Had to share this awesome review from Bea fan, Neal, with all of you ::
Today’s matinee of Bea’s One Woman Show, was, in a word……..devine! This was the 3rd time that I have seen the show. The first time was when the tour first started a few years back in Thousand Oaks, California, at The Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center. Then I saw it again 1 & 1/2 years at The El Portal Theatre in N Hollywood, CA…..where I saw it today.
The El Portal Theatre was built as a Vaudeville House in the 20’s and then later turned into a movie theatre. The theatre went into disrepair after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and has since been restored to a legitimate theatre.
It was posted on line that the performances at The El Portal were being filmed for a dvd release. There were no cameras in the theatre today. Perhaps it was filmed earlier this week during the Thurs, Fri or Sat shows.
Conrad Bain, Bea’s co-star from “Maude,” was in the audience this afternoon – 4th row center.
As the lights went down, Bea walked out on stage to huge applause, introduces Billy Goldenberg, and the show begins. I have the cd of the show that came out a few years ago. Since the cd is edited for time constraits, it’s so nice to hear and see the show in it’s complete entirety.
It’s changed a bit from the 3 times that I’ve seen it. The first time in Thousand Oaks, there was no intermission. 1 & 1/2 years ago at The El Portal, there was an intermission. At this performance there was no intermission.
Since the Mae West story isn’t on the cd, it was nice to hear it again, and to see Bea imitate Mae West….looking up at her. Very, very funny. Perhaps the funniest part of the show is when she is saying that many people asked her why she would do a 1 woman show when there we so many parts out there for a woman her age! Ha,ha..
My favorite part of the show is the song that she sings about owning a 2nd hand furniture store. Hysterical!! Her “twist” on the words in the song is wonderful!
Her timing and delivery is impectable. When she tells of her stories and experiences, it’s as if she is telling them for the first time. She’s so excited to tell us, the audience, all the amazing people that she has met or worked with.
The moment she mentions Lotte Lenya from “The Three Penny Opera,” her eyes instantly well up with tears. It’s very obvious that Bea adored and respected that woman. Her memories of that show, bring her the most joy!
She also sang “If He Walked Into My Life Today” from “Mame.” Her performance was extraordinary! I’m sure she would have killed to have played the part of Mame Dennis in “Mame” instead of Vera Charles.
Her stories of her audition singing “Summer Time,” Jerome Robbins, Tony Curtis, “Maude,” Talluhlah Bankhead and others are so fresh and detailed in her memory, it’s as if it just happened.
Today’s performance was sold out. The theatre was selling “overflow” seating……the top section of the balcony had folding chairs to see the show.
A screaming, standing ovaition closed the show. The audience roared with laughter when she announced that she was NOT going to sing “I’m Still Here.” She closed the show with “The Man On The Moon” from “Mame.”
One thing that was so nice was that Bea completely shared the stage with her pianist Billy Goldenberg. She constantly spoke to him, acknowledged him and thanked him. Many artists don’t do that. Sure, they will thank them near the end of the show. But, he was featured CONSTANTLY! Which is a very nice thing for her to have done.
Well, that’s about it. I certainly hope that a dvd of the show comes out. The theatre was selling autographed cd’s of the show in the lobby.
Thanks for reading.