Gina Wilhelm Actress – Jane Merrow in Idaho
Jane Merrow has been acting for decades, having been on film and television. She finally returns to the stage.
Appearing as Emilia in Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, she’s one of the only actors to come to the festival from movies and TV.
Merrow, who comes from a theatrical family, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1968, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in “The Lion in Winter,” which starred Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn.
Several famous actors had their feature film premieres in that movie, including Nigel Terry, Timothy Dalton, and Anthony Hopkins.
She tells of her audition for the movie for Peter O’Toole, who hand picked the cast. During the audition, she read a scene from “Country Dance,” in which she was appearing at the time, with O’Toole.
She said the show had been getting great reviews and she thought things were going well in the audition, but they were outdoors, and she had long hair that was blowing in her face.
Suddenly O’Toole said, “I don’t believe a thing you’re saying.” Merrow says she froze.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m obviously never going to get this part.’ They called me back the next day and I was suitably humbled by the great O’Toole.”
At the end of “Comedy of Errors,” Emilia, played by Merrow, has a touching reunion with her husband Egeon. Each has believed the other dead for decades.
Often this scene is lost amongst the screwball zaniness of the rest of the play, but in this production, it has the weight of a woman returning to her home on stage at long last.