Just watched her again in "Little Shop of Horrors," and think she''s great. And I loved her in "Pushing Daisies" too. But she never had the career I thought she should have. Is she tough to work with? Any gossip or behind-the-scenes info about her?
Loved her in Pushing Daisies.
the buzz always was that she was a demanding crazy bitch
no facts to back that up though
She''s fulfills a very specific type that isn''t in very high demand, that''s all.
Her breakup from Ken Berry seemed to have broken her fragile spirit. She made a crusade out of being a ditched Hollywood wife and started a group, this, no doubt, alienated agents further.
Ellen Greene was never married to Ken Berry; that was Jackie Joseph.\
Greene was indeed a hot bag of crazy for many years. Seems to have settled down now, with a much younger husband who''s also her musical director. Still concertizes more than she acts, because her rep as a nutzo still follows her, especially in LA.
The Boys at WME
Hate her singing in Little Shop. Really awkward transition between chest voice and the light head voice she used for the character.
I think that''s what makes it so impressive, r6. She''s got that breathy, helium speaking voice and then belts out these songs with incredible power. It''s very theatrical, I suppose, but I love it.\
Plus, those tits could make me switch to women.
Different strokes, I guess.%0D\
But for me, the switch comes across as breaking character. %0D\
Maybe I wouldn''t mind if she didn''t mix the helium voice and chest voice when she''s singing.
She was big at Reno Sweeney and was going on to a recording career, but she had the same team as Bette Midler, and Bette put the kabosh on her career. \
It broke Ellen''s spirit and brought on the crazy.
I agree with R7 -- I thought she was fantastic in "Little Shop" and assumed she was destined for great things. But yeah, I''ve heard she was very, very difficult to work with.
It''s not just that she''s reported to be "difficult", the fact that she isn''t photogenic probably kept her from having much of a movie career.%0D\
Which worked in "Little Shop", it would have been wrong for her character to be too beautiful. But to be a movie star who competed with Michelle Pfeiffer for the big roles and best scripts? Not happening.
r6=musical theater no taste loser
She is very, VERY difficult. And unpleasant.
I friend was a PA at an LA theater were Ellen Greene was coming in to do a show. I am not sure why, but he was given the task of taking her luggage to her housing and unpack it. The suitcase was apparently filled with quite the collection dildos and vibrators.
Ellen is famously crazy. She probably should have never left NYC where she could been a poor man' Patti LuPone.
Was she in "Next Stop Greenwich Village"? She's good in that if it is she.
I bought a CD off her website years ago and in the liner notes she mentions some kind of breakdown, thanking her young boyfriend/musical director for bringing her out of it.
However, the cover sleeve of said Ellen Greene CD features a prominent photo of her boyfriend rather than her which makes me think she's still not all there.
She had a bit part in a recent episode of Hannibal.
As Jenny Diver, Ellen Greene [italic]made[/italic] the Lincoln Center version of The Threepenny Opera.
And yes, R16, she was in Next Stop, Greenwich Village.
I was sure she was going to be a big, big star. She is to me, no matter what anyone else thinks.
She is a very curious talent, vocally and otherwise. I think she could have been a bigger Broadway Star, and she is a fine actress.
Not a voice for recordings though. Streisand and Midler had nothing to worry about. Her voice is not only marred by that head/chest awkwardness, but by very poor singing technique. She is always scooping and sliding into notes. It is dramatic, and of course the Three Penny Opera allows for "special" singing. Let's just say that Ellen Greene would never be reviving "Funny Girl."
She is a novelty act, but from Dody Goodman to Yma Sumac there used to be a place for such people to succeed. I can see her starring in other show revivals, from "Born Yesterday" to "Guys and Dolls", and lots of straight acting parts. She is too old now for many things. She really was not able to capitalize when she had the chance. Little Shop of Horrors is of course a gem. Perfect in it's way.
Her voice is also very effective in the TV film she did, playing a fallen rock star, being hired to pretend to find Jesus with Richard Thomas as a Jim Baker type televangelist. It was a bizarre satire...does anyone remember the name? Not a great movie, but a great idea, with a wonderful performance from Ms. Greene.
Here she is in "Solomon Song."
FWIW, R22, I like Ellen much more than either Barbra or Bette.
Oops. Ellen Greene singing "Solomon Song" from The Threepenny Opera:
Brief excerpt from DL Summer Stock Memories thread:
"...Gary and I became an official couple when he was the PSM for an off-Broadway show called Why Hanna's Skirt Won't Stay Down, by Tom Eyen, at the Village Gate. Gary worked on several shows during our time together, including Rachel Lily Rosenblum, SeeSaw, The Ritz, Treemonisha, All Over Town, TruckLoad, Bad Habits, Sherlock Holmes, and Dude.
Gary always was attracted to difficult women like Bette Midler and Josephine Baker. He talked about working with Ellen Greene and how frightened and paranoid she was during the tryouts of Rachel Lily Rosenblum. In one scene, she had to fly across the stage sitting on a cloud. Gary would have to take her up to the rafters, strap her in the contraption, and literally push her onstage every night. He said she was a mess, totally out of her league, but very sweet. I saw him perform the same duties with character actress Helen Hanft as Hanna. He was really good at what he did.
One of Gary's first jobs was as an assistant to Jule Styne, the composer of many great Broadway scores. My favorite Gary/Jule Styne story involved a phone call to Irving Berlin. Gary thought that Mr. Berlin was deceased, and so when Jule asked him to call Irving, Gary thought that it was a joke. No joke, and in a few minutes, Mr. Berlin himself answered the phone. He was extremely hard of hearing at that time, and so the conversation that ensued was a lot of Jule yelling and repeating himself. Gary loved to imitate Mr. Berlin's heavy Yiddish accent and recreate that phone call in a routine I used to call HULLO, OIVING?"
