Did catch one event on Sunday night, but though I can tell you all about it, it was only a one night affair… so you won’t be able to see it.
Something for the Boys
A “one night only” Concert Reading Benefit at Theatre West. A wonderful and nostalgic time was had by all, as a packed house of showbiz luminaries honored the life, career and selfless accomplishments of Betty Garrett. A founding member of Theatre West 50 years ago, Betty passed away at 91 years old earlier this year. She starred in 13 Broadway shows, countless Theatre West productions, and was a TV regular on both All in the Family and Laverne & Shirley. A sparkling talent, humanitarian and much loved woman, she headed a “musical comedy workshop” here for decades. Proceeds from last night’s funfilled stage event will go to her continuing workshop, with plans for a yearly staged evening, to benefit up n’ coming theatrical artists. If you would like to help carry on Betty’s vision, and donate to this class and its students, call (323) 851-7977 or go to www.theatrewest.org. The evening’s entertaining concert reading, Something for the Boys was Betty’s own first Broadway musical debut in 1943, where she co-starred with Ethel Merman. A wartime story, it was penned by Cole Porter (music and lyrics) and Herbert and Dorothy Fields (book). The zany story revolves around three cousins who inherit army base adjacent land and run down down buildings in Texas, and their thwarted efforts to use the property in a way that would aid the wartime effort. Very funny… as love blooms, and opportunists interfere with their plan. Under the fun lovingly fleeting direction of
Brian O’Halloran (who also capably accompanied the show on piano), a large cast of noted Theatre West actors/singers, take us on a hilarious journey. In the lead role of Blossum, Barbara Minkus is a standout in Merman’s character. A fine actress and singer, her performance soared! Blossum has the fluttering “hots” for Army Sergeant Rocky (played by “sexy senior” Dan Keough), who is engaged to the snooty senator’s daughter (the lovely Lee Meriwether). As her two co-benefactors and goofy cousins, Devra Korwin as Chiquita and Andrew Parks as Harry (Garrett’s son) are a riot… and as Twitch, a salty old property squatter, Beau Bridges is priceless! In a family affair… four perky young ladies play the “chorus roles” with fresh spirit! Emily Bridges (Beau’s daughter), Caitlin Gallogly (daughter of T.W. Exec. Director John), Laura Wolf, and a mesmerizing Madison Clair Parks… (Betty’s granddaughter) in her Gram’s original Broadway role. Highlight moment: In Act Two, Madison heartwrenchingly sings, “I’m in Love with a Soldier Boy,” which was personally written by Cole Porter especially for Betty to perform. The remainder of the loony cast includes: Andre Landzaat, Elliot Schwartz, Anthony Gruppuso, Barbara Mallory and David P. Johnson. Every one of them were having a ball! This was a funny, heartwarming and fabulous night out. Wish you could’ve been there! A fellow “Gemini” (May 23), Betty was blessed with a love of life! Creative, caring, chatty and full of love and inspiration… To know her was to love her!
Mark Your Calendar A Good House for a Killing
I ran into the quirky veteran actor Marvin Kaplan. He has written and will star in this new musical comedy for only two performances at Beverly Garland’s Theatre in the Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, featuring a whacky cast, I’m sure. His press info states: “Take one drunken Shakespearian actor; add one cultured mayor’s wife, set in a Wild West barroom filled with cowboys and gamblers plotting to take a potshot at him…” Sounds like fun… and there’s just no one quite like Marv! To reserve seats, call (213) 683-3422 or visit www.cartaudio.org.
Get out the sunscreen folks… Summer is striking with a vengeance! Why not beat the heat this summer by catching some live L.A. theatrical offerings in air conditioned theatres?