Simply Streep is your premiere source on Meryl Streep's work on film, television and in the theatre - a career that has won her three Academy Awards and the praise to be one of the world's greatest working actresses. Created in 1999, we have built an extensive collection to discover Miss Streep's work through an archive of press articles, photos and video clips. Enjoy your stay.
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For those who believe that stars are born overnight only in old movies like “Stage Door” on the late, late show, let me present Meryl Streep. She is on the threshold of stardom. Last summer she was just another young actress desperately trying to do an audition for just about any theater producer who would sit still for two minutes. Miss Streep is currently playing the leading role of Isabella in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Measure For Measure” in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, where last week she starred, along with Paul Rudd, in a stunning presentation of “Henry V.” A little more than a year ago, Meryl was touring ski resorts with four other young acting aspirants playing before audiences often not much bigger than her pick-up band of players.
In this past year, Miss Streep has played leading roles in “Trelawny of the Wells” at Lincolm Center and Tennessee Williams’ “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” for the prestigious Phoenix Theatre and in this brief tune she has won both the Outer Circle Critics and the Theatre World awards and been nomimated for a Tony Award, all honors usually reserved for performers who have been in the profession far longer. How does Meryl Streep, with movie, television and Broadway show offers scattered about her, feel about her very rapid rise? Miss Streep got off her bicycle in Central Park to rehearse “Measure For Measure,” removed one of its wheels, sat down and thought about it. Meryl, incidentally, is a very thoughtful girl. Perhaps that’s why she’s so successful so early in life.
“How arbitrary the fates are,” said the. young actress. “I still have very talented friends ‘struggling to get anything to be seen in. A showcase play, anything. It’s all, I suppose, a matter of being somewhere -at the right time. A year ago, I was looking for any audition I could find. I answered a general audition at the New York Shakespeare Festival and after I did my thing, someone said to me: ‘We may have something for you.’ I said to myself, ‘Sure,’ and almost put it out of my mind. Then I was called back to do another audition. And there was Joe Papp, who has helped so many other actors, out there watching me. I got the job.” Miss Streep, a stunning blonde with almost porcelain like features, is from a small town in New Jersey, Bernardsville, and she insists she really had no set ideas about going into the theater. She is a Vassar girl who spent an exchange term at Dartmouth College. Dartmouth’s theater program helped propel her into show business.
After graduation, she and some pals formed a traveling theater company in Vermomt. In the summer, they played around Woodstock and hi the winters they got hi a van and played the ski resorts. “It was wonderful experience,” Meryl said. “We did Chekhov and if you want some acting experience, just try playing to some tired skiers hi a snowbound lodge. That crowd gets sleepy by 9 o’clock. One night we played hi Sugarbush to an audience of nine. There were five of us.” Miss Streep, who last year took a master’s degree in theater at Yale, wants to do so many different things in the theater. Money, she says, is not important. “The reward is the work — not the money,” says the actress. “All that scrambling around doesn’t mean anything if you’re not doing what you want to do.”
Gave Up Offer
Work has been her password this summer. Last week, for example, Meryl was rehearsing her role hi “Measure for measure,” starting at 9 in the morning, finishing at 6:30 p.m., then rushing by subway to Central Park to perform in “Henry V.” Before falling off to sleep, she busied herself re-reading “Hedda Gabler.” For this schedule, she gave up a movie offer and receives the same salary as a spear carrier in the Shakespeare plays. She loves the Central Park Shakespeare audiences, who incidentally, pay no money to see first class productions. w “Here we get the best possible audiences,” she said. “They come in here smiling. They’re here because they love Shakespeare and they love the theater. And they’re smart. Boy, are they smart. They’re not over-fed, like some of the Broadway crowd, and they’re not sluggish. And it’s ail so beautiful here out of doors. It’s summer and I don’t feel closed in.”
‘So Many Things’
There are so many things this star-upon-the-threshold wants to do. “I want to do some new plays,” she said. “Plays never done before so that no one can look on that stage and say, “She’s not doing that right. I saw so-andso do it at Stratford.’ and I want to play Rosalind hi ‘As You Like. It.’ And I want to play Lady Macbeth. No, I’m not too young for Lady MacB. She should be young. And I want to play Hedda Gabler. I get a little dizzy when I think of all the things I want to do.” Two things you can be sure of about Meryl Streep. If she makes it to Broadway, she will not change her name. (“What would I change it to?” she laughs. “And what’s wrong with it anyway?”) and if she makes it big on Broadway, she’ll still ride up to the stage door on her bike. Would she like to do a musical? “Maybe,” said Meryl Streep, almost reluctantly. And then, that fragile, porcelain face broke into a big smile. “That’s my secret dream.” “Would she like to go to Hollywood?” “Yeah?” said the actress. Like she knew something I didn’t know. Who knows? As Meryl Streep (and remember the name) puts it, “How arbitrary the fates are.”