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Summer stock/regional theater performers who are really good

We had a Sally Struthers thread; everyone who saw her in "Hello Dolly" and "Grease" said she was terrific.

Same with Jo Anne Worley if I remember.

Who else have you gone to see (maybe as a lark or a joke) who turned out to be quite good?

by Anonymousreply 175June 8, 2024 8:54 PM

Whom did Sally Struthers play in "Grease"? Patty Simcox?

by Anonymousreply 1August 9, 2023 3:37 AM

Marie Osmond in The Sound of Music

by Anonymousreply 2August 9, 2023 3:37 AM

[quote]Whom did Sally Struthers play in "Grease"? Patty Simcox?

The principal — Eve Arden character.

by Anonymousreply 3August 9, 2023 3:39 AM

Who did Sally play in Hello Dolly....the stagecoach?

by Anonymousreply 4August 9, 2023 4:00 AM

It's just not the same since the Mr. Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater shut down.

by Anonymousreply 5August 9, 2023 4:16 PM

Miss Susan Anton was surprisingly good in DL's favorite musical THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG.

by Anonymousreply 6May 31, 2024 2:50 AM

Just today, I found out that Andrea Martin headlined Once Upon a Mattress for the Kenley Players in 1984. I'm willing to bet she did excellently.

by Anonymousreply 7May 31, 2024 2:59 AM

There was once a very memorable thread about someone being Ann Miller's dresser in regional/summer stock theater.

I cannot remember the circumstances, but I do remember the great money quote she gave: "Oh, honey, just do what everybody else does, and PUSH!"

by Anonymousreply 8May 31, 2024 3:25 AM

It's a shame we no longer have summer stock touring packages. Imagine seeing Leslie Uggams play Sally Bowles, Barbara Eden as Maria von Trapp and Eddie Mekka play Tevye. I'm sure they were all great.

by Anonymousreply 9May 31, 2024 3:34 AM

John Janes in Promises Promises!

by Anonymousreply 10May 31, 2024 3:35 AM

One time someone on DL posted a list from a summer stock company of all the celebrities doing shows one summer in the 80s, and it was so fascinating--things like Jo Ann Worley in "Mame" that you would want to see even if it was terrible, just because you knew it would make such a great story later. or Tom Wopat in "Man of La Mancha," or Debbie Gibson in "Funny Girl"--stuff like that.

As for repertory: I know I would have killed to have seen Bonnie Franklin as Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" in Pittsburgh. "DAMMIT, GEORGE! DAMMIT, HONEY!"

by Anonymousreply 11May 31, 2024 4:10 AM

If you have the time.......

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by Anonymousreply 12May 31, 2024 4:16 AM

We saw JoAnn Worley in “Call Me Madame” 25 years ago. She was ok.

Fred Willard was also in the show - not good.

by Anonymousreply 13May 31, 2024 4:20 AM

r12: Oh, to have seen the 5th Dimension in "Ain't Misbehavin'"!

by Anonymousreply 14May 31, 2024 4:22 AM


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by Anonymousreply 15May 31, 2024 4:27 AM

I always hoped to see Didi Conn in "Evita" but, alas, twas not to be.

by Anonymousreply 16May 31, 2024 4:29 AM

You should a seen Ruth Buzzi, R16!

by Anonymousreply 17May 31, 2024 4:37 AM

r15, that is pure gold.

Pam Dawber in "My Fair Lady"!

Barry Williams & Maxene Andrews in "Pippin"!

by Anonymousreply 18May 31, 2024 4:38 AM

Lea Thompson as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I walked in expecting a shitshow, but she gave a fine performance.

by Anonymousreply 19May 31, 2024 6:44 AM

There was a church/theatre near my Brooklyn apartment in the 1980s that was on the Chitlin' Circuit. I saw many fantastic productions, though I can't give you names of star performers.

by Anonymousreply 20May 31, 2024 6:59 AM

I would have seen this at the Dayton playhouse in 1981 - Barefoot in the Park with Robert Urich

by Anonymousreply 21May 31, 2024 7:02 AM

Andrea Martin has won two Tony awards so I am not surprised she was good. Just watch how funny and versatile she was on SCTV.

by Anonymousreply 22May 31, 2024 8:17 AM

Paul Lynde interviewed by local Kenley Player newscaster Bette Rogge in 1971/ Plaza Suite.

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by Anonymousreply 23May 31, 2024 8:18 AM

R15. Love this! Shari Lewis in Funny Girl! Did Lambchop play Eddie Ryan?

by Anonymousreply 24May 31, 2024 1:36 PM

Sally Struthers is back in Ogunquit this summer in Crazy For You.

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by Anonymousreply 25May 31, 2024 1:51 PM

Could summer stock be possible again? Even for a couple of theaters? That Kenley Players roster made me wish I could see each and every one of their shows, good, bad, indifferent. One I seriously would have loved to see would have been Mickey Rooney in Sugar.

by Anonymousreply 26May 31, 2024 7:21 PM

Is Ogunquit playhouse considered summer stock?

by Anonymousreply 27May 31, 2024 7:25 PM

Shari was a song and dance girl, r24.

