Collected fan stories from Bea in L.A. on Jan 31st & Feb 1, 2004
Recently, Bea performed in her hometown of Los Angeles, California for the South Bay Conservatory Student Scholarship Fund. Normally, I thought this would be just another normal performance that would not be picked up much by Bea fans. Boy, was I wrong! Not only did fans of Bea come to see her from the four corners of California, but also the country! Though I did not get to go myself, I was able to live vicariously through a couple of people who had contacted me and kept in touch over the past few months on their plans and experiences to see Bea! Not only did I learn a lot from them, but also made some new friends who share just as much passion for Bea.
I want to especially thank Debbie for all her hard work, phone calls, and mailings. She has definitely re-energized my passion to learn more about Bea Arthur and her amazing, never-ending career. Thanks to Armando (Mando), Ali, and Edyn, as well, for sending me their stories and pictures to share with the rest of the Bea fan base.
So, without further ado, click on the names of the fans above to view their own stories and pictures.
Take care all,
My experience of a lifetime began as a result of late night reruns of the Golden Girls and a love for the character Dorothy played by Bea Arthur. No one could or ever will play that part as well as Bea did!
Through Kevin’s wonderful website I learned of Ms. Arthur’s tours and her CD., Bea Arthur on Broadway!
This all began in June of 2003. After buying her CD and playing it many times I would find myself staring at the cover in black and yellow. The idea was born to do a collage! An exact replica but, in squares of 1/8″-1/4″. I drew up a format and began with cutting squares from magazines for the background of black. The yellow for “Bea Arthur” followed. Then the process of gluing them all in place – Wow! It got more involved as I went but, in all I ended up with it involving around 4.000 squares! Each square was glued in place using toothpicks. I also took photos of different phases!!
I finally finished in Dec. of 2003. Hence! Another beginning of another path to Bea Arthur.
I again learned in Dec. of 2003 via Kevin’s fabulous website, of Bea’s upcoming show in Torrance, Calif. I decided to make a dream a reality. My sister called the James Armstrong Theater to get my tickets for me right away, as I was at work. She ended up talking with Dan Watt, the theater Director, who by the way, is an awesome individual. He expressed such interest in the collage to my sister, I decided to take it with me and hope for the chance of giving it to Ms. Arthur personally. Dan secured a fantastic seat for me only 4 rows from the stage and an aisle seat!! I checked out the seating chart over the Internet first myself before I left for L.A.! After all, this was the most exciting thing to happen to me in my life.
Next,. airline tickets and the “art of the deal”! Best price of course – more $ to spend in L.A.!
That was absolute proof I was going. I didn’t think Jan. 30, 2004 would ever get here but, I soon found myself on the runway charging for L.A. and a chance to meet Bea and my collage, framed by now, in tow!!
Dan Watt had set up special room prices with the Marriott, so I went straight there. A beautiful place with flowers growing everywhere and the nicest staff. My room was on the top floor (17th) and had a balcony which you could see the theater from and from which I also enjoyed a beautiful view – including the ocean!
The excitement was almost too much for this gal, so I decided to unpack and imagine the horror when I discovered the glass and frame of the collage had broken in flight! The very next morning (of the concert) found me in a nearby Target trying to find a suitable substitute. I was limited to choice so selected the best one I could make do with. Back to Marriott to change everything out and get ready for my big night!
I have to admit, I looked darn good and was pleased, so next was dinner! I had the same server, who was a darling and had me seated in his section. Imagine my surprise and delight when Betty White and friends walked right in front of my table and were seated across from me with Savann as their server also! This was almost the “icing on the cake”! I could hear their conversation and was anxious to say hello. My better judgment told me to not intrude on their dinner so I sat there, but I’ll always remember Betty saying to Savann, “we’re going to see Bea Arthur at the theater”. I knew I’d see her there, which I did!
By chance, Dan Watt also stopped by Betty’s table! As he was leaving I stopped him and told him who I was. He said he knew me by my accent. He was very nice and we chatted for a few minutes.
Now Show time!
I was seated and gazed in total awe at what was about to happen. There was Billy’s piano, Ms. Arthur’s red chair, a table with roses and water. And then there’s Bea!
If she ever looked more beautiful, I don’t know when. She looked early sisters to me. She started with a song on New York and carried on with her CD songs. Oh! She gave a “thumbs up” talk on the Gay Rights Movements and received a thunderous applause form everyone. What a performer she is and what a show she puts on. We’re talking extraordinary here folks!
There was a short intermission and then more Bea and Billy – a fabulous pair and incredible combined talent. Highly intense energy seemed to create a sense of stillness and awe in everyone there. She received a well deserved standing ovation!
