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A Conversation with Edith Head Returns to Southern California after Hit Run at the Odyssey

from Rosalind Marmel LA Correspondent

Starring Susan Claassen in her O! Nominated Role
“Susan Claassen is simply amazing as Edith Head!
It’s as if I picked up the phone, called Edith and asked her to return to Paramount for one last, great chat.”
Randall Thropp, Paramount Production Archives

Los Angeles – “A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD,” written by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen and will run as a guest production at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse Thursdays through Sundays November 9 – December 1, 2012. She returns to Southern California after a hit run last season at the Odyssey Theatre. Susan Claassen has received an O! Nomination for Lead Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Edith Head in “A Conversation with Edith Head.” Based on EDITH HEAD’S HOLLYWOOD by Edith Head & Paddy Calistro, “A Conversation With Edith Head” is a feast of delicious behind-the-scenes stories about Hollywood’s greatest stars that provide an intimate portrait of Hollywood’s legendary costume designer. In her six decades of costume design, Edith Head worked on over eleven hundred films; dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood; received 35 Academy Award® nominations, and won an unprecedented eight Oscars®.

For more about the show and Susan Claassen visit: Tickets are $40.00 and can be purchased online at and by calling (626) 356 7529. Nov. 8 preview $30, opening night gala $50
Edith Head’s story is as fascinating as the history of the film industry itself, 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 was a Hollywood costume designer for more than 60 years. 44 of those years were spent at Paramount Studios, where she worked with the most famous actors of the time, from Mae West and Clara Bow to Grace Kelly, 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 the Steve Martin film, “Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid”.
Edith survived the boy’s club of Hollywood to enjoy a 60-year career, during which she worked on 1,131 films, earned 35 Oscar nominations and won eight. She stitched Dorothy Lamour into her sarong; put Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in kilts in “The Road to Bali”; created Bette Davis’ glamorous Margo Channing; made teenage girls swoon over Elizabeth Taylor’s white ball gown in “A Place in the Sun”; dressed Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious”, Grace Kelly in “To Catch A Thief”, Kim Novak in “Vertigo”, Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and Sean Connery in “The Man Who Would Be King”. “A Conversation With Edith Head” gives the inside scoop on Edith and the Golden Age of Hollywood.”
Susan Claassen was inspired to write and star in “A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD” while watching a TV biography of Ms. Head. Claassen said: “Not only do I bear a striking resemblance to Edith, but we share the same love for clothes and fashion. There are many myths about her but she was a discreet, tenacious personality. She knew whose hips needed clever disguising and made sure those legendary stars always looked the part.”
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, Paddy Calistro acquired more than 13 hours of recollections recorded by Edith Head – including her own snippy “Edithisms” as Ms. Head referred to her own sayings, such as: "I hate modesty, don't you?" and "Good clothes are not a matter of good luck." The show also features insights from Hollywood insiders who knew Ms. Head best: costume designer Bob Mackie, who once worked as Ms. Head's sketch artist; her dear friend the late Edie Wasserman, wife of the former Universal Studio head Lew Wasserman, and Art Linkletter, award-winning host of TV’s “House Party”, who brought Edith Head into the homes of America. Edith would stroll through the studio audience with Linkletter, offering brutally critical fashion, diet and grooming advice - all this half a century before the current mania for on-screen makeovers. "Go on a diet!" she would instruct an overweight woman, while instantly making her look ten pounds slimmer by pulling her shirt out of her trousers, whipping a belt around her middle and swapping her cheap gold jewelry for her own signature pearls. Young fans of Pixar’s “The Incredibles” will recognized the superhero outfitter Edna Mode as an affectionate tribute to the legendary Hollywood costume designer.
“A Conversation With Edith Head” premiered at The Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona in January, 2002 and was subsequently presented in Chicago; Key West, FLA; at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring, MD; Hartford, CT; San Francisco, CA; Nantucket, MA, San Diego, CA, Houston, TX and Scottsdale, AZ, as well as in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, London’s West End and a ‘sold out’ engagement at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. (Out of the 2,000 shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe only 200 were officially designated ‘Sold Out’ engagements.)
Susan Claassen was recently selected as one of Arizona’s forty-eight most intriguing women as part of Arizona’s centennial. Some of Susan’s 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 Steve Ross in “I Won’t Dance” at New York’s famed Rainbow and Stars Cabaret and St. Paul's prestigious Ordway Theatre. As Managing Artistic Director of The Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona, Susan has produced more than 380 productions and directed more than 90. She is the recipient of 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’s “Spirit of Life” recipient (as was Edith Head in 1976), 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 and was honored by The Jewish Federation in 2009 as one of Tucson’s 13 extraordinary women. She is featured in the book HOW TO BE A WORKING ACTOR by Mari Henry & Lynne Rogers. Susan is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, Costume Society of America and has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1969.
Co-author Paddy Calistro is one of the leading authorities on the life and work of Edith Head and is the co-author of Edith Head's posthumous autobiography, EDITH HEAD’S HOLLYWOOD. She was selected as Ms. Head’s official biographer based on her experience as a fashion journalist. A former fashion and beauty writer for the Los Angeles Times, Paddy wrote the weekly “Looks” column in the LA Times Magazine for four years. She was the West Coast reporter for Allure and has written for Glamour, Mademoiselle, House Beautiful, Elle, Four Seasons Magazine, Fitness and Los Angeles Magazine. For more than a decade Paddy was the lead interior design writer for LA Magazine, and was also 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. The 25th anniversary edition of EDITH HEAD’S HOLLYWOOD has recently been reissued and will be available for purchase at all performances of “A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD.”
“A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD” at the Carrie Hamilton Theatre is part of a fall tour, which includes: Tucson - October 11 through 14; Coronado – October 27; Santa Barbara – November 2 through 4; Pasadena – November 8 through December 1; and Costa Mesa – December 4 through 5. For additional information about “A Conversation With Edith Head” go to
              Thursday, Nov 8 at 8:00 pm
              Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, November 9 through Saturday, December 1
              There will be no performances on Thursday, November 22 or Friday, November 23
              Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm
              Saturdays at 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm  
              Sundays at 2:00 pm and Sunday, November 25 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm
PRICES:       Opening Night Gala Performance $50.00
               General Admission - $40.00   
               Preview tickets - $30.00
TICKETS:     available 24/7
               (626) 356 7529
                 Group Sales: tour[email protected]
Box Office Hours: Tuesdays and Sundays 1:00 – 6:00 pm PST  Wednesdays – Saturdays 1:00 – 8:00 pm PST



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