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by Anonymousreply 28May 31, 2024 7:37 PM

Has-beens get by on voice work. Touring companies are a thing of the past.

by Anonymousreply 29May 31, 2024 7:41 PM

R212 Kitty Carlisle in Mame. I would have paid Taylor Swift prices to see that.

by Anonymousreply 30May 31, 2024 8:00 PM

R12, Billy Crystal in CABARET! He was the Emcee and Donna McKechnie (not mentioned in the ad) was Sally Bowles.

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by Anonymousreply 31May 31, 2024 8:09 PM

Pam Dawber had a very nice voice. She had Mabel in the first touring company of Pirates after the Linda Ronstadt version. Juliet Prowse was in it so often so I'm guessing she was not only a pro but well liked. Joey Heatherton only made it to Can Can, which sounds about right. Was Kenley Players where Zsa Zsa got fired from 40 Carats when she insisted a mentally handicapped person be thrown out of the theater?

by Anonymousreply 32May 31, 2024 8:18 PM

Mabel Dawber

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by Anonymousreply 33May 31, 2024 8:22 PM

Tom Jones at a hotel in Lake Tahoe. We went expecting old and faded talent but he was amazing!

by Anonymousreply 34May 31, 2024 8:54 PM

Tom Jones? I didn't know he acted. What role did he play in which play, r34?

by Anonymousreply 35May 31, 2024 9:19 PM


by Anonymousreply 36May 31, 2024 9:21 PM

I saw John Ritter in "The Rainmaker" in the late 1970s. That same summer I saw Jane Powell in Mame.

Ritter was surprisingly good.

by Anonymousreply 37May 31, 2024 9:38 PM

r34 That's not summer stock or regional theater. That's a showroom/nightclub show.

by Anonymousreply 38May 31, 2024 9:42 PM


Falmouth Playhouse 1975

THE HOT L BALTIMORE with Jan Sterling

THE GOOD DOCTOR with Theodore Bikel

YOU NEVER KNOW with Kitty Carlisle, Bob Wright, Joe Masiell, Bernice Massi, Peter Bartlett

THE TWO OF US with Lynn Redgrave, John Tillinger

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC with Patrice Munsel

FOR MY LAST NUMBER with Paul Sorvino

MY FAT FRIEND with John Astin, Patty Duke Astin

SABRINA FAIR with Robert Horton, Katherine Houghton, Sam Levene, Russell Nype, Maureen O'Sullivan

IN PRAISE OF LOVE with Kim Hunter, Edward Mulhare, Walter Abel

Falmouth Playhouse 1976

ZORBA with Theodore Bikel, Taina Elg, Jana Robbins,

THE MOUSETRAP with David McCallum, Carole Shelley, Kurt Kasznar

JACQUES BREL with Elly Stone, Joe Masiell

BUS STOP with John Travolta, Anita Gillette, Ellen Travolta, Ann Travolta, Brian Dennehy

CHARLEY'S AUNT with Donald O'Connor


SEND ME NO FLOWERS with Van Johnson

GODSPELL with Catherine Cox

HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES with Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson

by Anonymousreply 39May 31, 2024 10:16 PM

Whatever happened to Catherine Cox? i haven't seen her since BABY back in 1984. She had a terrific voice.

by Anonymousreply 40May 31, 2024 10:20 PM

THREE Travoltas in a single production of “Bus Stop”, R32?

That has to be some sort of record.

by Anonymousreply 41May 31, 2024 10:30 PM

Oops! I meant R39.


by Anonymousreply 42May 31, 2024 10:31 PM

R34 here. my bad. But Tom was great

by Anonymousreply 43May 31, 2024 10:31 PM

R41 Travolta only agreed to do Bus Stop if his two sisters could also be in the production. He was helping out the family.

FYI, this production of BUS STOP was directed by the notorious Harold J. Kennedy. He also appeared in the production, and his boyfriend, Skip Lynch, was the Stage Manager. He talks about the experience of doing the show and the surprise popularity in his book NO PICKLES NO PERFORMANCE! It's worth a read.

by Anonymousreply 44May 31, 2024 10:40 PM

The pickle tasted fine to me, r44.

by Anonymousreply 45May 31, 2024 10:44 PM

Re My Fat Friend with Patty Duke: Patty was hospitalized during the tour and they reached out to Lynn Redgrave who had originated the role on Broadway but was unavailable. However, she gave them the phone number of her understudy for that production who was available and stepped in for Patty.

by Anonymousreply 46May 31, 2024 10:46 PM

[quote]she gave them the phone number of her understudy for that production

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by Anonymousreply 47May 31, 2024 10:52 PM

Dana Plato in Cabaret.

by Anonymousreply 48May 31, 2024 11:02 PM

I wish Paul Lynde had done a Kenley "Death of a Salesman."

by Anonymousreply 49May 31, 2024 11:07 PM

Anybody go to the Dennis Playhouse on the Cape? They seem to get some good talent there.

by Anonymousreply 50May 31, 2024 11:09 PM

Kenley famously would take out parts of plays that he figured didn't advance the plot.

