas as the fey director Carmen Ghia in his 1968 black comedy The Producers.)
And here’s a sign of the times (or The Times): The Fun Couple played one (!) preview at the Lyceum Theatre, opened the next night — Friday, October 26 — and closed the next night after two more performances. Times critic Howard Taubman called the play “incredible nonsense” and generously opined that “Jane Fonda — who, given an even break, can act —” while otherwise ridiculing the effort.