I went to see an old family friend perform Sunday, and I'm still drained from the depth and passion of the emotions that were turned loose from the stage. Bill Irwin is the latest local-boy-makes-good to return close enough to his roots that the hometown folks can see him work. Bill graduated from Corona del Mar High School in 1968, won a Tony last year as best actor in a play ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"), and can be seen in that role for one more week at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.
In between high school in Newport Beach and the scalding lines of Edward Albee's "Virginia Wolff," Bill paid his professional dues in almost every facet of writing, performing and choreographing. Just a few of the highlights of that journey were miming on the streets of San Francisco, a run as a clown in the Pickle Family Circus, a MacArthur Fellowship grant to develop his own creative work as both writer and performer, and a resume that fills almost two Playbill columns of professional achievement before Albee cast him against type to co-star with Kathleen Turner in "Virginia Wolff."