Now the reception! I was ready and in high anticipation of Bea. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened at all. Although I did see her, I couldn’t get close enough or see over any of the taller people. I hung back just waiting for my chance. My collage was in Dan W.’s office and I sensed all was not right. Dan walked up to me and explained Bea decided to leave early – she wasn’t feeling well.
I think I looked like the most forlorn, rejected person to ever walk out of that theater! I comforted myself with the fact that I had and amazing experience just making my dream a reality and the show of a lifetime with my favorite star! What more could I want? Little did I know what would come my way later!
A beautiful handwritten thank you note for the collage! Seems Dan Watt was able to give it to her I believe the next day at her next performance. I have since talked with Dan and learned she wants it hanging in her office!
I’ll meet her one day – of that I’m sure and I’m just proud she likes it. A trip of a lifetime and an attitude with gratitude!
P.S. “GO BEA!”
Well from the moment that my sister, Ariana, and I got on the plane up until the moment that I walked into the theater, it never really hit me that we were there to see Bea.
Right before we left the hotel I said a little prayer thanking God for letting me come to LA. In the closing of the prayer I asked for the opportunity to actually have a chance to talk to Bea and introduce myself and what not, but since He had already given me the chance to see her show, I was happy with that!
Well we arrived at the theater at around 7:20PM, 40 minutes before the show started and 10 minutes before the doors opened. After the doors opened, it didn’t take us long to find our seats. We sat in the last row last to seats to the left if you were on stage facing the audience. Well right before the show started, Ariana hit me with her elbow as in to turn to my left. She said, “I think that the last lady who walked in is Betty White!” I said, “No, I don’t think that’s her. I would need to get a front view of her to tell.” Well right after I said that, she turned and it was Betty White! That really took me back, because you know I was not expecting to see her there, know what I mean?
Anyhow, Bea then came out and she was just breath taking! Even though we were a distance away, we could still get a very good view of her. Especially her beautiful flashy blue coat! Well during intermission, Ariana and I went to the restroom. After we came back we were standing there wondering if I should go up to Betty and ask for her autograph. Reason being that no one was going up to her. We figured that maybe she had requested for no one to go up to her or that maybe nobody knew that she was there. Well I finally worked up the courage to go up to her as she was sitting. I asked, “Mrs. White?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “May I trouble you for an autograph?” She said, “Sure.” So then I proceeded to talk to her about the Golden Girls and how much of an influence the show and how much her character Rose has an influence on me, although I relate more to Dorothy’s character. She was so nice and sweet. Well after I was done talking to her, I went back to my seat and that was when a few other people noticed whom it was that I was talking to.
Well then the show started up again and Bea was just magnificent! My favorite parts of the show were when she talked about her encounter with Mae West and her imitation of Mae West. That and the three songs that she sang called “Isn’t He Adorable”, “Pirate Jenny”, and “Some People”. But of course the whole show was just as wonderful.
After the show we stayed behind for the reception with Bea. Once Bea was coming out, people started to clap and she was just so grateful. Once it was my turn to have my pictures autographed, I noticed how tired she was. I mean you could tell how she was having trouble concentrating and focusing on signing. When I was up there, I asked to see if it was okay for me to go around the table so that I may take picture with her, her manager (I think it was her manager) said that he couldn’t let me do that. So then Bea said, “Well that’s okay, just get as close to me as possible” and my sister snapped the picture. After that I stepped aside and I thought, “Well at least I had my picture taken with her and I have her autograph as well.
Ariana and I walked back to the hotel at around 11:30PM. I was staying at the Marriott Hotel and Resorts, which was just a block away from the theater. Since I work for Marriott, I was able to get a good rate. As we were coming through the lobby we could here that the bar that was in the hotel was playing salsa music. So we went up to the room and put our things away so that we could go back down to dance a few songs and have a drink. We walked right in and immediately started to dance. After we danced three songs, it was time to get a drink and a breather to go along with it. We sat at the bar and I told the bartender that I wanted a strong Cosmo martini and my sister ordered another drink. Well after taking two small sips of my drink, a lady walked up to us and informed me what she had just heard through the grapevine. We had met her the night before and told her that we were there in Torrance to see Bea Arthur. So she came back to me and informed me that she didn’t know who, but that all she knew was that the “Golden Girls” were staying in the hotel and that she saw them in the restaurant eating. So I thought, “Well this is it! This is my chance to actually have the opportunity to meet her face to face with no one limiting her time. And if she said “Golden Girls” then I’m sure that Betty White must be there with her as well!” Well I chugged my martini wanting to go to the restaurant right then and there! But then Ariana didnât want to go because she thought it would be rude to interrupt her eating with her friends. So I agreed and decided to go outside to have a smoke while I would wait for Bea to come out of the restaurant. I was out by the courtyard and you could look into the restaurant. Well after having about two or three cigarettes, I saw Bea get up from her table and head out for the door. She was by herself. So Ariana and I automatically went inside.
