Say Goodnight Gracie


The Life, Laughter and Love of George Burns


Helen Hayes Theatre, (10/10/2002 - 8/24/2003)

First Preview: Sep 17, 2002
Opening Date: Oct 10, 2002
Closing Date: Aug 24, 2003
Total Previews: 27
Total Performances: 364

Category: Play, Solo, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Martin Markinson and Donald Tick

Produced by William Franzblau, Jay H. Harris, Louise Westergaard, Larry Spellman, Elsa Daspin Haft, Judith Resnick, Anne Gallagher, Libby Adler Mages, Mari Glick, Martha R. Gasparian, Bruce Lazarus, Lawrence S. Toppall and Jae French; Associate Producer: Jamie deRoy

Originally produced by Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Written by Rupert Holmes; Portions of the play have been adapted from the reminiscences of George Burns; Incidental music by Rupert Holmes; Music arranged by Rupert Holmes

Directed by John Tillinger

Scenic Consultant: John Lee Beatty; Lighting Design by Howard Werner; Sound Design by Kevin Lacy; Wig Design by Bob Kelly

General Manager: Richards / Climan, Inc.; Executive Producer: William Franzblau

Technical Supervisor: Larry Morley; Production Stage Manager: Tina M. Newhauser

Musical Supervisor: Teressa Esposito

Multimedia Design by Howard Werner and Peter Nigrini

Additional casting by Rush and Super Casting, Ltd.; Press Representative: Peter Cromarty & Company; Marketing: Leanne Schanzer Promotions; Advertising: Triton Advertising; Photographer: Carol Rosegg; Mr. Gorshin's clothing courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

Opening Night Cast

Frank GorshinGeorge Burns
Didi ConnGracie Allen
Recorded voice only

Understudies: Joel Rooks (George Burns)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2003 Best Play [nominee] 

Written by Rupert Holmes; Produced by William Franzblau, Jay H. Harris, Louise Westergaard, Larry Spellman, Elsa Daspin Haft, Judith Resnick, Anne Gallagher, Libby Adler Mages, Mari Glick, Martha R. Gasparian, Bruce Lazarus, Lawrence S. Toppall and Jae French

Drama Desk Award

 2003 Outstanding Solo Performance [nominee] 

Frank Gorshin

Reviews


New York Daily News: "A straight man for all seasons"

If you are of a certain age, simply hearing the song "Love Nest" will make you smile, because it will remind you of George Burns and Gracie Allen. You hear "Love Nest," which was their theme song, fairly often in "Say Goodnight, Gracie," Frank Gorshin's one-man show about Burns. Each time it appeared, I found myself beaming, because I remember the husband-and-wife comedy team fondly from both radio and early television. They had a very dizzy sense of humor. When, for example, George and Gracie are standing on a ship deck and he asks her why she threw a life preserver overboard, she answers, "Oh, it was no good, George. It had a big hole in it."

Mostly, when you recall Burns and Allen, you think of Gracie's sublime illogic. (I have always loved a moment in "Damsel in Distress" when she tells George there's a Hawaiian on the phone. He asks how she knows he's Hawaiian if she can't see him. "He says he's Brown from the Morning Sun.")

Burns' contribution may have been more remarkable, because it was silent. It consisted of double takes and deadpans and knowing glances at the audience. His well-timed responses added as much to their "duets" as her perfectly delivered idiocies. The premise of Rupert Holmes' endearing play is that George has arrived at the Pearly Gates and has to audition for God (whom he played in several movies late in life) to see if he'll be admitted to paradise, where he knows he'll see Gracie. His audition consists of reminiscences about his own childhood on the lower East Side, then images of his career with Gracie, which includes outtakes from their films and snippets from their TV show. Many of their routines have been taped by Gorshin, with Didi Conn reproducing Gracie's voice and mannerisms extraordinarily well. Gorshin has mastered Burns' disarming smile and his gift for making even a flick of his trademark cigar a prompt for laughter. At times, his hobbled walk (a sign of extreme old age - Burns lived a few months beyond 100) seems forced, but it is a minor quibble. "Gracie" does not really aim to dramatize anything about Burns and Allen's lives or career. It is merely an amiable journey into the past. If your own memories are as vivid as mine, you'll find it irresistible.


New York Daily News
10/11/2002

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