by Anonymousreply 51May 31, 2024 11:15 PM

I grew up near a Kenley Theatre and saw a several shows in my teens. I saw my first A Little Night Music there with Eva Gabor as Desiree and Ethel Barrymore Colt as Madame Armfeldt. My little gay brain nearly exploded when I heard Colt (or rather, Sondheim) rhyme 'raisins' with 'liaisons.' I think my mother thought I was having a stroke.

by Anonymousreply 52May 31, 2024 11:16 PM

R52 how was Eva?

by Anonymousreply 53May 31, 2024 11:20 PM

Eva also did Applause in summer stock. Shame she never got to play Rose in Gypsy.

by Anonymousreply 54May 31, 2024 11:22 PM

Eva was fine, R53. She almost forget a lyric to Send in the Clowns but covered for it well. Those Kenley shows were usually solid B+ productions (to my teenage mind). They didn't have the Broadway stars or sets, but I don't remember any of the stars embarrassing themselves and the sets/costumes were close to the B'way designs if not actual copies. A pity there's so little summer stock any longer. It's good for actors, designers, stage crew and audiences.

by Anonymousreply 55May 31, 2024 11:29 PM

Joanne Worley was one of the best Mama Roses I have seen. Melody Top Theater in Milwaukee. She was fun at the closing night party too!

by Anonymousreply 56May 31, 2024 11:37 PM

Carole Cook as Mame in Australia.

by Anonymousreply 57May 31, 2024 11:48 PM

Dawber *was* surprisingly good--better than Gibb, for sure.

That tempo, though. Is it always performed that slowly? I used to play G&S songs on the piano and always took it a little peppier than that.

by Anonymousreply 58June 1, 2024 1:51 AM

[quote]SEND ME NO FLOWERS with Van Johnson

Is it a requirement that the role be cast with a gay man?

by Anonymousreply 59June 1, 2024 1:52 AM

I saw Gary Collins and Sue Ane Langdon in "Same Time, Next Year" at the Sacramento Music Circus.

by Anonymousreply 60June 1, 2024 1:53 AM

I wonder who Sue Ane's Velma was at r12.

by Anonymousreply 61June 1, 2024 2:16 AM

Cloris Leachman Driving Miss Daisy Marie Osmond The King and I RIchard Harris Camelot Edie McClurg Daddy's Dying Who's Got The Will

by Anonymousreply 62June 1, 2024 2:21 AM

Sandy Dennis was a great Billie Dawn.

by Anonymousreply 63June 1, 2024 2:28 AM

This wasn’t Summer Stock - Reprise at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA. September 1997 “Finian’s Rainbow” Andrea Marcovicci as Sharon, Rex Smith as Woody, Malcom Gets as OG, Biff Macguire as Finian (he played Woody for years) and Robert Mandan as The Senator. …… I remember not one thing about that production. I had really been looking forward to it. My dad died unexpectedly a few days before - I don’t know why I still went to the show - I was still pretty stunned. It is a shame - I would LOVE to see that cast in that show - well not now but then, Did anyone here happen to see that production?

by Anonymousreply 64June 1, 2024 2:43 AM

R63 - I bet that Sandy Dennis was a great Billie? Do you remember who else was in the cast?

by Anonymousreply 65June 1, 2024 2:45 AM

Another good book about star summer stock, of a slightly lower level and from just slightly earlier than the "No Pickle, No Performance" era, is "Broadway in a Barn" by Charlotte Harmon. She writes about a nightmare of a star she doesn't name who is pretty clearly Tallulah.

There's very little true summer stock in 2024, it's hard to even think of a half dozen in America: where a core set of performers rehearse one show in the daytime and perform another at night, across a season that takes up most of the summer. Often the housing would be in walking distance of the theatre so performers wouldn't need a car. On a two week stock cycle, usually for musicals, there were two weeks for rehearsal and the third week was half technical rehearsals, and the opening and first week of the run. Each play was then performed for a two or three week run, using "stock" sets and costumes, often not built explicitly for that specific production. So the sets would be the same flats rearranged, repainted, and redressed over and over again and rented drops. Working in the round it would be just furniture. The costumes would be bought or rented and altered, and not designed and built in a shop from sketches. Usually performances would start Memorial Day weekend and end Labor Day weekend. For a journeyman performer, a stock gig that could be counted on would be a godsend, as it would get enough weeks to qualify for Actors Equity union benefits and keep them working, with fresh credits on their resume each year, often the newest hits, and as much as four months of solid work.

More frequently for plays than for musicals, there was also one week stock. First week was rehearsal, Tuesday to Sunday with Monday off. Second week was one or two days of tech and then opening and the first week of the run. That's only six rehearsal days before tech, and those were only partial rehearsal days on shows where there were matinee and evening performances.

There are still summer theatres, but they don't do true stock, they job in for each show, or keep people for just a show or two instead of a full season.

