Something to Smile About

Margie Barron and Brooke Burke.

When I sat down with Dancing with the Stars co-host Brooke Burke, I asked the stunning mother of four if she’d be dressing up for Halloween.

“Of course, there’s a big costume carnival at my kids’ school, and I have to dress up. Last year I wore my jitter-bug costume from Dancing with the Stars,” said Burke, who was the winner of DWTS season seven. “It was a ’50s costume that wasn’t too revealing.”

That award-winning smile was the reason Burke and I got together. She is promoting oral health and has become the spokesperson for Oral-B and their efforts to help Operation Smile. That’s the international organization that provides free surgeries for children with cleft palates. On behalf of Oral-B, Burke presented a $25,000 check to Operation Smile.

“I’m really passionate about this organization and the people who donate time and money to help others,” she said. “I’m getting involved personally, and I’m hoping to take my 10-year-old daughter on a mission with Operation Smile. We’re researching it right now.”

The dedicated mom said that making sure her kids take care of their teeth is “very important in our household with our four kids. Brushing is one of those things that is not negotiable, simply because I rather spend more time at home than the dentist office. I love the Premium Power toothbrushes from Oral-B, and they are giving consumers a 50 percent rebate until the end of October. With Halloween candy and everything else, it’s important that kids get serious about brushing and taking care of their teeth.”

Among her other duties, Burke also hosts TV Land’s She’s Got the Look, a competition series about finding beautiful models over the age of 35.

“That show also proves a confident smile is a powerful asset at any age,” she said.

So who has the best smile on DWTS? Without hesitation she said host Tom Bergeron.

“We laugh so much behind the scenes. He’s so funny.”

Among the contestants, she mentioned, “Kyle Massey’s smile shows how much he’s enjoying himself. Rick Fox also has a smile that lights up the ballroom. And Florence Henderson’s smile is amazing. She’s a fun spunky lady and an inspiration to all of us.”

Cinderella is Coming, Panto-Style

Another DWTS favorite, pro-dancer Mark Ballas, is also a great choreographer, and Bonnie Lythgoe announced that Ballas will choreograph Cinderella for the upcoming stage extravaganza at NoHo’s El Portal Theatre. It’s being presented by Lythgoe Family Productions, the folks behind So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. As the director, Bonnie is putting her heart and soul into making Cinderella “a modern musical in the style of a traditional London panto!”

I’ve actually enjoyed a panto-style show, which is a holiday tradition in the UK. It’s a musical show that has wonderful pop songs woven into a fairytale with crazy characters.

“It’s wild, wacky and interactive,” Lythgoe told me at the final auditions to find Cinderella. The talent search took months, 700 girls auditioned, and finally 16-year-old Veronica Dunne from Malibu was selected by a panel of judges that included Lythgoe, Neil Patrick Harris, and Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter films), who will be playing Prince Charming. Also in the cast is Jerry Mathers (Leave It to Beaver) and Broadway’s Jennifer Leigh Warren as the Fairy Godmother.

It will be at the historic El Portal Theatre, November 27 to December 19, and most importantly, Bonnie said, “It’s a fun family show for kids two to 102.”

Currently at the El Portal is Edith Head, thanks to Susan Claassen’s brilliant portrayal. She becomes the fashion icon in A Conversation With Edith Head, playing through Oct. 24. I got to meet Miss Head when I first came to Hollywood in the ’70s, and I’ll never forget the intense personality of the celebrated designer-to-the-stars. Claassen delivers a powerful recreation of Head, for the admirers who weren’t as lucky as I was to meet the “designer original.”

One more thing to make you smile.