Angela Lansbury honored at Bucks County Playhouse

Author: , Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published: Oct 28 2013 10:07:53 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 28 2013 11:46:01 PM EDT
NEW HOPE, Pa. -

A legend of stage, screen, and television became the first-ever inductee into the Bucks County Playhouse's Hall of Fame. For Angela Lansbury, it was a homecoming almost 60 years in the making.

"Angela's time here was in 1952," said Jed Bernstein, the Playhouse's producing director. "She was at a pause in her movie career, and this was the first time she ever appeared on an American stage."

The 88 year-old actress is best-known for her long-running TV role on "Murder She Wrote." She's also won five Tony Awards, been nominated for three Academy Awards, and will receive a Lifetime Achievement Oscar next month.

For Allentown attorney Alison Wasserman, she was also a childhood role model.

"In law school, I just got totally addicted to the female detective being able to outsmart everybody around her," said Wasserman.

Fellow stage legends Tyne Daly and Christine Ebersole paid tribute to their friend Monday evening.

"They're honoring someone who's a theatrical legend, and we all hope to have her career," said Broadway performer Hunter Foster.

A nearly sold-out crowd packed in to see Lansbury.

"I always took my children to see Mrs. Potts in 'Beauty and the Beast,' and I think she is amazingly talented," said Sandy Kitain of Yardley.

The Playhouse created the Hall of Fame to honor its past as a celebrity hot spot.

"In the 40s and 50s and 60s, this playhouse was really one of the most important theatres in the United States," said Bernstein. "Everyone from Hollywood and New York came down and worked here."

In spite of its illustrious history, this night almost didn't happen. Just a few years ago, the theatre was in foreclosure and falling apart. In 2010, a non-profit group saved the Playhouse and painstakingly restored it. It reopened last year and now operates year-round.

"Theatre is doing well," said Bernstein. "Over 50 thousand people have been here already this year to see shows."

And this night, they came to see this theatre's biggest fan.