Kathleen Turner discusses latest role: cabaret star

2017-10-12 | San Francisco Chronicle

Oct. 12--Kathleen Turner, two-time Tony Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe Award winner, is touring with her new cabaret show, "Finding My Voice." The 63-year-old actress, whose eclectic film career has taken her from blockbusters like "Body Heat" and "Romancing the Stone" to cult favorites "Serial Mom" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (as the uncredited voice of Jessica Rabbit) continues to push herself creatively. For her latest performance, she pairs personal stories with some of her favorite songs, backed by a four-piece band led by Mark Janas. She spoke to us from her home in New York.

Q: How did Kathleen Turner become a cabaret act?

A: It's more of a show than a cabaret. It's not an evening of singing. I've never wanted to do just a singing thing. From the start, I've worked to create a whole show, and one of the things I love most is telling stories and making people laugh. So I thought I'd write something that could go with the songs. It's one of the greatest things I've done in terms of stage.

Q: You're careful not to call it a musical.

A: I hate musicals. I never understood why people stopped talking and started singing. These songs are about my experiences in work and what I learned by being a mother. One of my favorite songs I have always loved singing is "Since I Fell for You." And then there are songs about going on the road, like "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home," which is about the adventure of different people and different places.

Q: Do you worry that the songs you pick give away too much of your personal life?

A: I don't know. I tend to be rather frank. I don't think I offer too much, but I certainly don't hedge too much of what I say. There's only one song that's original because I was searching for a song to reflect my commitment and concern about Planned Parenthood.

Q: Do you like the way your voice has changed over time?

A: I use the Lauren Bacall joke, "I have a range from A to B." But I have a range from A to F. It's been a really exciting learning process. I had no idea. When I first came to New York 40 years ago, every female lead for actresses was soprano. Obviously, that was never going to be me. So I told them, "I don't sing, I act." It's something I never knew.

Q: Your career has been full of risks. Is this your latest?

A: In many ways, I assume some people find it hard to put my body of work together. It's intentionally reactionary. I got to go from "The Man With Two Brains" to "Romancing the Stone." You can be pretty sure whatever role I've done, the next one is going to be a complete contrast. I want to see what else I can learn. It would drive me crazy to do the same thing. You risk failure, but that's how you find out what you can do. You push yourself.

Aidin Vaziri is The San Francisco Chronicle's pop music critic. E-mail: avaziri@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @MusicSF

Kathleen Turner: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21. $42-$80. Feinstein's at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F. www.feinsteinsatthenikko.com