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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Elaine Stritch: SHOOT ME" - Opens in Theaters February 21st

"Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" is a ferocious, funny and poignant portrait of the
one-of-a-kind Broadway legend as she reaches her 87th year. 

For Further information:  In Theaters, Screenings, and Special Events

New Documentary Film Honors Alumna Elaine Stritch, BH'43, DN'45

Television viewers know actor Elaine Stritch as Alec Baldwin’s mother on the hit comedy, 30 Rock, but her television presence dates over four decades. Theatre and movie enthusiasts have followed her long career that has run the gamut from musicals and comedies to dramatic roles – earning her numerous awards and a vast following.
Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, a week after the documentary made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2013. Chiemi Karasawa, is the film’s producer/director, and spent a year documenting Elaine’s life and career. The move by Sundance Select will bring the film to a wider audience.
Reviews of the documentary have given Karasawa high praise for portraying a sensitive, multi-faceted glimpse into the life of Elaine Stritch – herself a complex, multi-faceted woman, whose life story has all the elements of great theatre. And it all began 87 years ago in Detroit, Michigan.
Born on Feb. 2, 1925 (some sources state 1926) and
 raised the youngest of three girls in Detroit. She was the daughter of a well-to-do rubber company executive and his homemaker wife. Elaine was the entertainer of her family – always telling stories and doing imitations to the delight of party guests. The born entertainer with an early desire for a glamorous lifestyle moved to New York City in 1944 – a year after her graduation from The Convent of the Sacred Heart on Lawrence Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, now located in Bloomfield Hills.
When she moved to New York, she continued her Sacred Heart education at the Duchesne Residence in Manhattan, followed by acting classes at the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research in New York.
With her enthusiastic assertiveness and drive, it wasn’t
 hard for Elaine to get work in regional and off-Broadway productions. And only two years after arriving in New York, Elaine Stritch made her Broadway debut. The rest, as they say, is history.

What followed were increasingly important roles in Broadway hits. A role in the drama, The Little Foxes; understudy to Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam during its Broadway run and the lead role in the National Tour. As her credits grew, so did her opportunities in television and film.
Elaine married British actor John Bay in 1972 and moved
 to London. Over the next 10 years, she starred in London stage productions and television sitcoms, earning a new audience of Elaine Stritch enthusiasts. On the big screen, she more than held her own in a dual role opposite Sir John Gielgud and Dirk Bogarde in Alain Resnais’ fascinating film Providence. Following the death of her husband in 1982, she moved back to New York City, where she began teaching at the Stella Adler Conservatory and had roles in regional productions around the country.
Once again, her roles on Broadway, American television and film were hers for the taking. Age never held her back. At 77, she created her one-woman success, Elaine Stritch at Liberty – taking the show from coast-to-coast to rave revues and sold-out appearances. Not only did she tell her story, she sang and recreated roles that had brought her fame over the decades.
It was the resilience and diverse talents of Elaine that brought Chiemi Karasawa to undertake the new documentary. Not only does it follow Elaine over a year and retrace her career, but also the film includes interviews with such luminaries as Alec Baldwin – who is also the film’s co-executive producer – Hal Prince, Nathan Lane, Tina Fey, the late James Gandolfini and others.
The show business “bible” Variety published this review
 of Karasawa’s achievement: “Painting a surprisingly tender, insulin-injections-and-all portrait of a star known for her brassy demeanor and Teflon exterior, this feature directing debut for vet docu producer Chiemi Karasawa (‘The Betrayal,’ ‘Tell Them Anything You Want’) should earn wide fest and ancillary exposure, plus limited theatrical, where it will prove catnip to the cabaret crowd and those entranced by the artistry of great performers.
Sacred Heart alums include many who have achieved
 fame and accolades as writers, actors, humanitarians, journalists, artists, business leaders, philanthropists, educators and religious. Each in her chosen field – whether overtly or covertly – is living the Sacred Heart mission of empowerment, service and leadership.
Elaine Stritch – a Sacred Heart girl who has touched the lives and hearts of millions. ###

Note:  The above article was originally written for the Summer 2013 issue of Esprit de Coeur Magazine.  The Duchesne Residence School of the Sacred Heart was located at 7 East 91st Street in New York (formerly the James A. and Florence Sloane Burden house, a 38-room mansion) and opened in 1940 in the building next to the Academy.  The school offered post-secondary instruction in social and secretarial skills as well as early childhood education.  The Duchesne Residence School at 91st Street closed in 1966, and the younger students moved into the space.  

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