There also used to be package stock, where a core group of leads would spend the summer traveling with the same show and pick up a local chorus and bit part actors at each venue, who had been put into the show by the advance director who was working one venue ahead of where the show was currently playing.

by Anonymousreply 66June 1, 2024 2:49 AM

r65 - Gary Merrill

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by Anonymousreply 67June 1, 2024 3:12 AM

R66 Thank you for the great post! I just looked up Broadway in a Barn - I will have to order it. I also read up on Charlotte Harmon - I am surprised that I had never her of her before! The whole idea of Summer Stock is so romantic to me! I used to love pulling the old boxes of Theatre Arts Magazine at the library. My favorite part was the back portion full of ads and notices for auditions for upcoming summer stock seasons.

by Anonymousreply 68June 1, 2024 3:14 AM

As r66 and Billy Boy have posted, there was once something called "packaged shows" that rehearsed in NYC and then went from one summer theater to another, all on the same Straw Hat Circuit with the same cast and costumes in tact but using the new sets that each theater provided, though strictly designed to certain specifications that allowed the actors' blocking to remain the same.

An advance man would show up a couple of weeks before the show did to tell everyone about the show's needs, like props, star preferences, etc. Each show would have just a brief afternoon run-through and then open that night. 6 days and 8 shows later they moved on to the next theater.

I was an apprentice at the Ogunquit Playhouse in 1970 and the shows we did were:

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM starring George Goble

THE FANTASTICKS starring DL heart throb John Gavin

BLITHE SPIRIT starring Noel Harrison and soap star Elizabeth Hubbard

RELATIVELY SPEAKING (Brit sex farce) starring Joan Fontaine

THE BEST OF FRIENDS (a new play that was never heard from again) starring Shirley Booth

CAROUSEL starring no one famous (the show was the star)

THE TENDER TRAP starring William Shatner

BOEING, BOEING starring Van Johnson

THE SECRETARY BIRD (another Brit sex farce) starring Edward Mulhare and Inga Swenson

I DO, I DO starring Patrice Munsel (billed alone above the title) and another DL fave Kerwin Matthews

It was exhausting. But great fun, learned so much, lots of crazy memories.

by Anonymousreply 69June 1, 2024 3:33 AM

^ Any good stories?

by Anonymousreply 70June 1, 2024 3:36 AM

Not exactly summer stock but LA reprise did Follies (what else) with the disastrous miscasting of Patty Duke as Phyllis. She tried very hard but her Could I Leave You is pretty hard to take.

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by Anonymousreply 71June 1, 2024 4:16 AM

R79 - How fun! please share some stories about that season. Especially Van Johnson and Shirley Booth - actually everyone!

by Anonymousreply 72June 1, 2024 4:42 AM

Don't forget summer stock's siblings: Theater in the Round and Dinner Theater, which were sometimes combined. My aunts would drag the uncles to Dinner Theater. It was usually light comedy, sometimes with music. Nothing elaborate or music heavy like Carousel. No stunt casting like Paul Lynde as a leading man. A lot of Neil Simon sitcom-ish stuff.

by Anonymousreply 73June 1, 2024 11:53 AM

Cruise ship musicals are probably the new summer stock and they seem to trend toward musicals. A colleague's daughter is doing this. I forget the washed-up person who stars (maybe Debbie Allen), but it sounds like a good training ground.

Legit repertoire theaters still seem alive and well, but of course they don't feature the Patrice Musels and Ruta Lees of the world.

by Anonymousreply 74June 1, 2024 12:15 PM

R25- The queen 👸 on the left looks quite


by Anonymousreply 75June 1, 2024 12:40 PM

My first musical was a production of "Mame" starring Edie Adams.

My grandmother and I got all dressed up and my mom dropped us off at the Cape Cod Melody Tent.

Now I was a kid and had no idea what I was in for. Gram knew just what her gay grandson should see.

The show was magical for a 9 year old but probably pretty bad to anybody who knew better.

When we got picked up, I could sing all the songs, Gram was pleased as punch and my mom knew Pandoras' box had been opened.

I hope others here had similar experiences.

by Anonymousreply 76June 1, 2024 1:02 PM

Every summer we used to go weekly to sit in the free seats at the Muny.

by Anonymousreply 77June 1, 2024 1:16 PM

R74, I can promise ya it's not Debbie Allen. She's got money to spare as a Shonda Rimes director/executive producer for Grey's Anatomy, aside from performing for the past few decades she's had this whole other career in television that started with showrunning and directing A Different World.

R68, found Broadway in a Barn online, if you don't mind reading it on screen (it's not downloadable).

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by Anonymousreply 78June 1, 2024 1:58 PM

Jones Beach Theatre presented a musical every summer. I saw Fiddler and Oklahoma there. Constance Towers and John Cullum were frequent headliners and Lucie Arnaz did AGYG there. I remember Christine Andreas as Hodel in Fiddler and, a few years later, I got to see her play Eliza in MFL on Broadway. I might be mistaken but I remember the actors speaking into standing mics and the big musical numbers were pre recorded. Since it was an outdoor theatre performances were sometimes cancelled mid show if it started to rain.

by Anonymousreply 79June 1, 2024 2:01 PM

r64 I saw that "Finian's" and loved it. IIRC, there was a last-minute replacement for someone and they were not off-book yet. But it was a long time ago and I'm old. But "Finian's" is one of my favorite shows (the first musical I ever saw--high school production in 1968.)

