A child actor from one of television’s most iconic shows is now all grown up and is reprising the role of the mother from another beloved sitcom.
A child actor from one of television’s most iconic shows is now all grown up and is reprising the role of the mother from another beloved sitcom for a theatrical production of Family Ties. Eve Plumb, who played Jan Brady in TV classic The Brady Bunch, is playing Elyse Keaton as the Human Race Theatre presents the world premiere of Family Ties at The Loft, June 1 – 25.
Though from different era’s, both the Brady’s and the Keaton’s, promoted strong family values. Plumb feels that one of the biggest positives from this rendition of Family Ties is its focus on family. “I compare the show to going to a really nice family reunion where nobody gets drunk or throws potato salad at each other, but are glad to see one another,” she said.
The show is set in 2010, and while running for Congress, Alex P. Keaton, returns to his parents’ home, along with Mallory and Jennifer. The show provides a glimpse of what has happened with the Keaton’s over the last twenty years, and also some flashbacks to some memorable moments (from past episodes), which will be recreated on stage. Audience members will feel as if they are inside the Keaton’s home, in Columbus, as the stage has been made to match the original studio set.
A creative challenge for the cast is to determine what the well-known characters would be like so many years after they were last seen. They also don’t want to be impersonators, but make the characters their own, while still resembling their expected personas. In her preparations for the role, Plumb has watched a lot of Family Ties and noticed the need to change her voice to sound more like Elyse. “I speak in a low voice and she has a high voice, almost like a falsetto. I’ve been working on that and hope that I get it right,” said Plumb. (Plumb appeared in Little Women a 1978 miniseries with Meredith Baxter, who played Elyse)
Through the years Plumb has been a part of several theatrical productions, including Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Same Time, Next Year; and Unbroken Circle. She was also in last year’s televised production of Grease: Live. Plumb feels that all the time and effort that’s put into stage work is often overlooked by the audience. “There are a lot of very long ten hour days put in for what is seen as a two or three hour show. People assume if you are in theatre that you have time for a part-time job, but it is very time consuming and physically demanding,” she said.
Whenever Plumb is not working on her latest role, she spends the majority of her time painting. Painting is not considered a break for Plumb, as it’s an activity that she also puts much mental and physical effort into in order to create the perfect image. “It’s not relaxing like floating in a tube down the river,” Plumb laughed.
At The Loft, Plumb will be painting the portrait of a strong, loving mother in her performance as Elyse in Family Ties. The girl who once had a hair of gold grew up to be a Keaton, and is excited about the development. “It’s nice to have a different theme song,” she said.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.