Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY, September 8 – 19
CLORIS: A ONE WOMAN SHOW, September 23 – 27
Two legendary ladies of stage and screen are headed to Laguna Beach this September for exclusive limited engagements at The Laguna Playhouse.
First to arrive is Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY September 8 – 19. In Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY, Rita McKenzie recreates her uncanny, award winning portrayal of Ethel Merman, the Queen of the Broadway Musical. The show is packed with more than 20 trademark Merman songs, including "I Got Rhythm," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," and many more. McKenzie weaves Merman's larger-than-life story with her signature tunes to create an absolutely must-see production.
Then it's time for Cloris Leachman in CLORIS: A ONE WOMAN SHOW September 23 – 27. Leachman's dynamic one-woman show draws from the magical moments in her professional and personal careers. The show is everything you'd expect from the unique, multi-talented Cloris Leachman, who appeared in such films as The Last Picture Show (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Young Frankenstein, and starred on Broadway opposite Katherine Hepburn in As You Like It and as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.
ABOUT Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY
For four decades, Ethel Merman was the reigning royalty of the Broadway stage. She was at her peak during the most creative and brilliant time of what is considered one of America's singular art forms. During her era, Merman introduced songs, characters and stories that have remained a permanent part of our culture. She first sang the songs of many of the great songwriters of her era – Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Jerry Herman – who all considered Merman among the greatest interpreters of their work.
The songs she introduced during this era (and which are featured in the show) include "I Got Rhythm," "Anything Goes," "It's Delovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "They Say It's Wonderful," "Small World," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Some People," and "Rose's Turn" from shows such as Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, and Gypsy. They forever belong to her voice and persona. Even as others sing them, it is hard not to hear Ethel's voice belting them up to the second balcony.
Launched off-Broadway at New York's John Houseman Theater, Rita McKenzie's personal success with Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY triggered an international tour. Ms. McKenzie also toured the country in Merman's signature part as Annie Oakley in the 50th anniversary production of Annie Get Your Gun opposite Glenn Yarbrough. She has also played Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes and of course, Mama Rose in Gypsy.
She starred in the Los Angeles premiere of the off-Broadway musical Ruthless! and can be heard on the original cast album. She created the role of Phoebe Farber in Sam Harris' production of Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood! in Los Angeles, and she played Maggie Jones in 42nd Street with Mariette Hartley. Her other starring roles include Aldonza in Man of la Mancha, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Belle Poltrine in Little Me, Domina in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, Widow Corney in Oliver!, and Nurse Custer in Whoopee!
ABOUT Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman played her first role on film when she was seven. Seventy-six years later she has walked a road in life that only she could have paved. With the depth and diversity of characters that Cloris has created, her contribution to the arts is self-evident, making her a true entertainment icon.
Leachman's popularity has soared recently due to her appearances on Dancing With The Stars, although most TV viewers will remember her for the zany, self-centered character Phyllis on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and for her role of grandmother Ida in Malcolm in the Middle.
Her many movie roles include the hilarious Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein and Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety. In contrast to these creations are Leachman's superb dramatic performances. She won an Academy Award as Ruth Popper, the emotionally barren woman in The Last Picture Show. The Oscar sits regally on a shelf in her home alongside her nine Emmys, the most ever won by an actor.
Leachman also starred opposite Katharine Hepburn on Broadway in As You Like It, and she was lauded for her role as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.
Critics have been generous in their praise for CLORIS: A ONE WOMAN SHOW. "It's through a canny mix of melancholy and mirth that Leachman holds us spellbound through her show," enthused the San Francisco Chronicle, while the San Jose Mercury News raved that "Leachman's show is both touching and wildly funny."
Cloris Leachman photo by Charles Busch.
Rita McKenzie photo by Bill Dow.
Tickets to either Ethel Merman'S BROADWAY or CLORIS: A ONE WOMAN SHOW are $36 to $70. The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 949-497-ARTS (2787) or visit www.LagunaPlayhouse.com.