Ms. Lipman, with a career spanning close to half a century, covering theater, films and TV will be making her stage comeback at the recently opened Park Theatre in Birmingham, UK, in a new play by Oliver Cotton.
/ By Gali Raz /
Maureen Lipman has been one of the best-known and most well loved characters on the British theatrical scene for more than 40 years, but has been largely missing from the spotlight after the passing of a husband, the well-known TV writer Jack Rosenthal, close to a decade ago. Now she has decided that the time is right to make her comeback.
The catalyst that apparently succeeded in tempting Ms. Lipman back to the stage was an exciting new work, written by the actor-turned-playwright Oliver Cotton, that goes under the title of Daytona.
Daytona is set in New York in 1986, with Maureen Lipman playing the part of Elli Zimmerman alongside Harry Shearer, who plays the part of her husband Joe. Shearer has been around the world of entertainment for a number of years, yet has rarely been seen in public simply because most of the work he has done to date is as a voice artist, particularly playing the famous characters, Mr. Burns, Principle Skinner, and Ned Flanders in the long running cult TV series The Simpsons.
The Zimmermans are typical married Jewish immigrants both in their seventies who to share, of ballroom dancing. The lives go askew, when out of the blue Joe’s brother, Billy appears on the scene after a gap of more than 30 years.
Daytona will be only the third production to appear so far at the brand new Park Theatre. Ms. Lipman had been a long running member of the Birmingham Repertory, appearing with them for the first time since 2005 when she played the part of Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious!, the semi –autobiographical parody of Ms. Foster Jenkins doubtful operatic talents, written by the late Peter Quilter.
Maureen Lipman was born and raised in the city of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
During most of her stage career Ms. Lipman was a member of Laurence Olivier’s Royal National Theatre Company who appeared the world-famous Old Vic Theatre in London.
During the mid-sixties, Maureen Lipman hit the big screen for the first time, taking a supporting role in the cult film of that era Up the Junction.
By the late 1970s, Ms. Lipman had reached the height of her popularity, with a very busy schedule involving touring with the theater, as well as appearing in the long-running television series, Agony for which she is best remembered, as well for playing a number of secondary roles in British TV series’ throughout the years.
In addition, Maureen Lipman found the time to appear in Roman Polanski’s award-winning film The Pianist, as well as writing a monthly column for Good Housekeeping magazine for over ten years and several biographical books.
After her husband Jack Rosenthal passed away from cancer in 2004, Mrs. Lipman curtailed her stage and TV appearances, devoting time to complete her husband’s autobiography, going on to play herself in a radio version of her daughter Amy Rosenthal ‘s four-part adaptation of her book, Jack Rosenthal’s Last Act.
Now Maureen Lipman will be making a welcome return to the British stage where it all began for her more than forty years ago.