Right after I walked in Bea saw me first.
Bea: Oh hello!
Me: (my jaw dropped to the floor) Bea! Hello!
Bea: Where are the restrooms?
Me: Oh just down the hall sweetie.
Bea: Show me.
Me: (I stood right next to her and pointed to the doors) Right there.
Bea: (she grabbed my hand with a firm grip) No sweetie, I’m buzzing and I need you to show me.
Me: Okay sweetie (I grabbed her by her arm and Ariana went to Bea’s left side, and we were walking her to the restroom.) Can I ask you for a favor?
Me: May I get a picture of you and me?
Bea: Oh I look like shit right now!
Me: Oh no you don’t you look beautiful!
Bea: Okay, but before I hear your story, let me go pee first and when I get back, I’ll take the picture with you!
So after she came back
Bea: Okay now lets take the picture!
Me: Oh, is Betty with you in the restaurant?
Me: Betty, Betty White?
Bea: Oh no. Why do you ask?
Me: Well because she was at your show and I figured that maybe she would be visiting with you?
Bea: Oh no, I didnât know she was there. I would have loved to have seen her. She is so nice.
(She took a picture with me and then I took a picture of Bea with Ariana. I took two pictures of them because I had forgotten to put the flash on the first one.)
Me: Oh let me take another one because I forgot to put the flash one the first one.
Bea: (Putting her hand on her hip) Oh, Iâm so fucking tired and he’s taking forever. But that’s okay sweetie, take your time!
(So then after I take the picture we slowly start walking toward the restaurant.)
Bea: So where are you from?
Me: From Texas
Bea: What?! What the hell are you doing here in LA?
Me: Well we came to see you! Hoping to have the opportunity to meet you and lucky for me, I did and I’m glad I met you.
Bea: Oh you’re so sweet. It was nice meeting you as well. But why didn’t you go see me in Texas when I went to Houston?
Me: Well I didn’t have the money to go, so I didn’t.
Bea: Oh you poor bunny, poooor bunny. (Rubbing and patting my back)
Me: Well I didn’t have the money this time either, so I got a bank loan to come see you!
Bea: (laughing) Oh you’re not serious?
Me: No, I’m serious.
Ariana: He did get a bank loan, believe me!
Bea: Oh I can’t believe that, you’re fuckin’ nuts!
Me: Well I tell you that it was worth every little penny!
(So when we were done talking, I asked her if she would like for us to walk her back to the restaurant and she did ask us to. I walked her just past the doorway when)
Bea: Where did all my friends go? The bastards left me!
Me: No they didn’t sweetie, they’re back there.
Bea: Oh I see them. (Whispering) Don’t tell them I said that!
Me: Okay sweetie, I won’t. It was nice meeting you. Take care and God bless. Youâre beautiful!
Bea: (Giving me one last good strong hug and blowing me a kiss) You too dear! Take care and I love you both!
I walked right out and fell over the bar in disbelief! Throughout the time that we were talking to her, she would give Ariana a hug and then come over to me and give me a hug. Just back and forth to the both of us. And I loved the way she hugs you as if she had known you for years and she never wants to let go. Well after I went back to the room, I could not go to sleep I was still in shock. It was like one big dream! AND IT CAME TRUE!
Kevin, thank you for having such an awesome well-informed website! If it wasn’t for that, I don’t think I would have ever done what I did.
Mando and Ariana Lomas
La Feria, Texas
Jan. 31, my mother and I went to Bea’s show in LA. We traveled from Pittsburgh, as you know, and after the show, Bea and Billy came out to sign autographs and talk with their fans. Well little did I know that they would be soooo kind as to touch a 14-year-old’s cheek! When she did that she looked right through me and I was just blown away!
But before I tell you about the after-party, I’ll tell you about the show.
As soon as we arrived, we knew that we were over dressed. There I was in all my glory with a pink satin dress, crystals on my neck, and wrist and people were comming in jeans and CHER t-shirts! Well, I was so embarrassed because, when I talked to the box office, they had said that it was a formal or semi formal show. And since I wanted to look good in pictures and for Bea, I said, “Oh, who cares. I look better than anyone here.” So I left that subject and moved on.
