"I was just realizing the difference when I first came to Broadway more than 40 years ago in 1952 and 40 years before that in 1912, when there were so many melodramas on Broadway," Harris continued. "Who dreamed the theater would ever be what it was in 1952 back in 1912? So, too, I've seen a great may changes in the theater. It's so amazing--and exciting! But we do know one sure thing: that the theater will never die. The patient, sometimes called 'The Fabulous Invalid,' is not going to die."
Harris continues, "This is the first time I've been back on Broadway since A Delicate Balance a few years ago, and I think the theater district, and all of Times Square, has become a much friendlier place than ten or 20 years ago. But to me, Broadway has always had more a 'village' feeling than London's West End. The theaters here are clustered together, the staff and many people in the business know each other--it's like a little village all to itself, whereas in London everything is more spread out."
I ask her if she has any idea where Broadway's headed in the next 50 years? "No, I don't think so," Harris replies. "Just today, I saw a little brownstone [townhouse], looking very charming with its little steps going up, and right beside it this huge new steel and glass skyscraper. And I thought, little did the people who originally built this house know that in such a [comparatively] short time there would be this thing which looks like it was from Mars!"
She shows me a write-up of her daughter, Jennifer Ehle, which was just published in the London Sunday Times. Did Harris discourage her daughter from being in the theater? "No, I didn't," she said. "She just came to me one day when she was 14 and said, 'I want to do it.' I said 'Why?' And she said, 'Why wouldn't I? You have so much fun!'