I miss Reprise.

by Anonymousreply 80June 1, 2024 2:01 PM

I've never been out there R79 and still to this day don't get how Jones Beach wasn't disappointing R79. If the joy of Broadway is being in the room, proximity to the stars performing live, wasn't that lessened when there was a literal moat between the stage and the audience?

by Anonymousreply 81June 1, 2024 2:56 PM

Did they make the moat work for them?

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by Anonymousreply 82June 1, 2024 3:03 PM

R79 when I was a boy I used to accompany my grandma and her old lady friends to Jones Beach summer theatre.

by Anonymousreply 83June 1, 2024 3:45 PM

R81. Usually the big musical numbers were on the mainstage which, yes, was separated from the audience by a moat. However, smaller sets were pulled in by tugboats and those sets were close to the audience. Was it weird to see Anatevka in a beach setting? Of course! But it was still theatre and still magical and the crowd loved it.

by Anonymousreply 84June 1, 2024 3:47 PM

Plus Guy Lombardo!

by Anonymousreply 85June 1, 2024 3:50 PM

I FORGOT ABOUT GUY! I think we all stood and sang God Bless America before the show started and there was dancing in a tent afterwards with Guy's orchestra.

by Anonymousreply 86June 1, 2024 3:54 PM

I can't remember if it was really Guy himself or just the Guy Lombardo Orchestra. I just checked - he died in 1977. I guess I went multiple times in the early 70s?

by Anonymousreply 87June 1, 2024 3:56 PM

I passed on the chance to see Barbara Eden in 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' in the early 90s when she starred in a local production at a summer theater (the theater owner had a connection to her somehow,). I heard she was hilarious in the role, and had the audience in the palm of her hands. The reviews were great. They tried to extend her run for additional weeks, but it didn't work out. I regret I missed that.

by Anonymousreply 88June 1, 2024 4:08 PM

[quote]Was it weird to see Anatevka in a beach setting? Of course! But it was still theatre and still magical and the crowd loved it.

I'm sure it leant a certain poignancy to the whole pogrom thingy.

by Anonymousreply 89June 1, 2024 4:19 PM

R78 - thank you for posting the book - what a happy surprise on this grumpy Saturday morning!!

by Anonymousreply 90June 1, 2024 4:59 PM

For those of you fondly remembering summer stock FINIAN'S RAINBOW, do you recall how they handled to the senator becoming a Black man? Wasn't it usually done with blackface? Was it shocking? Funny?

by Anonymousreply 91June 1, 2024 6:13 PM

Ozzie and Harriet at The Meadowbrook Dinner Theatre in "The Marriage-Go-Round" co-starring Inga Swenson.

by Anonymousreply 92June 1, 2024 6:20 PM

[quote]Was it weird to see Anatevka in a beach setting? Of course!

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by Anonymousreply 93June 1, 2024 6:28 PM

[quote]Was it weird to see Anatevka in a beach setting?

I wonder how it compares to seeing "Sweeney Todd" at a dinner theater.

by Anonymousreply 94June 1, 2024 9:28 PM

But that actually works r94.

I can't imagine any dinner theater NOT serving meat pies for a production of Sweeney Todd.

by Anonymousreply 95June 1, 2024 9:30 PM

No pickle, no performance : an irreverent theatrical excursion from Tallulah to Travolta

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by Anonymousreply 96June 2, 2024 12:09 AM

Broadway in a Barn by Harmon, Charlotte, 1911-2007

Publication date 1957

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by Anonymousreply 97June 2, 2024 12:16 AM

Dana Plato in Ain’t Misbehavin’

by Anonymousreply 98June 2, 2024 12:59 AM

In the early 70s when they still spent money Jones Beach was pretty great. The opening of Carousel was one of the greatest things I've ever seen on a stage. The opening brooding music turning into the Carousel waltz was one of the most exciting pieces of staging ever and unrepeatable anywhere else.

Also stages were brought into the moat on barges. Such as the Von Trapp Villa in SOM or the Showboat in Showboat. And there was a stage around the orchestra which was on the side of the audience to play scenes. Looking at photos from the productions during the 50s and 60s the sets are really spectacular. Especially A Night in Venice. Fiddler was not at all suited for the place. Then Lombardo died and they just got cheap touring companies to play on the front of the stage. It became pointless to go there.

by Anonymousreply 99June 2, 2024 1:18 AM

I should remind folks that Harold J. Kennedy (NO PICKLE, NO PERFORMANCE) was also the director of the notorious Broadway flop play ME JACK, YOU JILL. This mystery starred Sylvia Sidney, Lisa Kirk, Barbara Baxley, and Russ Thacker and closed on opening night in March 1976.

