Friday, January 29, 2010

Alice Duffy on Broadway. Baby, take a bow!

Since I'm still holding on to the possibility that I may make something of my life yet, I was completely delighted to hear that Alice Duffy, aged 81, has made her Broadway debut.

I learned this the other day at the gym, where they had one of the morning shows I never watch on, and this one - which turned out to be The Today Show - had a piece on Alice Duffy.

Alice, who lives on Boston's South Shore, has a small play in the restaging of Noel Coward's "Present Laughter," reprising a role that she played in Boston.  (And, Mrs. Duffy, I hope you don't mind if I all you 'Alice.' Mrs. Duffy just seems so stuffy, even if you are  - yelp - old enough to be my mother.)

Her daughter, Clare, who works for NBC, wrote about her mother's debut here. This includes an embed of the video, which is absolutely worth a look. (I tried to embed the video here, but the link just went to today's video, which - as I'm writing this - is Steve Jobs showing off the iPad.)

There's a ton of feel good in the Alice Duffy story: Alice, who is the sister of one of my favorite actors, the late Peter Boyle, lost a daughter to cancer just a few months ago.  Alice is also someone who had started out in theatre, but had put it aside to raise her family. Kids out of the house, she got back into it, and has had many character actor roles in Boston, as well as doing some ads and bit parts in movies.

So, here she is on Broadway. Her surviving kids and her grand kids in the audience, along with some college pals from Trinity College in Washington, DC (sister school, by the way, of my own alma mater Emmanuel).

God knows, there's enough depressing news in the news these days, and there's been a spate of stories on employment that talk about age discrimination in the workplace, how companies are trading in a 60 for two 20's, and pocketing the extra 20 for themselves.  Personally, I find myself one of the older geezers still managing to hang on in high-tech marketing. Some days, I feel like Jack Crabb, the ancient character in Little Big Man, croaking about being the only white man to survive Custer's Last Stand. (My name's Maureen Rogers, and I'm the sole woman of a certain age still able to find work in my field....)

But I still harbor hopes that, if this work withers away and dies - who knows, if B2B tech marketing ends up relying exclusively on buzz word twittering, I may just pack up my lap top and call it a day - I can do something else. Something that requires the written word. Something interesting. Something engaging.

Maybe if I won Powerball, I'd feel different, but I actually like to work. (Hey, you've got to do something to fill the day, might as well get paid for it.) And, whether it's paid work or not, as far as I can see, the recipe for a happy old age is to keep doing things: volunteering, traveling, working out, stepping out, making a debut on Broadway.

Let's face it, one of the drearier aspects of getting on in years is that the losses start to accumulate. You can absolutely let yourself wither away and die, if that's what you want to do. Just pull the afghan up around your neck and retreat into yesteryear.

Not Alice Duffy, Broadway Baby at 81!

Baby, take a bow!


valerie said...

no my friend -- you are never sole nor alone, when I am still around and aging.

Linda said...

Discovered your blog when I googled Alice Duffy. Couldn't agree more - I'm retiring from teaching next year at age 64 to pursue full time the acting career I began at age 58. It truly is never too late to follow your passion.