Jeff Maess, Executive Director of the Pike Performing Arts Center, told me that they had a last-minute change in their 2008-2009 Subscription Series due to a tour cancellation, so they will be presenting “Say Goodnight Gracie,” the life, laughter and love of George Burns and Gracie Allen, on Saturday, September 27 at 8:00 p.m.
Oh, man! I wish I could go see this. It is a “multi-media production,” so there will be theatrical razzle-dazzle, which is almost always fun. However, what attracts me most to this show is the idea of getting to hear “George” talk about his life with Gracie. I love autobiographical, storytelling-type shows to begin with, and the George Burns/Gracie Allen dynamic always fascinates me when I see old film clips of them. I would love to hear what “George” has to say about their life together.
But it is only one night, and on a night I can not go. If you go, would you mind leaving a comment here to tell me what you thought of it?
Here is more information about the show from Jeff:
“‘Say Goodnight Gracie’ was Broadway’s third longest running solo performance show, was nominated for a 2003 Tony Award for “Best Play” and won the 2003-04 National Broadway Theatre Award for “Best Play.”
“Say Goodnight Gracie,” starring Don McArt, is the hit Broadway play that invites you to spend a hilarious, heart-warming evening in the uplifting company of the world’s favorite and funniest centenarian. George Burns, who spanned one hundred years of American entertainment history, is now miraculously alive and kicking in a stunning tour de force.
In “Say Goodnight Gracie,” we discover George in limbo between this world and the next, unable to join his beloved wife and partner Gracie Allen until he gives the command performance of his lifetime for God. He looks back upon his impoverished, plucky youth on the lower east side of New York… his disastrous but tenacious career in Vaudeville … the momentous day when he meet a fabulously talented young Irish girl named Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen … their instant chemistry, with his flawless timing a perfect mate to her dizzy delivery … his wooing of her, their marriage and their rise to the pinnacles of vaudeville, movies, radio and television. Gracie’s demise forced George to start from square one in life and in his career, eventually achieving an equal level of success as a solo raconteur and Academy Award-winning actor, portraying everything from a Sunshine Boy to Oh, God.
“Say Goodnight Gracie” is a tender, funny, life-affirming love story … a personal guided tour through an American century in the company of George Burns, a man who laughingly lived and loved each day for all it had to offer, until he finally went “gently into that good night” to forever reunite with his beloved Gracie. The show is a multimedia presentation that also features the skillful vocal talents of actress Didi Conn (“Frenchie” from Grease) as well as evocative music and moving images from George’s long life and good times. The play has been created with the approval and cooperation of the estate of George Burns and Gracie Allen.
Its author is multiple Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes, whose Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning musical The Mystery Of Edwin Drood and who is also creator and writer of the nostalgic Emmy Award-winning comedy series Remember WENN and currently represented on Broadway in the Kander & Ebb musical Curtains.
Don McArt, who portrays George Burns, grew up in Anderson, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University and started as a disc jockey/newscaster at NBC affiliate WEOA in Evansville, before venturing to New York where he attracted the attention of legendary stage director George Abbott. He began his long time acting career which eventually led to performing in either the Broadway or national companies of Pajama Tops, Barefoot In The Park, The Odd Couple and There’s A Girl In My Soup. Migrating to Hollywood, he did The Absent Minded Professor and The Son of Flubber, followed by other films, including, most recently, Two Much with Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. In television, he appeared in a wide variety of shows with such stars as Shirley Temple, Groucho Marx, Ray Bolger, Gale Storm, Robert Taylor, Chill Wills, JoAnne Worley, Dwayne Hickman, Jackie Coogan and Peter Lorre. With Caroline Jones and Jon Astin, he was seen as one of the hairy “cousin” characters on The Addams Family.
Single tickets are just $24 and $20, with discounts for seniors and Students. For more information, or to order tickets, call the Pike Performing Arts Center box office at (317) 216-5455 or visit www.pikePAC.org.
Thanks, Jeff, for the info!
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com