I had the "privilege" of working on the show, and because I had worked with Mr. Kennedy before at the Falmouth Playhouse, I knew it would be a bomb. The most incredible thing happened during previews: The audience (aware they were seeing a show that would end up on the wall of Joe Allen's) began talking back to the actors. I remember a few of the exchanges (paraphrased):

Lisa: Wow, it's so wonderful being back in this theater - the home of my biggest hit show. Why, I died on this very spot 357 times!

Audience member: Make that 358, Lisa!

Sylvia: What's that noise? Up there... in the balcony?

Audience member: It's us...the audience...LEAVING!

Not since Pia Zadora was outed in that production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (when someone in the audience yelled out to the Nazi soldiers, "She's hiding up in the attic!" has there been, in my experience, such a flagrant backlash from an audience. IMHO

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by Anonymousreply 100June 2, 2024 1:41 AM

Billy Boy. are you still working in the legitimate theater?

by Anonymousreply 101June 2, 2024 3:29 AM

Lisa Kirk was fun and totally nuts.

by Anonymousreply 102June 2, 2024 4:02 AM

Ruta Lee

by Anonymousreply 103June 2, 2024 4:28 AM

Wasn't Ruta the queen of Casa Manana?

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by Anonymousreply 104June 2, 2024 4:34 AM

She *is* Ruta Lee

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by Anonymousreply 105June 2, 2024 4:39 AM

R101 No, I left “the business” in the early 90s, thoroughly disillusioned and eager to start a different career. I’m retired now and happily living in Hawaii. I’m still an avid theatergoer and enjoy visits to NYC, DC, and London.

by Anonymousreply 106June 2, 2024 4:42 AM

R106, I still remember your posts and your saying you lived in Hawaii. A great poster!

by Anonymousreply 107June 2, 2024 5:56 AM

R106 I love you, Billy Boy.

by Anonymousreply 108June 2, 2024 6:14 AM

Dana Plato in CATS.

by Anonymousreply 109June 2, 2024 11:49 AM

Thank goodness nobody has yet posted the poster for the Ann B. Davis,/Jim Nabors dinner theater production of “Camelot” which is, of course, a total joke but people on FB all think it’s real.

by Anonymousreply 110June 2, 2024 12:59 PM

Those who saw Betty White in Hello, Dolly! were severely disappointed.

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by Anonymousreply 111June 2, 2024 1:33 PM

Joyce DeWitt is terrific on stage but she was trained in it. She still plays all over the country. My friends saw here in "Nunsense" and she delivered.

by Anonymousreply 112June 2, 2024 2:12 PM

Hi r112 The Joyce DeWitt troll has spoken.

by Anonymousreply 113June 2, 2024 2:15 PM

From Long Island and even though we were right outside Broadway we'd go to The Westbury Music Fair a theater in the round for shows too. There were a bunch of Music Fairs owned by Barbara Walters husband. As a kid I saw Angela Lansbury as "Mame" and Carol Lawrence and Robert Goulet in "I Do, I Do", and they would tour the In the round circuit.

by Anonymousreply 114June 2, 2024 2:16 PM

[quote]The Joyce DeWitt troll has spoken.

Hey she's doing something right, she's till standing.

by Anonymousreply 115June 2, 2024 2:22 PM

Can anyone forget the immortal trifecta at the Scranton Schoolhouse Playhouse of Helen Lawson's Call Me Madam, Am Misbehavin' and Rub Me the Wrong Way?

I wish I could.

by Anonymousreply 116June 2, 2024 2:34 PM

R111, I could imagineBetty White laughing her ass off all the way through it.

by Anonymousreply 117June 2, 2024 2:36 PM

At Westbury Music Fair I saw a new musical in 1967 called HOW DO YOU DO, I LOVE YOU starring Phyllis Newman that presaged internet sex and speed dating. I think it was written by Maltby/Shire.

by Anonymousreply 118June 2, 2024 2:39 PM

[quote]Hey she's doing something right, she's till standing.

Because she's got a great pair of L'Eggs!

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by Anonymousreply 119June 2, 2024 2:40 PM

I also saw THE APPLE TREE at The Mineola Playhouse on Long Island staring Dorothy Loudon around the same time. It was the a touring version of the Mike Nichols Broadway production but the Passionella film montage in Act 3 still had images of Barbara Harris. Loudon was fabulous but it was a tiny audience and the hollow applause at the end was depressing.

by Anonymousreply 120June 2, 2024 2:43 PM

Ah, that's neat R120. That's how Nichols must have known her for Annie.

by Anonymousreply 121June 2, 2024 2:49 PM

Well...it was different.

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by Anonymousreply 122June 2, 2024 2:51 PM

Ruta Lee is a big ol' Republican, she just turned 89 and her husband died recently, but bless her she still puts on full slap makeup and her Ruta Lee wig with a Ruta Lee hat on top of it and she'll show up at the opening of a door if you want her to, looking like "Ruta Lee."

She's been in show business over 70 years and she's still trying to put herself out there. She'll do any interview and YouTube has her talking to all kinds of people about all kinds of things. She and Ann Jillian do an interview about the joys of being Lithuanian. There's a feature on all the Westerns she did. It goes on and on. And she did a ton of charity work for the Thalians with Debbie Reynolds.

