The actress Uta Hagen fell from the stage of the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles last night during a preview performance of the play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks by Richard Alfieri, co-starring David Hyde-Pierce. A TheaterMania phone call to the UCLA Medical Center confirmed that Hagen was admitted to the emergency room there, then discharged.
An official statement issued by the Geffen said in part that Hagen "accidentally slipped off the stage during a scene change in the second act and fell into the audience area. The show was momentarily halted and two audience members who were doctors examined Ms. Hagen. She eventually stood up on her own accord and received a standing ovation from the audience. She walked backstage with the doctors and a brief intermission was called by the house manager. At that point, Ms. Hagen expressed her desire to continue with the show....but management of the Geffen Playhouse decided to take precautionary measures and have Ms. Hagen evaluated at U.C.L.A.'s Medical Center. She left U.C.L.A. last night and was given a clean bill of health."
Barbara Hoganson, Hagen's agent, told TheaterMania: "She's such a trouper, she's fine. She'll be back on stage tonight." A source at the Geffen said that artistic director Randall Arney and managing director Stephen Eich were present in the audience.
One of the American theater's most highly respected actresses and acting teachers, Hagen made her professional debut in 1937 at the age of 18 in the Eva Le Gallienne Hamlet in Dennis, Massachusetts. Her Broadway debut came in 1938, as Nina in The Sea Gull with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Hagen's major roles include Blanche DuBois in the national tour of A Streetcar Named Desire, Georgie Elgin in The Country Girl on Broadway (for which she received the Tony Award, the Drama Critics Award, and the Donaldson Award), and Martha in the original production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (her second Tony award-winning role). In recent years, Hagen has had major stage triumphs in the plays Mrs. Klein and Collected Stories. Her books Respect for Acting and A Challenge for the Actor are considered bibles among thespians.