Only one play to tell you about this time, but fear not…
By Pat Taylor
I’ve got plenty to say… as always. They don’t call me “Chatty Patty” for nothin’!
Tea at Five
Cissy Conner as Katharine Hepburn in “Tea at Five.”
The multi-talented, infectiously loveable Cissy Conner is
back… in this triumphantly entertaining play. A master
of “one-woman” shows, I first fell under her magical spell
in 2003, in her sultry/ sexy Ovation Award-winning
musical production of “An Evening with Marlene Dietrich.”
In 2005, I was again “wowed” by her solo depiction in
“Plane Crazy.” Playing a flight attendant (which she
actually was for many years), and numerous quirky
passengers… she was delightfully impressive! A chamel-eon-like performer, she has an undeniable gift for transforming her persona, believably and compellingly, and the result is always a wonder to behold. Audiences love her! Generally not a fan of “solo” plays, I will always jump at the chance to catch hers. This time, she captures the essence, humor, witty cynicism, heart, and innermost thoughts of the late, great Katharine Hepburn. Written by Matthew Lombardo, this revealing telling has been performed in California by Stephanie Zimbalist and Kate Mulgrew in the past. Lombardo’s currently-running hit Broadway solo show, “Looped,” starring Valerie Harper, continues his legacy. Self-directed, Cissy’s transformation to Kate at age 31, while funny, informative, and interesting in Act One, slightly lacks the total “likeness” to Hepburn that I anticipated for some reason. Then when the curtain goes up in Act Two, a Parkinson’s-afflicted Katharine Hepburn at age 76 comes to life… and brilliance transpires!! Gutsy and heartbreaking in turns, she shares personal stories of her beloved and complicated family, her famous friends, her “roller coaster” career, and her legendary 27-year romance with the married Spencer Tracy. The audience was captivated! On the wonderfully homey and realistic set of Scott Umpress, Kate bears her soul, insecurities, and recollections… as the story of her life unfolds. This is a spirited, meaningful, and nostalgic ride, and still another memorable solo performance by the remarkable Cissy Conner that earned her a rousing standing ovation on opening night. Do catch this intimate and heart-touching production! Playing through May 2 at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center at 11006 Magnolia Blvd. in NoHo. Call 800-838-3006 for seats.
Posted on March 31st, 2010