Rialto Note:
Jan Maxwell
13 February 2018

Jan Maxwell died. What a loss to the theatre!

I haven’t gone out much in the past couple of years, but I’d begun to notice that Ms Maxwell wasn’t showing up in any listings. I think that I’d have made an effort to see almost anything that she was in. 

Kathleen and I were unaware of Jan Maxwell when a law school classmate who grew up in Fargo, her home town, mentioned her to us. Our classmate never knew her, but two of her best friends did. At that time, I believe, Ms Maxwell was appearing in My Old Lady, the play by Israel Horovitz. So we went to see that, more enthusiastically than we might have done, because her costar, Siân Phillips, was already a fave. We became fans on the spot. Jan Maxwell had the presence, the élan, and the witchcraft of a great stage actor, and, if she wasn’t as famous as others in her class, it was become she was sometimes better than the show she was in. She was almost always more dangerous.  

Ben Brantley’s appreciation is a fine memorial. 

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