Apparently she's going to judge on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars soon, though she hasn't done a major acting project in a while.

Of her recent appearances, my favorite photo is this one from 2006, at the dedication of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with her dress stuffed in her cooch and her headlights on. Mitzi Gaynor and Debbie Reynolds are both there. Ruta was also friends with Alex Trebek, they did a game show together.

Are those Deluxe Fuxley fake ads supposed to be funny? It's so strange, I love theatre and musicals and get what the joke(s) are supposed to be, but to me they're just not funny.

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by Anonymousreply 123June 2, 2024 3:12 PM

[quote]Ruta was also friends with Alex Trebek, they did a game show together.

See r105

by Anonymousreply 124June 2, 2024 5:54 PM

Billy Crystal as the EMCEE in Cabaret sounds intriguing.

I mean, we can all picture exactly what his schtick would be, but, nonetheless, it’s intriguing.

by Anonymousreply 125June 2, 2024 7:05 PM

r125 "Sally! You look MAHVELOUS!"

by Anonymousreply 126June 2, 2024 7:06 PM

Straight from the Borscht Belt!

by Anonymousreply 127June 2, 2024 7:11 PM

Perhaps she even looks perfectly marvelous, R126

by Anonymousreply 128June 2, 2024 8:05 PM

Billy Crystal would have done Cabaret before he was on SNL but after Soap, so he would have been primarily known as the 'gay guy from Soap' at the time. So not as unusual as it seems so many years later.

by Anonymousreply 129June 2, 2024 8:18 PM


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by Anonymousreply 130June 2, 2024 10:45 PM

[quote] It's a shame we no longer have summer stock touring packages.

There’s always Branson, MO.

by Anonymousreply 131June 2, 2024 10:47 PM

Oh, it's a "rock" musical.

by Anonymousreply 132June 2, 2024 10:47 PM

R110 This is the Dinner Theater poster I remember...

with Jonathan Harris, Jaye P. Morgan, Hans Conreid, Gary Owen, Anita Gillette, Bob Hastings, and Jo Ann Pflug

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by Anonymousreply 133June 2, 2024 10:59 PM

I saw at least three shows here.

[quote]The theatre was Denver's first professional theatre, serving as home to America's first and oldest summer-stock theatre company from 1893 until the 1960s.

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by Anonymousreply 134June 2, 2024 11:06 PM

There's always the Paper Mill.

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by Anonymousreply 135June 3, 2024 12:23 AM

I saw two shows at Paper Mill - FOLLIES and Ebersole/MAME

by Anonymousreply 136June 3, 2024 1:21 AM

r134 How often did they do "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"?

by Anonymousreply 137June 3, 2024 1:25 AM

I( don't remember them doing any big musicals, r137, they didn't really have the space. I saw Ten Little Indians, Shelley in Gamma Rays and Sandy Dennis in Born Yesterday there. They were mostly Star packages like Ginger in 40 Carats and Lana in Bell, Book and Candle.

by Anonymousreply 138June 3, 2024 1:32 AM

I would love to have seen Ginger Rogers in Coco.

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by Anonymousreply 139June 3, 2024 2:53 AM

Can't remember the dinner theater's name in central Connecticut but I remember seeing a fun production of APPLAUSE there with a miscast but very charming Dorothy Collins around 1975. The set wasn't much more than a couple of A-frame ladders on wheels. But the roast beef was fine!

by Anonymousreply 140June 3, 2024 3:06 AM

R139, Ginger refused to say the word “shit” as Hepburn had on Broadway.

by Anonymousreply 141June 3, 2024 3:44 AM

Jonathan Harris, Jaye P. Morgan, JoAnn Pflug, AND Hans Conried... all nude?

by Anonymousreply 142June 3, 2024 3:48 AM

Bless your heart, R142.

by Anonymousreply 143June 3, 2024 3:56 AM

R133 The Fabulous Desert Hole Resort featured:

Live-Style Entertainment Casino-Style Gambling Gourmet-Style Dining Prostitute-Style Escorts

Must have rivaled the Chicken Ranch!

by Anonymousreply 144June 3, 2024 4:59 AM

Janis Paige who did Gypsy, Ballroom, Sweet Charity, Mame and AGYG in summer stock has passed away at 101. Anybody lucky enough to see her on stage?

by Anonymousreply 145June 3, 2024 10:02 PM

Susan Anton in CATS

by Anonymousreply 146June 3, 2024 10:29 PM

LOVED Janis Paige but sadly, never got to see her onstage. She had balllzzzzz.

by Anonymousreply 147June 3, 2024 11:05 PM

Helen Lawson in "Sunday in the Park with George" as Dot.

by Anonymousreply 148June 4, 2024 12:05 AM

[quote]LOVED Janis Paige but sadly, never got to see her onstage. She had balllzzzzz.

She co-wrote her autobiography a couple of years ago.

by Anonymousreply 149June 4, 2024 12:10 AM

Drag Race's Latrice Royale to play Audrey 2 at Ogunquit Playhouse. This might be pretty great.