The movie I mentioned was maybe called "Glory,Glory?" Here is Ellen in character, performing a rock video, bout keeping her baby, while aborting the reverends in "life." It was a wonderfully subversive story for the late eigthies. I think subversive is a good over all word for Ellen Greene. I like subversive. Her voice is much better utilized here, in my opinion. But let's not argue, r24.
I am not a big fan of Streisand or Midler either, was just referencing previous posts.
Greene was famously insecure and not in the Midler or Streisand begging for praise kind of way. I guess I am kind of a fan, but as a vocal coach I can't recommend her technique:)
I always confuse her with Helen Schneider of The Kick because they were both doing cabaret in NYC around the same era.
I am rather surprised how underwhelmed I am by her recording of Three Penny Opera. But then, I am also surprised how clunky the translation is(and I don't mean clunky in a any intentional "Brechtian" sense.) I loved that recording when I was younger. I imagine Ellen was wonderful to see in the role, but the performance does not translate to a studio recording. I wonder why she did not do the film (Mack the Knife). Of course the film is a steaming pile of shit; so, she dodged a bullet there.
Thanks, R26. I didn't like the song much -- too '80s movie-synth -- but it's nice to see John Boy.
I've never heard of the "Mack the Knife" movie.
And since you think her Threepenny Opera "does not translate to a studio recording," I might just love this movie about Mackie.
R30, It is Three Penny Opera done as if it is Oliver!, but actually I would love for you to see it and report back.
She has been sacked from numerous projects for being difficult. One of them being Heroes...she was supposed to be in many more episodes than she was
It was called "Glory, Glory," r22.
Wow, OP... I almost started this thread. This year, the BlueRay version of "Little Shop" came out. I rented "Next Stop Greenwich Village" just to see Ellen. She was great in it. (It's a fun movie about NYC and some great 70's shots of the city.)
I love Ellen's voice, and have her one solo CD. She does also have a "pop music" style, which is similar to Bette.
Crazy or not, I still can't imagine why she doesn't get more work.
I wonder if Megan Hilty could play Audrey.
Total nightmare. She guested with the DC gay men's chorus a few years back. In addition to giving direction to the chorus, paying to bring in her own musicians, and demanding a backup singer at the last minute, she was a disaster as a performer. She even forgot the lyrics to Suddenly Seymour at one performance, asking the audience to help her out.
She gave an unscripted speech to the audience at the final perfomance, thanking the chorus and directors and imploring the audience to support them. Why? Because they were nice to her. So...you should support the chorus because they fed Ellen Greene's ego. Right.
Sorry, but anyone impressed by Greene's singing in Threepenny Opera must have never heard the recording of Nina Simone singing (and playing) the same material.
The reason she doesnt work is because she is so difficult. She has been sacked from so many projects now that she has become infamous around LA. She was actually sacked from a show in London a couple of years back - and her agent waited until she was two minutes from going on stage to call and tell her...because he hated her so much...yikes!
A woman with her looks and speaking voice should thank her lucky stars she gets any acting work. That she is difficult is beyond my comprehension, because she'd be barely worth the trouble if she was sweet.
I worked on the show she got fired from - she was a horrible, horrible cruel woman.
[quote]I worked on the show she got fired from - she was a horrible, horrible cruel woman.
Will you please elaborate, R40?
It was in a response to a previous message mentioning the many projects she has been fired from, including a show in London a few years back. I was in the cast of that particular show and she was vile.
Totally self-centered both on stage and off and just utterly horrible. She would get on the floor and cry if she didnt get her own way (this is a woman in her sixties) and when the producer made a decision she didnt like she decided to take it out on the wardrobe mistress (a long standing co-worker of the producer) she launched into a tirade of verbal abuse in one of the local pubs at lunchtime.
It was devastatingly embarrassing, the entire pub turning their heads etc. And Greene was stood up lent over the table screaming horrific verbal abuse at this poor woman who had done nothing.
She then wouldn't speak to the producer, director or wardrobe mistress for the rest of the run. She would lock herself in her dressing room if they came backstage.
She is a despicable human being.
Here's my question, about Greene or any of these actors who sabotage their careers with their own craziness and difficulty to work with -
Are they not crazy when they're young? Or they're just better at hiding it, and at some point they stop hiding it? Sometimes I wonder how these people got hired for enough jobs to become prominent in the first place. I guess when somebody is already established and a "name", it's different... but when somebody like Ellen Greene is young and up-and-coming, wouldn't the word have been out among casting directors (who would warn directors and producers), "Ellen Greene is crazy and difficult and will be a nightmare to work with"?
Or when they're young and hungry, are they able to behave professionally and sanely, and it's only later that the insanity comes out? This goes for Betty Buckley or any others of this type as well.
Perhaps it's like the Criminal Minds creator said about Mandy Patinkin. As an employer, you weigh up whether the "unique" talent is worth the crazy. And when it's decided by enough employers that it's not worth it, the career goes south.
I think they often get more and more difficult with time. But in Greene's case she was reported to be a nightmare to begin with. She has worked as an actress yes but she has never really made the big time. If she has been fired from 'several' projects then who knows what she missed out on?
There are hundreds of actors you hear of who are 'difficult' but very few who are described as having no redeeming features at all. It would seem she falls into the latter.
In terms of casting people for their talent no actor is unable to be replaced, its a case of profile also. Greene has a low profile and so no matter how talented someone may think she is, it simply isnt worth casting her if she is so unpleasant. You may as well cast someone totally unknown and easy to work with. Greene wont bring much attention to a project.
But I suppose when she was younger and deemed to be 'up and coming' it was tolerated...