Once we were seated, we waited for about 15 minutes and then…
The lights dimmed, I was SO excited, and then this voice comes onto the loud speaker and sounds exactly like Julia Chlld! I thought it was very ‘Bea like’ to have that introduce her. Then, she walks onto the stage and an immediate round of aplause and “wooooo!”s began and then she LET Billy come on. Well, the same happened with him. The lamb recipe. Oh, it sounded so good! And then she sang. My god that girl can sing! There, in the audience of about 500, I was sitting there and I knew the words to “Fun to be Fooled”, and many others, because I have the CD. So I decide to kind of sing along with her and the blue light was shining on me, so I think she saw me. When she came over to my side of the theatre, she looked me straght in the eye and then of course was sooo unbearably excited!! This happened all through the show because I knew the words, I sang, the light shown down, and she saw. And every time she saw she looked me straight in the eye!!! ooh! It sent shivers through my body because I never thought that my idol would to that. I never thought that I would even get to see her in person let alone meet her!!! So the show went on and at intermission we went into the lobby and everybody was looking at me.
I said to myself, “Ali, they’re probably looking at you because you’re overdressed.” Then I realized that they were looking at my hair! Bea had just told the story of her first audition and she said that she brought a song with Dina Schor on the cover with her hair pulled back in “over-rats”, as Bea Called them. Well, I realized that I had done my hair that way that night so I am now a Bea Arthur Story!!! That is SO cool! Also later in the show she said how she was given an offer to maybe get a part in a play with Mae West. Bea sad that after the show she went into Mae’s dressing room and talked to her about how good she was at acting and Mae probably hit her right above Bea’s belly-button and Mae said, “Thank yah.” and Bea immitated her and she looked up and said, “Thank yah.” Then she looked even farther up and practically bent over backwards and said, “Thank yah.” Bea said Mae never talked to her again after that! After the last standing ovation, we went outside to the reception and I was too nervous to eat so, I just waited and waited to see she and Billy walk out. Then when she did I got so, extremely nervous because there was MY IDOL walking sort of towards me to get to the autograph signing table and I got my spot in line. When it was my turn, I told her, “You are gorgeous. You’re my idol. I love you and you’re my favorite person in the world!” She then said, “Thank you.” and ,”How sweet of you to come.” Then she ever so gently touched my cheek and I just melted. I mean, my idol had just touched me! I was so surprised because I was the only person she touched. I was 14, and I had the over-rats!! Plus I sang with her!
The reception was basically just so Bea’s fans could talk with she and Billy and get autographs. That’s where I got my one GOOD picture which I will send you soon! She has great teeth too! And an awesome smile!!!
My mother and I will be going over tonight because we brought her a card that 52 people signed but I forgot to bring it. So we’ll take it over tonight. (Feb 1)
Today is Feb. 2. I told myself not to send it until I got home because I had a gut feeling that there would be more news and there is!!!
When we took the card over to Bea, I asked if there were anymore tickets and the girl told me to wait and see if anyone ditched. Well they did!!! And we got a better view at the second show than we did the first! And I did the same thing. I was under the blue light, I sang with her, she saw more often because I was sitting right across from her chair, and she looked right in my eye at least 25 times during the show!
After the second show I met up with Dan; the producer I spoke to. He said, “I think Bea would like it even more if you took the card to her yourself.” So by that point I was shaking so much that I almost couldn’t walk. This was my chance to meat her person to person and actually talk to her! I almost fainted!! But unfortunately I didn’t bring the camera that night. I left it in the hotel room. image.tiff ¬ However, I still have the memory and the souvineirs!
Shortly past 8 pm the lights were dimmed and the stage at the intimate theatre was set with that nice piano and comfy chair. Out comes Ms. Arthur to uproarious applause (just by walking onstage). Her hair impecably done, and out comes that familiar voice that we all have loved for a long time. She spoke candidly about the ups and downs of her career, the experiences lived, the lasting friendships she has retained, and hilarious if not colorful and maybe at times a bit off-color anecdotes of legendary figures such as Tallulah Bankhead & Mae West, about studying drama along side Harry Belafonte, about Tony Curtis, her incredible friendship with Angela Lansbury, etc. All done with taste, poise and her magnificent timing.
Ms. Arthur sang, told jokes, and shared unselfishly with her sold-out audience, proving once more the reasons why she has such a following. We were an interesting audience because we were all ages and origins. I got the thrill of the night when unbeknownst to me, Betty White pauses to pose with a young man for pictures and acknowledges me. She’s got beautiful and youthful eyes.
Ms. Arthur sheds twenty years when on the stage, you’d hardly know her age. Mr. Goldenberg stole many a hearts with his charm and talent. She performed The Man In The Moon in almost identical manner, the way she had done in the film version of Mame along side my all time comedic idol, Lucille Ball. A dream come true.
I’m very glad I had the opportunity to attend her performance and gala reception afterward. Thank you Kevin for keeping us fans informed about her endeavors. To say that to be in her presence is awe provoking, is an understatement. She is one of the truly legendary ladies of the entertainment field.