Is it a coincidence that Marilyn Monroe and the El Portal Theatre inNorth Hollywoodwere both born in the same year, 1926? Is it a coincidence that Marilyn (Norma Jeane Baker) lived on Odessa Street in Van Nuys and attended the Lankershim Elementary School in 1937 for her 6th grade — and concurrently spent a good deal of time at the El Portal Theatre with her guardian at the movies?
Aug. 5 marks perhaps one of the most important dates in Hollywoodfilm history: It is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. This year there have been exhibits in Hamburg, Germany; San Paulo, Brazil; Tokyo, Japan; Palm Springs; and right here in Hollywood– and then of course there is Smash, the new NBC TV hit and the Academy Award nominated movie My Week with Marilyn.
Highlighting the week is the performance of Marilyn: Forever Blonde playing at El Portal Theatre Aug. 2–5. Sunny Thompson stars as the woman who went from foster parents to the heights of stardom. Her performance brings out the complexity of a woman who never found true love, but was simultaneously the biggest sex symbol on the planet. Fan club members from around the world will be attending these performances at the historic El Portal.
Shortly before her untimely death Marilyn Monroe posed for what would be her final photo session. Marilyn: Forever Blonde is a recreation of what might have been Marilyn’s last chance to tell her own story in her own words.
Conceived by award winning producer and writer Greg Thompson, the script has been painstakingly researched from hundreds of quotes from Marilyn herself and the result is two hours in Marilyn’s presence. Sunny and director Stephanie Shine (Seattle Shakespeare Company) researched and rehearsed for 14 months.
This quote from the Bostonpaper, Edge, says it all:
“Sunny Thompson simply is Marilyn. I know that Marilyn Monroe died 50 years ago. I know that. But … No one is going to convince me that the woman that I spent two hours watching on stage last night was not Marilyn Monroe. I saw Marilyn Monroe! Sunny Thompson simply is Marilyn in a performance that is funny, endearing, and totally Marilyn. Extraordinary!”
Writer/producer Greg Thompson says “Marilyn: Forever Blonde is the story of the woman behind the legend. A sweet, ambitious, young starlet that fame turned into a tormented, manipulated, unstable woman who left us much too soon with only thoughts of what might have been.”
Following the Sunday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m. performance, notedHollywoodpublicist and producer Michael Selsman will speak and answer questions from the audience about his work with Marilyn Monroe. Mr. Selsman was Marilyn’s final publicist, working with her on photo shoots and movie negotiations. As her persona l representative, he was summoned to her apartment by police after discovering that she had passed away during the early morning hours of Aug. 5, 1962.
This is a show everyone should see: Aug. 2 & 3 at 8 p.m.; Aug. 4 at 3 & 8 p.m.; and August 5 at 3 p.m. Call the El Portal Theatre for tickets at (818) 508-4200.
Special Renaming Ceremony
On Saturday, Aug. 4, at 6:30 p.m., a special ribbon cutting and renaming ceremony of the El Portal’s smaller space, currently known as the Forum Theatre, will be renamed permanently The Monroe Forum Theatre in honor of Marilyn and her childhood relationship with the theatre and with NoHo.