One of America’s great entertainers, Carol Burnett, survived a sad and difficult early life to become a funny lady who brought smiles to the …
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One of America’s great entertainers, Carol Burnett, survived a
sad and difficult early life to become a funny lady who brought
smiles to the millions who spent an evening weekly with her TV
variety show from 1967 to 1978. Many of the characters and sketches
grew out of her beginning years and legend had it that she always
pulled on her ear lobe at the end of a show to let her grandmother
(who really raised her) know she was ok.
Burnett’s memoir, “One More Time,” was the basis for “Hollywood
Arms,” a drama co-written by Burnett and her daughter, the late
Carrie Hamilton (who died from cancer two months before the play
opened). It plays through Nov. 23 in the Black box theater at
Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
Director Terry Dodd has assembled a fine cast, Brian Malgrave’s
seedy 1940s California apartment is spot-on for detail and Nicole
Harrison’s costumes are period perfect. Steve Stevens’ background
music from the period ties the scenes together smoothly.
The play itself is a problem. Structured as a series of
sketches, interspersed with blackouts where actors and techs
scramble around in the dark, it covers more than a decade in the
life of a troubled family.
Helen is Burnett’s alter ego and is played by a most promising
young Chloe Nosan as the little girl in 1941 and by Michelle
Merz-Hutchinson, an ambitious young woman in 1951. The child lives
an imaginary life up on the roof, away from alcoholic parents
Louise (Sharon Kay White) and her divorced husband Jody (Jude
Moran), and a frustrated, loving but controlling grandmother, Nanny
(the outstanding Anne Oberbrockling). Dixie runs the front desk at
Hollywood Arms (Devra Keys) and her son Malcolm (Eli Carpenter) is
young Helen’s playmate in her rooftop fantasies. James Nantz is
Louise’s second husband Bill, a me
By 1951, she is determined to attend UCLA and break out of the
sad scene. She returns from New York to rescue her younger sister
in a touching scene with mother Louise. This and other bits
throughout the production are strong, but at 2 1/2 hours, it’s too
Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m.
Wednesdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets start at $30,
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