Actress Salome Jens certainly needs no introduction. She has starred on Broadway, in film and on television over the years creating a mystique that is original and totally alluring. The very sound of her voice holds me captive. She will open at Group rep in NoHo on January 27 in the classic Witness for the Prosecution. I caught up with her during her busy schedule, and here's what she had to say about the play and the new production.
Explain the choice of Witness for the Prosecution. Is it a favorite?
After Blonde Poison, that I did at Theatre 40 with director Jules (Aaron) a year ago, we talked about what we might want to do next and of course, we were looking at Long Day’s Journey Into Night with Mitch Ryan and a couple of other things that might be possible, as far as rights were concerned, and the possibility of a company and what was going on with Equity and all the things going on right now. And it did seem like this play was a possibility. It was suggested, first of all, by my brother-in-law Anthony Zerbe, and I suggested to Jules that he might want to read it ... and I read it again. Certainly it’s a lovely play, and it’s so beautifully written by Agatha Christie. It’s kind of a fun challenge for me. And certainly Jules was very excited about it as a possibility. So he took it to the people at GRT and they thought it was a terrific idea – or they certainly liked the idea, and they decided they wanted to produce it. So that’s how it came about.
This role suits you so well. Tell me about her.
As far as the role is concerned, it’s a bit of a challenge for me in the sense that – what is fun is that I certainly know what Marlene Dietrich did with it in the film. And that’s kind of a glamorous thought. However, it’s got to be what I think of it and from where I come from. And it’s also a challenge doing the Cockney girls and it’s fun and certainly a bit of a challenge for me because I’m no longer a spring chicken so, it’s a bit of a stretch ... and, you know, just a stretch going into the rehearsal process – and we’re doing it, and it’s fun, and it’s a lovely company.
So, the rehearsals have started and everything is going well?
Yes. Larry Eisenberg is really wonderful in the part of the interrogator Sir Wilfred, and of course Jules is such a wonderful director which is why I always have pleasure doing his plays. So I’m looking forward to having some fun with it now that we’ve got the technical things under our belt - which is certainly learning the text and being able to live in it fully so that’s what we’re about right now. It takes a lot of energy and we’re going for it.
Talk a little about your teaching and your love for it. Are you still doing the Graduate program at UCLA? Any TV or film projects on the horizon?Now, I’m still teaching and have my own classes. I’m not teaching at UCLA; I have my private classes. I have a little theater that I rent at the Atwater Village Theater Playhouse so that goes on, and I have my personal students that I’ve had for a time. I’ve got about 20 people in my class right now and, at the moment, I’m not doing anything new in film or television. But I’m always open to that happening, and I hope that it will, so until there’s more to report, I think that’s what I have to offer you darling. I look forward to seeing you opening night and I hope you’ll enjoy the show.
For info about the play and for tickets, go to: