By Don Grigware
A delicious holiday present is about to come your way with An Evening with Danny Kaye on the El Portal Mainstage for 2 shows only at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Dec. 31! Brian Childers, winner of the prestigious Helen Hayes Award for his performance, will once again star as the irrepressible Danny Kaye. Since 2000, Childers has been playing Kaye in several different shows. The first was Danny and Sylvia in Washington D. C., which re-opened a few years later at St. Luke’s Theatre in NYC to great acclaim and played 3 years. But, before this, there was the full cast musical The Kid from Brooklyn, a critically acclaimed version that became the most popular and highest grossing hit at the El Portal in the 2007-2008 season.
When I asked Childers how An Evening with Danny Kaye will be different from these other shows, he elated me with the scope of what will be presented. “The idea behind this show is based on Danny’s one-man concerts that he toured with for years. It is as if the audience is going to see Danny perform at the Palace, or at the Palladium. It is a bit more updated with some modern projections and video. The evening at its core is Danny performing all of his greatest hits. Of course the classics will be there: “Tchaikovsky,” “Minnie the Moocher,” “Ballin’ the Jack,” but I get to tackle songs I have always wanted to sing. Songs such as “The Gypsy Drinking Song” from The Inspector General, “The Lobby Number” from Up in Arms, and songs from White Christmas.”
Childers has hopes to tour the country with this show and eventually play the London Palladium where Danny Kaye was such an unqualified hit. What attracted him to the whole Danny Kaye story in the first place? “The material is just brilliant and a sheer pleasure for any actor to perform. Also, it’s very rare when an actor can connect to a performer and his work so deeply. I am privileged to have had Danny come into my life. He has certainly changed it for the better.”
Childers is thrilled to be returning to the El Portal after 5 years for this special New Year’s Eve engagement. “I love Pegge (Forrest) and Jay (Irwin) and in a way feel like I am coming back home.
“The new show is directed by Stephen Nachamie with music direction by Jeff Biering. I am thrilled to be working with both as they are very respected in the New York community. Stephen brings fresh eyes to something that I have been doing for so long. He makes me look at Danny’s performance with a renewed excitement.”
This is a performance you do not want to miss at 4 and 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 only with the electric Brian Childers as the one-of-a-kind phenomenon Danny Kaye! Price of tickets includes desserts, drinks, and plenty of surprises.
For tickets call (818) 508-4200 or elportaltheatre.com. USE the word HOLIDAY for a $10 Discount for all performances. El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in NoHo.