Browning, Susan 1941–
Browning, Susan 1941–
PERSONAL: Born February 25, 1941, in Baldwin, NY. Education: Attended Pennsylvania State University.
CAREER: Actress, singer, and lyricist. Appeared with Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA, 1965–66. Principal stage appearances include: (Broadway debut) as Elizabeth Pringle, Love and Kisses, 1963; Meg, Jo, 1964; Collision Course, 1968; April, Company, 1970; Wednesday November, Shelter, 1973; Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, 1973; Southern Comfort, Whiskey, 1973; Phebe, As You Like It, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1973; Kate, The Removalists, 1974; Thieves, 1974; Agnes Sorel, Goodtime Charley, 1975; Tree, The Butterfingers Angel, 1975; Chapter Two, 1977; Overruled, 1982; Village Wooing, 1982; Maisie, Miss Liberty, 1983; Cyrano de Bergerac, 1984; Hang on to Me, 1984; Widow Douglas and Sally Phelps, Big River, 1985–87; Mrs. Peachum, The Beggar's Opera, 1988; Eileen, The March on Russia, 1990; April, Company, 1993; Mrs. Wade, Wonderful Town, 1994; and Gertrude Stein, Lucky in the Rain, 1997. Film appearances include: Midge Percy, The World according to Garp, Warner Brothers, 1982; Samantha, The Money Pit, Universal, 1986; choir nun, Sister Act, Buena Vista, 1992; choir nun, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Buena Vista, 1993; and secretary, Sabrina, Paramount, 1995. Television appearances include: Pat Gimple, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (series), syndicated, 1976–77; The Quinns (television movie), 1977; and episodic appearances in The Wild, Wild West, 1966; and Law & Order, NBC, 1990. Also appeared in First Ladies' Diaries.
MEMBER: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
AWARDS, HONORS: Theatre World Award, 1970, for Company; Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award nomination for best actress, 1970, for Company; Tony Award nomination for best supporting actress, 1975, for Goodtime Charley; Emmy Award nomination for best actress, for First Ladies' Diaries.
(Author of lyrics, with others) Company: A Musical Comedy, Columbia (New York, NY), 1970.
SIDELIGHTS: A singer and actress in stage, television, and movie productions, Susan Browning's career has spanned the Broadway stage, major motion pictures, and cult television programs. Born in Baldwin, New York, in 1941, Browning made her Broadway stage debut in 1963's Love and Kisses. By 1997 Browning had appeared in more than two dozen stage productions, including Big River, As You Like It, Lucky in the Rain, The March on Russia, and Cyrano de Bergerac. She also contributed lyrics to the Broadway musical Company.
Markland Taylor, reviewing Lucky in the Rain in Variety, called it "a goofy spoof of every American-in-Paris tale" juxtaposing a variety of "expatriate stars of the 1927 Paris Scene" such as Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Isadora Duncan, and Josephine Baker against a variety of fictional characters working for a newspaper. Browning played Gertrude Stein, and Taylor commented that the play "is at its best when at its surreal silliest, starting with Gertrude Stein … and a petite Alice B. Toklas … soft-shoeing to 'On the Sunny Side of the Street.'"
In The March on Russia, Browning portrays the eldest daughter of a middle-class English working family that is gathering to celebrate the parents' sixtieth wedding anniversary. The play begins with what seems like little more than the mundane and boring events of day to day life, but the family's turbulent history is gradually exposed. As part of the ensemble cast, Browning and the other actors "bring forth minute revelations that become almost too painful to bear," commented Victor Gluck in Back Stage. "The older daughter, played by Browning, hides her dissatisfaction behind a facade of cheerfulness and pleasantries," Gluck noted, while the other characters conceal their real selves behind equally fabricated veneers of cynicism, desperation, and inward-gazing. Gluck concluded that the play is "a delicacy for those who wish to see how theatre reflects life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 4, Gale Group (Detroit, MI), 1987.
Back Stage, November 30, 1990, Victor Gluck, review of The March on Russia, p. 41.
Variety, September 1, 19897, Markland Taylor, review of Lucky in the Rain, p. 82.
Internet Broadway Database, http://www.ibdb.com/ (July 27, 2004), "Susan Browning."
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (August 13, 2004), "Susan Browning."
SouthCoast Today Online, http://www.s-t.com/ (August 20, 2004), "Old Jewels Shine in New Setting."