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Bill Irwin, Clown Prince banner
Multimedia Presentation
Send in the Clown
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Signature Theatre Company: Bill Irwin
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1: Intro2: Essay3: Essay4: Essay5: Profiles

BILL IRWIN, CLOWN PRINCE premiered on December 15, 2004 and was rebroadcast on June 14, 2006 on PBS (check local listings).

Actor, playwright, director, choreographer, clown -- the remarkable Bill Irwin defies categorization. Over several decades, Irwin's diverse career has included original works for Broadway, roles in television and film, and his recent season in residence at New York's Signature Theatre Company. Now, BILL IRWIN, CLOWN PRINCE explores how Irwin creates his unique brand of theater with highlights from some of his most groundbreaking and entertaining work. Featured are sequences from the Tony Award®-winning productions of "Fool Moon" and "Largely New York," "The Regard of Flight," and "As Seen on TV"; Irwin's role alongside Steve Martin and Robin Williams in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot"; and "Mr. Fox: A Rumination," the story of the rise and fall of George Fox, America's first celebrity clown. Presenting interviews with Williams, Julie Taymor, Brendan Fraser, and film critic Richard Schickel, among others, and with a nod to some of the legends that have inspired Irwin, such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, the program is a feast for Irwin fans and a celebration of the career of one of the most beloved physical comedians working today.

This companion site features even more about the amazing talents and career of Bill Irwin. Author Ron Jenkins devoted an entire chapter to Irwin in the book ACROBATS OF THE SOUL, and the essay presents sections of Jenkins' work. Send in the Clown is a slideshow with selected highlights from Irwin's illustrious career. Cast and commentator profiles introduce the people who appear in the broadcast. Finally, the Dialogue section offers compelling interviews with Kimi Okada, a dancer and choreographer who began working with Irwin more than 30 years ago; James Houghton, founding artistic director of the Signature Theatre Company; and an up-close conversation with Bill Irwin himself.

Additional funding for this program was provided by the Irene Diamond Fund.

Top banner photos: A close-up of Bill Irwin in white-face; Irwin in "Mr. Fox: A Rumination"; a scene from "Mr. Fox"; Irwin as one of his many personas.

Bill Irwin

Bill Irwin puts his broom to good use in "The Harlequin Studies."

Bill Irwin

In "Mr. Fox: A Rumination," Irwin inhabited the character of a celebrity clown who went insane.

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This program is not available on VHS or DVD.

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