After turns on Broadway and in Hollywood, award-winning actress Kathleen Turner is bringing her one-night-only show, “Finding My Voice,” to Brooklyn next month. After premiering the show at Town Hall in Manhattan last December, the iconic deep-voiced actor is headed Kingsborough Community College’s Performing Arts Center to perform her recently-updated singing infused autobiographical monologue on Nov. 5.
“I love to tell stories and I love people,” said Turner in an exclusive with Brooklyn Paper. “That’s my job and my joy.”
The stage and screen star takes the audience on a journey from the early years of her life growing up abroad in Canada, Cuba, Venezuela and England, as the daughter of U.S. Foreign Service officer; through her Hollywood and Broadway career; her struggle with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and the most recent and pressing issues in her agenda as an advocate.
“It’s about me, of course. It’s about my life, my beliefs and it gets fairly political because I am and always have been an activist,” Turner said.
Since age 19, she has worked with Planned Parenthood of America, a women’s pro-choice organization of which she eventually became chairperson.
“I do love sticking it to an audience sometimes,” joked Turner, while explaining she has made adjustments to the show since the last run, before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “I wrote, ‘Who the hell do they think they are?’ But every single time I do it, it comes out, who the fuck do they think they are? And I usually have a couple people get up and go.”
Accompanied by musical director Mark Janas on the piano, Turner exposes her mostly unknown singing skills with a baritone voice. Unlike in musicals, the songs of “Finding My Voice” are not integrated into the narrative, but they follow Turner’s stories throughout the show to “highlight the lessons” of her story.
“The truth was, I never wanted to get sidelined into musicals, but I can sing,” she said. “I don’t really enjoy musicals. I’ve never understood why people stop talking and start singing. Just keep talking.”
After an outstanding career, the actor, known for many roles including Peggy Sue in “Peggy Sue Got Married” and voicing the cartoon sex symbol Jessica Rabbit, still finds performing “Finding My Voice” challenging.
“It’s tough not to work with a script that someone has given me,” she said. “I usually do my thing, my research, my work into becoming someone else in the sense that a character is a kind of shield between me and the audience. But I have taken that down and it has been rather frightening. I’m asking them to like me, not the person I’m playing, and if they reject me, it will hurt.”
Kathleen Turner performs “Finding My Voice” at the Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College on Friday, Nov. 5, 2022, at 7pm. Find more information and purchase tickets here.