Anne Jeffreys and More Set for Actors Fund's LADIES OF AN INDETERMINATE AGE at Pantages Theatre, 12/10
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by BWW News Desk
The Actors Fund presents a very special Musical Monday, an evening with five grand ladies of musical theatre in LADIES OF AN INDETERMINATE AGE on December 10, 2012. Anne Jeffreys, Jane Kean, Pat Marshall, Patricia Morison and Charlotte Rae - join together on the same stage to sing songs from their careers, talk about their co-stars, directors and composers and stray into their wicked (or not-so-wicked) adventures in the great tradition of "No Business Like Show Business."
7:30 pm - Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. 8:30 pm - Performance (Performance followed by Dessert Reception with the Performers. Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, Calif. Tickets: $125 per person. To book, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-933-9266 extension 458.
Anne Jeffreys was offered and accepted a role in a musical review, "Fun for the Money," to be done in Hollywood, which led to her winning her first movie role, it was "I Married an Angel," with her idols Janette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Under contract to Republic Studios she made a dozen films for them, including "Flying Tigers" with John Wayne. R.K.O. bought out her contract to co-star with Frank Sinatra in "Step Lively." She managed to continue her singing career by performing with the New York Symphony and the Ford Symphony and the Los Angeles Opera Company. Kurt Weill heard her sing "Tosca" at the Brooklyn Opera House and hailed her for his musical version of the Elmer Rice Pulitzer Prize play "Street Scene," for which she received critical acclaim. Next came "My Romance," a play by Edward Sheldon. Miss Jeffreys performed for the three seasons and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, alternating with "Bittersweet" and "The Merry Widow." While there, Cole Porter offered her "Kiss Me Kate." She spent two years and 887 consecutive performances in that classic musical. During her "Kate" run at the Shubert Theatre in New York, she met Robert Sterling, then starring in "The Grameroy Ghost" at the adjoining Morosco Theatre. The columnists dubbed them "The Romance of Shubert Alley." "Three Wishes for Jamie" was the next Broadway starter for Miss Jeffreys, after which she joined forces and talents with her husband; they toured top nightclubs and hotels in the country including the Waldorf in New York, the Sands in Las Vegas, Palmer House in Chicago, the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles and the Fairmont in San Francisco. Their highly successful club act led to the long running and ever popular "Topper" TV series, in which they delighted audiences all over the world as George and Marion Kirby -- "The Ghosts with the Most." She did "Destry Rides Again," which later they repeated at the Lincoln Centre in New York and then on tour. Alan Lerner persuaded her to take over the Broadway company of "Camelot" and tour with it for six months in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. It remains on of her favorite roles along with "The King and I," which she has done many times. Miss Jeffreys has appeared on most of the top dramatic shows on TV as well as musical specials., talk shows and even a soap opera She Received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her work in "The Delphi Bureau" series. Some of her other theatre performances include "Carousel," "Anniversary Waltz," "Bells Are Ringing," "Ninothcka," "Desert Song," "Do I Hear a Waltz?" "Song of Norway," "Most Happy Fella," "No Sex Please, We're British," "Take Me Along," "Follies," "and "The King and I."
Jane Kean, star of Broadway, films and television has a career that has spanned over 60 years with starring roles on stage in Early to Bed, Call Me Mister, and Ankles Aweigh, to such presitigious films as Disney's PETE'S DRAGON. Kean and her sister Betty formed a comedy duo that worked the nightclub circuit throughout the 1940s and '50s, and the two appeared on Broadway as sisters in the 1955 musical Ankles Aweigh. Additional theatre credits include Call Me Mister and Carnival!. She had a small part in Take Me Along which starred Jackie Gleason, who would remember her a few years later when casting his weekly hour television program. Ms. Kean made her film debut at Republic Studios in the 1941 film SAILERS ON LEAVE directed by Albert S. Rogell. Television audiences remember Kean for her role of Trixie Norton in a series of hour-long HONEYMOONERS episodes-in color and with music-on The Jackie Gleason Show from 1966-70. She succeeded Joyce Randolph, who had played the role in earlier sketches and on the 1955-56 sitcom THE HONEYMOONERS. Other credits include THE Phil Silvers SHOW, MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY, THE LUCY SHOW, LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE, THE LOVE BOAT, THE FACTS OF LIFE and DALLAS. Her memoir is entitled A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Honeymooners . . . I Had a Life. Kean's frank and funny memoirs of a show business life are a loving first-hand account of what it was like growing up among the Who's Who of classic Hollywood and Broadway. She tells all - and tells it like it was.
Pat Marshall began her professional career as a singer with Richard Himber's Orchestra. After two years with his big band, her first Broadway appearance was in the musical What's Up followed by featured roles in the first two Lerner and Loewe Broadway musicals, You'll See Stars and The Day Before Spring, which resulted in an offer from M-G-M to go to Hollywood. After fulfilling her commitment to appear in the now classic M-G-M musical Good News, she retired for a period of ten years, resuming her career when she teamed with Andy Williams, Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence on the new Steve Allen Tonight Show. However, Broadway beckoned and within a year and a half, she had replaced Janis Paige in the starring role in The Pajama Game. Ending her run in that production, she was featured in the Broadway presentation of Mr. Wonderful starring Sammy Davis Jr. She left the show in 1956 to marry Larry Gelbart, the writer-playwright-author to whom she was married for 48 years and is the proud mother of five children. She will celebrate her 89th birthday on January 13, 2013.