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by Anonymousreply 150June 5, 2024 7:00 PM

R150. That's great casting. Since Jinkx Monsoon has proven to be box office gold in Chicago it's nice to see producers are looking to other Drag Race alumni hoping for the same thing.

by Anonymousreply 151June 5, 2024 7:23 PM

What, no mention of the Westbury Music Fair?

I wonder if the likes of Bert Convy would let chorus boys suck him off. They were all there such a short time so that could have been an jncentive.

by Anonymousreply 152June 5, 2024 8:56 PM

Susan Anton in The Wiz

by Anonymousreply 153June 5, 2024 9:40 PM

I saw four shows here in my *distant* youth.

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by Anonymousreply 154June 5, 2024 9:54 PM

R152, read the thread! I mentioned Westbury at r118.

Also mentioned the Mineola Playhouse at r120 if you're a Long Islander.

by Anonymousreply 155June 5, 2024 10:03 PM

Mike Todd's A Night in Venice at Jones Beach. What I would have given to see this.

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by Anonymousreply 156June 5, 2024 11:14 PM

^ Now *that's* an extravaganza.

by Anonymousreply 157June 5, 2024 11:16 PM

Here you can see where the orchestra was brought to the side of the audience with a stage around it for more 'intimate' scenes(as opposed to the other production.) I would love to know what musical this is.

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by Anonymousreply 158June 5, 2024 11:28 PM

I saw Carol Channing in Lorelei at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, MA in the 1970s.

Back then it was a canvas tent with no air conditioning.

Carol changed costumes in a four sided portable curtain enclosure in the aisle right next to me.

by Anonymousreply 159June 5, 2024 11:28 PM

I hope Carol didn't leave a trail of corn in the aisle on her way to the stage.

by Anonymousreply 160June 5, 2024 11:30 PM

Around the World in 80 Days. That should be Fritz Weaver and Robert Clary in the balloon unless they used doubles. Even a stage production has to have a balloon.

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by Anonymousreply 161June 5, 2024 11:41 PM

thanks for the jones beach photos /

if anyone sees a good link or blog recounting the jones beach era, i would appreciate your posting

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by Anonymousreply 162June 6, 2024 2:25 AM

That's funny r159. I got the schedule for the Music Circus and Melody Tent this week in the mail.

Not much to see I'm afraid. Last years' big name was Belinda Carlisle and she was awful.

I remember the big canvas tents and the sweaty no a/c shows. And the birds flying in and out.

I was hoping for at least one show to be even a little interesting but it's slim pickins.

K.C. and the Sunshine Band here we come!

by Anonymousreply 163June 6, 2024 1:56 PM

If you look at the trees behind the Cotton Blossom those would have been on the large stage in the lagoon. It had a large revolving stage so that they could change location. So that for example with a revolve you would find that you were in the Chicago World's Fair.

They had as what I guess most summer stock theaters had 'popular prices.' These were cheap tickets even for the best seats. Even Radio City and the NY City Opera and Ballet had them. Of course nobody uses this term any longer because 'popular prices' no longer exist. Ticket prices are now expensive to extortionist.

by Anonymousreply 164June 6, 2024 1:57 PM

When I was a kid, my family would rent a cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania very near (we could be walk) a theater that was owned by Jean Stapleton and her husband. I'm sure one of you knows what it was called. We went for three or four summers. One we saw Jean herself in some play where she was committed to an asylum and she had a teddy bear filled with cash. Then we saw her daughter in My Fat Friend and then her son in something terrible where he played a baseball player. Diminishing returns, but it felt like we saw celebrities.

by Anonymousreply 165June 6, 2024 2:42 PM


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by Anonymousreply 166June 6, 2024 2:56 PM

Some summer theaters are still around: the various "Shakespeare" festivals, lower profile venues like Cain Park in Cleveland (which has always had a varied performing arts calendar).

by Anonymousreply 167June 6, 2024 3:34 PM

R165: I think the theater you are referencing is the Totem Pole Playhouse. Bill Putch (Jean Stapleton's husband) was the Artistic Director there from 1953 to 1983. The New York Times called Totem Pole Playhouse “the Cadillac of summer theaters.”

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by Anonymousreply 168June 6, 2024 9:59 PM

That's to the place!

by Anonymousreply 169June 6, 2024 10:14 PM

R168, Please see R166.

by Anonymousreply 170June 6, 2024 10:51 PM

Robert Newman from (The) Guiding Light performs pretty much every single summer at a nearby theater. He’s really good. Clue and Sweeney Todd are my faves.

by Anonymousreply 171June 6, 2024 11:19 PM

R171. I think Newman and Kim Zimmer did Gypsy and Curtains! together. That must have been fun!

by Anonymousreply 172June 6, 2024 11:32 PM

I alwaus thought Britney Spears could fix everything in her life if she could just get a good summer package of Anything Goes....

by Anonymousreply 173June 7, 2024 1:11 AM

No, silly r173...MAME!

by Anonymousreply 174June 7, 2024 1:36 AM

Britney Spears IS Sonia Walsk!

by Anonymousreply 175June 8, 2024 8:54 PM
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