Monday, October 17, 2005




October 12, 2005

Contact:  Cathy Johnson/Susan Claassen




Event:                          The Invisible Theatre Presents

                                    A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD

                                    Starring Susan Claassen as Edith Head


                                    An Evening of Wit, Wisdom and a Whisper of Gossip!  


Date/Time:                  Friday, November 4, 2005 at 8:00 PM 

                                    Saturday, November 5, 2005 at 8:00 PM 

                                    Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 2:00 PM 

                                    Sunday, November 6, 2005 at 7:30 PM 


Place:                          The Invisible Theatre

                                    1400 N. First Avenue (at Drachman)


Tickets:                       $22 per person

                                    Discounts available for groups of 10 or more.

                                    Call (520) 882-9721 for reservations and information.    

The Invisible Theatre presents Susan Claassen in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen. It is based on the book Edith Head’s Hollywood (E.P. Dutton, Inc. 1983) by Edith Head and Paddy Calistro. A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD, to be presented November 4-6, is a behind-the-scenes feast of great movie lore and delicious stories that provides insight into Hollywood’s legendary costume designer, Edith Head. In her six decades of costume design, she worked on 1,131 motion pictures, dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood, received thirty-five Academy Award® nominations and won an unprecedented eight Oscars.® Hear Miss Head tell her own story, which is as fascinating as the history of the film industry itself. It is a story filled with humor, frustration and above all glamour. This diva of design helped to define glamour in the most glamorous place in the world--Hollywood!

Edith Head spent more than sixty years as a motion picture costume designer. Of those, forty-four years were spent at Paramount Studios. There she worked with the most famous actors of the time, from Mae West and Clara Bow to Grace Kelly, Anne Baxter, Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis. When Paramount failed to renew her contract in 1967, Alfred Hitchcock stepped in and Ms. Head was invited to join Universal Studios. At Universal she costumed Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting and won the first-ever Oscar
® for a film without a female lead. Her eight Academy Awards® celebrated her artistry in The Heiress (her first Oscar®), Samson & Delilah, All About Eve, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Facts of Life and The Sting.  Edith Head died in October, 1981, still under contract to Universal Studios, having just completed working on the Steve Martin film, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

Susan Claassen was inspired to write and star in the show while watching a television biography of Ms. Head. The petite, dark-haired actress immediately imagined herself playing Edith Head, “…a perfect fit,” as Claassen describes it.  “I discovered that not only do I bear a striking resemblance to Edith Head, but we share the same love for clothes and fashion,” Claassen notes.  Much of the dialogue in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD comes directly from the famed designer. When she was asked to write the authorized posthumous autobiography, Edith Head’s Hollywood, Ms. Calistro acquired more than thirteen hours of recollections recorded by Edith Head, which she and Ms. Claassen painstakingly reviewed to gather the remarkable “Edithisms”-- as Ms. Head referred to her own sayings--that abound in the show. In addition, Claassen and Calistro collected insights from Hollywood insiders who knew Ms. Head best: costume designer Bob Mackie, who once worked Ms. Head's sketch artist; her dear friend Edie Wasserman, wife of the late Universal Studio head Lew Wasserman; and Art Linkletter, award-winning host of House Party, the daytime television show of the 1950s that brought Edith Head into the homes of America.

A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD, based on the play SKETCHES–EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD by Paddy Calistro, Carol Calkins and Susan Claassen, is produced through special arrangement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Motion Picture and Television Fund. The original play, SKETCHES–EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD, premiered to critical acclaim and a sold-out extended run at the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2002.  It went on to play to SRO audiences in Key West, Florida. A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD has been performed at benefits for the Chicago Historical Society, the Invisible Theatre and also at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the Arizona Women’s Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona.  2006 dates include a residency at Zeum in San Francisco.
SUSAN CLAASSEN is celebrating her thirty-first anniversary with the Invisible Theatre (IT) and has been a resident of Tucson since 1972. As Managing Artistic Director, she has produced more than 335 productions and directed more than fifty. Susan has been a member of Actors Equity Association (the professional actors’ union) since 1969. Some of her most memorable roles have been Bella in LOST IN YONKERS, Alice B. Toklas in GERTRUDE STEIN AND A COMPANION, Hannah in CROSSING DELANCEY, Shirley in SHIRLEY VALENTINE and Trudy in THE SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE. In addition to her work with the Invisible Theatre she has been a consultant and director for the Waterfront Playhouse and The Red Barn Theatre in Key West, Florida, and directed I WON’T DANCE at New York’s famed Rainbow and Stars Cabaret and St. Paul's prestigious Ordway Theatre. Susan is a national board member of PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY–A Constitutional Liberties Organization. She is the recipient of the 1985 Governor’s Award for Women Who Create, the 1993 Humanitarian Torch Award for her efforts on behalf of people living with AIDS and a 1996 Distinguished Service Award from the State Federation for Exceptional Children for her commitment to arts education for special populations. Susan was the 1999 City of Hope “Spirit of Life” recipient, and performs as a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was recently selected as one of Tucson Lifestyle’s 10 Most Admired Women.

PADDY CALISTRO is considered one of the leading authorities on Edith Head and is the

co-author of Edith Head's posthumous autobiography Edith Head’s Hollywood.  The only authorized biography of the world’s most famous costume designer, the book was the first of several books written by Paddy Calistro. She was selected as Ms. Head’s official biographer based on her experience as a fashion journalist. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times in the fashion and beauty department, Paddy wrote the weekly “Looks” column featured in the Los Angeles Times Magazine for four years as well as contributing several feature articles to the daily Times and its weekly magazine. She also was the West Coast reporter for Allure from its inception. Additionally, she contributed to Glamour, Mademoiselle, House Beautiful, Elle,

Four Seasons Magazine and frequently to Fitness and Los Angeles. For more than a decade Paddy was the lead interior design writer for Los Angeles magazine, coordinating and writing sections on trends in home design.  She was the editor of American Style, a bilingual fashion magazine sold in Mexico and South America. The co-founder of Angel City Press, an independent book publishing company based in Santa Monica, she currently serves as its publisher and editor-in-chief.

Call the Invisible Theatre at (520) 882-9721, Tuesday through Friday from 10-4 for reservations and ticket information or stop by the office at 1400 N. First Avenue (at Drachman).  Ticket cost is $22.  Discounts for groups of ten or more are available.  VISA, M/C and AmEx are accepted.




Edith Head's goddaughter. Melissa Gel, will be traveling to Tucson to intend A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD.  Melissa Galt, a national Atlanta based lifestyle designer. speaker and author, is the daughter of Academy Award-winning film, television and stage star Anne Baxter and great granddaughter of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “Melissa contacted me last year when her publicist discovered I was doing a show about her 'Aunt Edie’”  says Susan Claassen. “It was a remarkable connection and we have been looking forward to get together ever since." Edith Head and Anne Baxter first became friends during the preparation and filming of the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic The Ten Commandments. Their friendship lasted until Edith's death in 1981.

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