Coward on the Coast: eNewsletter                         November 27, 2009

The NoŽl Coward Society

In This Issue
Alan Farley's Broadcast + Present Laughter
Star Quality Coming to L.A. on Jan. 23, 2010
Development of Star Quality
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For U.S. Membership Information
Mr. Ken Starrett
North American Director
The Noel Coward Society
49 W 68th St, Apt 1-R
New York, NY 10023
(212) 877-4259
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"Coward Entr'acte" Tonight - Friday, November 27 - on KALW Radio

My Word! & My Music!

Archived shows from the BBC vaults, plus a new "Noel Coward Entr'acte" between the programs, selected by Alan Farley. This weekly show airs at 8:00 PM (west-coast time) on Fridays.

8:00 PM PST
KALW 91.7 FM
or listen live on the web at:

Featured in this Issue
  • December 15, 2009 - Alan Farley's Annual "Birthday" Broadcast + Present Laughter
Every December for decades, KALW broadcaster Alan Farley has prepared a special tribute to Sir Noel in honor of his birthday (December 16th).  This year's broadcast will take place the day before Coward's birthday -- Tuesday, December 15th at 8:00 PM PST. 

At 9:00 PM, following Alan's program, KALW will present a recording by L.A. Theatre Works of Present Laughter.

  • January 23, 2010 - L.A. Opening of "Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward" 
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates Noel Coward with this fourth incarnation of the touring exhibition. On display January 23 through April 18, 2010 in the Academy's Fourth Floor Gallery in Beverly Hills.
KALW - December 15th Radio Shows: Alan Farley's Birthday Tribute to Coward + Present Laughter

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
8:00 - 11:00 PM PST
KALW 91.7 FM

KALW web site

Alan Farley: Interviews and Music
8:00 PM PST

John LahrAlan's birthday program will include an extended interview with John Lahr, author of Coward the Playwright; also  interviews with Emma Rice, writer and director of the Kneehigh Theatre's stage version of Brief Encounter; and Jackie Maxwell, Artistic Director of the Shaw Festival in Canada, which produced the complete  Tonight at 8:30 this year.

John Lahr

The program will also feature music from the recently re-issued recording: Noel Coward mad about the boy: Dick Hyman plays the music of Noel Coward.

" ... an early recording of Hyman taking on the music of Noel Coward, approaching each song with his characteristic subtlety and style. An exciting look at a jazz legend's early days."

Present Laughter by L.A. Theatre Works
9:00 PM PST

LATW Present LaughterThis performance -- starring Ian Ogilvy, Christina Pickles, Seymour Carolyn and Yeardley Smith -- was recorded in June 1996 by L.A. Theatre Works, which brings together the world's greatest actors to perform classic and contemporary plays, recorded in state-of-the-art sound quality.

Can't tune in to KALW on December 15th to hear this show? You can purchase a CD set or MP3 of the performance through the L.A. Theatre Works web site:

Present Laughter CD

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January 23, 2010 - L.A. Opening of Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward

Coward_faceThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Star Quality:
The World of
Noel Coward

The Academy's
Fourth Floor Gallery

8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211

January 23 - April 18, 2010

Best know for its spectacular annual presentation of the Academy Awards (the "OSCARSģ"), The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences features two public galleries in its world headquarters in Beverly Hills.

Gallery exhibits for 2009 ranged from "The Los Angeles Motion Picture Studio Centennial" to shows that focused on individuals: Fellini, Fairbanks, and Irving Thalberg (Hollywood's original "Boy Wonder") for his creation: the Hollywood Studio System, 1920-36.

Ringing in the New Year of 2010, "Star Quality" documents Coward's warm and enduring friendships with many of the 20th century's leading artists and film personalities, as well as his contributions to the film world through his onscreen appearances and the numerous film adaptations of his stage plays and other writing.  And, the exhibit will include Coward's Hollywood screen test by ... Irving Thalberg.

"Star Quality: The World of NoŽl Coward" is presented in association with the Noel Coward Foundation and the Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco.

Special events will be announced once details are available.

Public Hours:
Tuesday - Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.

Closed Mondays.

Admission is Free

For more information:
(310) 247-3600 web site

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A Brief Overview of the Development of
Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward
A touring exhibition, Star Quality has evolved and expanded as it moves from venue to venue.  Its four locations to date are: Ten Chimneys, the National Theatre, the Museum of Performance & Design, and the Academy's Fourth Floor Gallery.

Ten Chimneys: Genessee Depot, Wisconsin
In 2007,  at Ten Chimneys (a museum and National Historic Landmark in the magnificent country home of Coward's friends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne), Erika Kent and Ten Chimney's President Sean Malone developed the first exhibit with support from The Noel Coward Estate, the Noel Coward Foundation, and the Noel Coward Society.

Titled "Noel Coward in Ten: Ten Chimneys Presents Ten Views of the Master", the exhibit included "... ten dramatic panels that detail his iconic life and career ... complemented by music, video clips, and a handful of delightful personal artifacts." 

Ten Chimneys web page

The National Theatre: London

For the exhibition's run at London's National Theatre from January 21 through March 29, 2008, Curator Rosy Runciman customized and expanded the set of "delightful personal artifacts" and titled the show "Star Quality:  Aspects of NoŽl Coward." 

Drawing on the Coward archives and many other sources, Rosy added numerous items about Coward's life and career, including special memorabilia from relationships with Laurence Olivier and with theatre historians Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson.

The Noel Coward Estate has produced a 15-minute video to mark this exhibition (to play the video, click on the Tab labeled "Film and Video"):

Video from National Theatre, London 2008

The Museum of Performance and Design (MPD):  San Francisco, California

Curator Brad Rosenstein of the Museum of Performance & Design worked with Rosy to create an exhibition enriched by more detail, with an even larger set of artifacts (ranging from a makeup box with toupee to stunning costumes worn by Coward's leading ladies), plus items (such as posters advertising his Hollywood films and Broadway shows) that highlighted Coward's career in the United States.

Titled "Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward", the exhibition ran from April 16 to August 29, 2009, accompanied by almost-weekly special events, including film screenings and celebrity lectures (Stephen Ross and John Lahr) in addition to an opening-night gala with a cabaret followed by a stunning performance by San Francisco's historic Lamplighters Music Theatre in "Bitter Sweet in Concert", a new adaptation by Barry Day.

Star Quality at the MPD

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Fourth Floor Gallery: Beverly Hills, California

Waiting in the wings is the next incarnation of Star Quality, which will open eight weeks from now.

Special emphasis will be on Coward's work in film as writer, director, producer, composer, lyricist, star, etc.  (For Coward, there is always an et cetera ....)

With unparalleled access to the Coward Archives, and drawing on public and private collections in Europe and the U.S. as well as the Academy's own Margaret Herrick Library, the exhibition brings together dozens of rare photographs, drawings, paintings, original manuscripts, letters, sheet music, posters, playbills, set and costume designs, personal memorabilia, audio and video clips, and original costumes including several of the silk dressing gowns that became Coward's trademark.

For 2010, guest curators Brad and Rosy are collaborating with Ellen Harrington, the Academy's Director of Exhibitions and Special Events.  Even if you traveled to San Francisco to see the show at the MPD, (or, perhaps, especially if you traveled to San Francisco for the show and are now going through separation pains), plan on a trip to Beverly Hills.

Brad recently mentioned what I think of as his  "archeological digs", sifting through both walls and walls  of boxes -- the archives in the Academy's library -- and a highly-guarded treasure trove: one collector's home filled with unique theatrical and movie memorabilia. The result:  a number of exceedingly rare items, all with great Star Quality.

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Kathy Williams
U.S. West Coast Liaison
The Noel Coward Society