Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Tough Cookie We Love: Now on Broadway, the Sopranos' Edie Falco Takes the Fifth about Her Gay Best Friend and Her Lesbian Fans. (Theater)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Tough Cookie We Love: Now on Broadway, the Sopranos' Edie Falco Takes the Fifth about Her Gay Best Friend and Her Lesbian Fans. (Theater)

Article excerpt

To hear Edie Falco tell it, her rapid Sopranos-fueled rise to fame has been just a bit dizzying. When Meryl Streep casually complimented her work in a face-to-face encounter, Falco recalls, "I almost passed out. I was knock-kneed. I didn't think that The Sopranos was going to make it into that conversation." But she has no plans to mop up on the "Italian wives and mother roles" she's routinely offered. Instead, she's heading back to her old turf, the theater--with a star turn on Broadway opposite Stanley Tucci in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, the hardscrabble hetero love story by out playwright Terrence McNally. The limited run wraps up in late December, just in time for Falco to return to playing Mafia wife Carmela for The Sopranos' next season.

McNally is not Falco's only gay admirer: For years one of her best buds has been filmmaker Eric Mendelsohn. "Edie and I went to the same college, State University of New York, Purchase," writes her longtime friend in a charming E-mail interview. "She did some two-person play and I went to see it, and I remember pointing to the stage and saying `Her! That one there! That's the most talented person in this entire school.' Truth be told, I was pointing at the other actress, who, as it turns out, never really amounted to much. Edie was pretty good too, though."

Mendelsohn would later cast Falco as a cluelessly optimistic wanna-be actor in his 1999 Sundance prize-winner, Judy Berlin. Asked if the film's treatment of her character and that of its leading man was in any way based on his real-life friendship with Falco, Mendelsohn demurs: "Not in the least. …

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