It was hotter than blazes last weekend!

At this rate, folks will be wearing “bikinis” to their upcoming Halloween parties! I enjoyed two light n’lively productions in air conditioned theatres…and had a fun filled weekend!

Debbie Reynolds in Alive & Fabulous

Debbie Reynolds and Ruta Lee celebrate at the opening night Fund Raiser at the El Portal Theatre on Sept. 24.

Back by popular demand for the third consecutive year, at the gorgeous El Portal Theatre. A “star studded”, nostalgic and wildly entertaining evening was had by all! America’s down to earth Sweetheart, gave her “all” as usual. Perky, hilarious, Multi-talented, and still gorgeous…this iconic entertainer never disappoints! Offering one beloved classic song after another, with her longtime Musical Director Joey Singer on piano, Gerry Genuario on drums, Lenny Coroleo-Lighting and her son Todd Fisher on Sound…this is a blockbuster of a show! We enjoyed countless nostalgic personal stories and endearingly funny film clips of many of her famous co-stars through the years, and had a smile on our faces non–stop! A local gal who was named “Miss Burbank” in 1948, with a huge roster of awards and accolades to her credit…this bubbly (and slightly bawdy) Super Star has done it all! (…and loved it). Lucky for us, we went the night of the Thalians Red Carpet Celebrity Benefit Show, and the place was overflowing with “Celebs,” champagne, and delectably sinful food! Debbie and Ruta Lee founded The Thalians 55 years ago, (supporting mental health, from pediatrics to geriatrics) and have devoted their hearts to the cause ever since. We had a blast, mingling with such notables as George Chakiris, Nigel Lythgoe, Mitzi Gaynor, Fritz Coleman, Ruta Lee, Anne Jeffreys, Stephanie Powers…(and many more) while fully enjoying Miss Reynolds’ delightful performance. Only appearing for nine shows through October 3, you must be quick to cater her flamboyantly fabulous show! For tickets to see this legendary star of stage and screen…call (818) 508-4200 or (866) 811-4111. El Portal Mainstage, 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in the heart of NoHo.

Barefoot in the Park

Barefoot at the Park, now playing at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in NoHo.

A wild n’ wacky PG rated romantic comedy, this Neil Simon play has been a crowd pleaser for years. The original Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols in 1963, ran for 1,530 performances, and the 1967 film version, starred a young Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. A hilarious look at newly-wed life…and the inevitable transformation from “gooey-in-love” to marital adjustments and compromises…we meet Corie and Paul, after six days of weeded bliss. It is the day when they move into their own place together. A tiny fifth floor walk-up Brownstone flat in Manhattan, with plenty of challenging drawbacks…”real life” sets in! He, a stuffy strait-laced lawyer…and She, a life lovin’ free spirit…begin to really face married life and it’s many stumbling blocks. Directed with playful pizzazz by Stan Mazin, on Chris Winfields excellent set, a loveably looney cast keeps us laughing, non-stop! A spunky Melissa Soso plays Corie, the blushing bride with stars in her eyes…with wide-eyed innocence. Christian Kehoe plays Paul, her regimented hubby, with appropriately stuffy style. (…Especially impressive during his drunken shenanigans in the last act). Kathleen Taylor is a non-stop barrel of laughs as Corie’s loveably neurotic mother…and Robert Gallo is great fun as Victor, their kooky rooftop neighbor. In supporting roles, Mark Atha as the phone company installer, and Henry Holden as a delivery man…are both very funny! In repetitively riotous scenes…Every time anyone makes it up the five exhausting flights to the apartment…they nearly pass out! Setting the manic mood nicely…Kudos to Jazmin Lopez, (lighting), Steve Shaw, (sound design) and Diana Martin (Costumes). An endearingly humorous love story… this production is a joy! Running through October 31 at Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. For seats call (818) 700-4878.

Back next week with my review of Susan Claassens depiction of the legendary fashion diva Edith Head. Having owned a vintage clothing store myself for decades… (Hubba Hubba!), and having met Susan at the theatre on the weekend…I really look forward to her solo performance! Her “likeness” to Miss Head is uncanny!


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