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October 25, 2002 - Image 81

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-25

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Born To Overbear

Sondra James is a natural to play
Valerie Harper's feisty Jewish mom.


Featuring the

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esting is that Frieda is in love with
her daughter's husband, Ira, not just
because he is a doctor, but because
hen Sondra James
he is kind and takes care of her
friends saw The Tale of daughter— and my mother was like
the Allergist's Wife on
that, too."
Broadway, they called
Initially, when the tour opened in
her to say she would be perfect in
Los Angeles last June, James was able
the role of Frieda— the mother.
to do only one show a week.
It seems they were right.
In the beginning, it starred Tony
James landed the role of
Roberts and Michelle
Valerie Harpers testy
Lee, who appeared on
In a scene from "The Tale Broadway, along with
mother in the road com-
of The Allergist's Wife,"
pany, which will perform
Shill 13ernheim, who
Kumar plays the
at the Fisher Theatre Nov.
was the original
philosophical doorman,
Frieda," she says.
Valerie Harper stars in
"The role of Frieda
"Shill's contract was
struck a chord with every- the title , ole, Mike
for only six times a
Burstyn portrays the smug week and I filled in
one," laughs James, a
husband and Sondra
native New Yorker who
the extra day. But
feels at home as
was able to get an audi-
when the new cast of
the outspoken mother.
tion, thanks to her agent.
Mike Burstyn, Jana
"I guess I am the basic
Robbins and Valerie
Harper opened with
"I can also relate to Frieda since
the show in Denver in September, I
she is a real Jewish mother, like me
became a full-time Frieda."
and my own mother."
For James, however, starting full
James grew up a cultural Jew and
time in September meant she had to
her mother came from an Orthodox
perform on the High. Holy Days.
family. "My mother, who was a won-
"I never did it before and it was
derful woman, felt women could do
anything, like Frieda. What's inter-
BORN To OVERBEAR on page 82

Special to the Jewish News



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