EXCLUSIVE: Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason will make her feature film writing and directing debut with The Grotto, set to begin production later this month.
The project was announced by Gleason’s 18 High Street Films, Ouroboros Entertainment and T42 Entertainment, the three partners on the production. Casting (by Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein and Josh Ropiequet) will be announced in early this month.
Gleason said in a statement, “As the reality of the pandemic dawned, I found myself in a state of high anxiety and a shared world grief. How to feel like life could move forward? Writing/directing this film was the answer for me. I wanted to continue to push myself creatively, tell a story on screen and join other women who have discovered their ‘second acts.”
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The film is described by the production as “a story where grief, laughter and music bring about small miracles.” The Grotto follows Alice, a 40-something woman, who uncovers her recently deceased fiancé’s secret past when she inherits part ownership of a forgotten nightclub in the Mojave Desert.
“My company mission is to foster an environment for women to collaborate and flourish. It’s an honor to work with Joanna Gleason to achieve that goal,” said Ouroboros Entertainment’s Laure Sudreau, who will finance and, together with T42 Entertainment’s Todd Shotz, Tim Kirkman, Kelly Woyan and Sean Akers, produce.
Gleason teamed up with T42 on her 2020 short film Morning Into Night after seeing T42’s feature Lazy Eye. “We jumped at this chance to collaborate again with Joanna Gleason. At every step in the process of bringing The Grotto to life, we have been inspired by the creative voice of this iconic Broadway star,” said T42 partner Shotz.
Gleason won the Tony Award for Best Actress/Musical in 1988 for the Sondheim classic Into The Woods, and has been nominated two other times (1985’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and 2005’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.) TV and film credits include The West Wing, The Affair, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Crimes & Misdemeanors, Boogie Nights and The Skeleton Twins, among others.
Gleason is repped by Shep Rosenman, Esq. of RLG LLP, Bill Veloric of Innovative Artists and Connie Tavel of Forward Entertainment.