I was delighted to see three different people, all of whom I met separately and through three entirely different connections, all collaborating in Lauren Milberger’s reading for her new play The Raconteurs, A Story of George Burns and Gracie Allen last night. Lauren I’d met because we both contributed essays to the book Playbills to Photoplays: Stage Performers Who Pioneered the Talkies. She is THE go-to person on the subject of Gracie — read her guest-post on the subject for Travalanche here. I was thrilled to see she also DOES an amazing Gracie impression, one of the show’s many highlights. Also in the cast was Jonathan Smith, whom I first met at the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington years ago at a book event for No Applause. His Jack Benny impersonation (and his acting) are spot on. And the proceedings were directed by Allan Lewis Rickman, who had directed Shane Baker’s wonderful The Big Bupkis and appears in Lisa Ferber’s Sisters Plotz web series. I also really enjoyed Kevin Sebastian as George Burns, and Iris McQullian-Grace in several roles.
Small world??? Nah, read John Allan Paulos’s Innumeracy. We’re all old time show biz buffs….hardly a representative sampling of the public at large. So we were all bound to be in the same place at the same time SOME time. (Oh my God, have I become a nerd? Where’s my pocket protector?)
At any rate, this was a developmental reading not a production, so this is not a review, just a report, although I think I can freely say I really enjoyed it.