Patricia Morison has achieved full-fledged stardom on the Broadway stage, where she created the role of Lilli (and Katharine) in Cole Porter's hit musical Kiss Me, Kate. In 1933, the teenager made her Broadway debut in the comedy Growing Pains. By 1935, she was waiting in the wings to replace Helen Hayes in Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina but had to remain behind the scenes throughout the run as an understudy. Morison's start in a Broadway musical took place, when she appeared in the original cast of Eleanor Farjeon's The Two Bouquets, playing alongside the future Broadway legend AlfrEd Drake (with whom she would famously collaborate again) and the already well-established thespian Leo G. Carroll. Her performance and striking looks caught the attention of Hollywood, and she soon appeared in a steady stream of films: the thrillers The Magnificent Fraud and Persons in Hiding, and the comedy I'm from Missouri. In the 1940s alone she appeared in twenty-five films, sharing the screen with such Hollywood royalty as Ralph Bellamy, Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Fred MacMurray, Ray Milland, William Powell, Basil Rathbone, Spencer Tracy, and Johnny Weissmuller. Others films that have survived the test of time, include The Song of Bernadette, and the early Tracy-Hepburn vehicle Without Love. She had the leading role in the adventure film Queen of the Amazons and played opposite Johnny Weissmuller in Tarzan and the Huntress. Despite her busy schedule in the movie studios, Morison briefly returned to Broadway to play in the musical Allah Be Praised!, and then on to her next experience on the Great White Way which proved far more gratifying; she starred opposite her old colleague AlfrEd Drake in the original production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate!, a musical about an acting troupe performing Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Her solo numbers "I Hate Men" and "So in Love," and her famous duet with Drake, "Wunderbar," were high points in the show. The chemistry between Drake and Morison was superb, and the musical was a smash hit - winning six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and Best Composer and Lyricist, and playing for 1,077 performances. Morison went on to reprise the role of Lilli in the London production and on television. She returned to Broadway once more, stepping in to star as Anna Leonowens in The King and I. But she continued to take to the boards beyond Broadway in such works as Milk and Honey, Kismet, The Merry Widow, Separate Tables, and Private Lives. Later film credits include Song Without End, Won Ton Ton: the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, and Mirrors.
Charlotte Rae found early success as a nightclub performer. In 1952, she made her Broadway debut in Three Wishes for Jamie. Between Broadway and acting for TV, she put out the album Songs I Taught My Mother. Rae is best known and loved for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Loved by generations of television fans for her work on sitcoms, Ms. Rae initially found success as a nightclub performer and theatrical actress. She appeared with Bea Arthur and John Astin in a revival of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. She went on to originate the role of Mammy Yokum in the musical Lil' Abner. Around this time, Rae also recorded an album called Songs I Taught My Mother, which featured several songs written by college friend and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. In addition to working in music and musical theater, Rae landed many television guest spots. She appeared on the United States Steel Hour, The Phil Silvers Show, and Play of the Week. Rae became a series regular on the police comedy, Car 54, Where Are You? Before the show even ended its run, she was back on Broadway. She appeared in The Beauty Part, a comedy, with Alice Ghostley and Bert Lahr. Rae earned her first Tony Award nomination for her work on the original musical Pickwick in 1965. Four years later, she garnered another nomination for her role in Morning, Noon, and Night. In her post-Facts of Life career, Rae has tackled an array of projects in television, film, and on stage. She had guest appearances on such shows as St. Elsewhere and Murder, She Wrote, and parts in a number of television films, including Crime in Connecticut: The Alex Kelly Story. Rae also had a recurring role on the family drama Sisters. On the big screen, she voiced one of the characters in Tom and Jerry: The Movie. Proving herself as a dramatic actress, Rae took on the challenging role of Winnie in a New York production of Samuel Beckett's play Happy Days. She also toured with her one-woman show, An Evening with Charlotte Rae. Today Rae continues to work on television and in the theater. She has appeared on the sitcom King of Queens and the dramatic series Strong Medicine. In 2006, Rae appeared in a Los Angeles production of 70, Girls, 70, with Olympia Dukakis.
LADIES OF AN INDETERMINATE AGE is Produced by Martin Wiviott and John Bowab, Directed by John Bowab and under the Musical Direction of Tom Griep. The Actors Fund gratefully acknowledges this Musical Monday sponsors: Nederlander, Corner Bakery, Sextant Wines, Tavern on Hollywood and Wells Fargo.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone-performers and those behind the scenes-who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping more than 12,800 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund's programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has-for 130 years-been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition. Visit www.actorsfund.org.