Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stefanie Powers Takes on Tallulah Bankhead

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Tallulah Bankhead (L) and Stefanie Powers in "Die! Die! My Darling"

From “Hart to Hart” to Tallulah Bankhead

By Skip Sheffield

If she had a choice, Stefanie Powers would have preferred being cast as Tallulah Bankhead under different circumstances.
Movie, stage and television star Stefanie Powers replaces Valerie Harper in “Looped,” opening Tuesday, Feb. 26 and continuing through Sunday, March 3 at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Harper worked closely with playwright Matthew Lombardo in recreating the eccentric, outrageous character of stage and screen star Tallulah Bankhead. “Looped” had a pre-Broadway tryout at the Cuillo Center (now Palm Beach Dramaworks) in West Palm Beach. Harper was forced to bow out due to an ongoing battle against lung cancer.
“Valerie is a dear, dear friend, and she will be back,” asserts Powers. “She put an awful lot of herself in the role of Tallulah. It is always a challenge to play someone else without it becoming a parody.”
Tallulah was such a larger-than-life character it is easy to exaggerate her. “Looped” is a double-entendre title that means both the process of looping, or over-dubbing new dialogue, and getting “looped” as in drunk. Bankhead was a heavy drinker and drug-user, and when she showed up for a looping session for her last film, “Die! Die! My Darling,” a horror film from Hammer Studios in England. Powers has a unique insight. She was in the film as a 20-something ingĂ©nue.
“I didn’t know anything, but I think I can be forgiven” she says. “What 20-year-old knows anything? I didn’t understand the response associated with her hilarity.”
Powers did know Bankhead was a radio star second only to Bob Hope. She has been rehearsing and researching her role feverishly in preparation for the revival of “Looped” on Broadway.
“I hope those who enjoyed Valerie in the role will come back and see what I have done with it,” she says. “It has been a very interesting journey about an interesting, complex and misunderstood woman.”
Tickets are $28, $46.50 and $66.50. Call 954-462-0222,

“Anything Goes” at Boca Raton High School

The award-winning Drama Troupe 2564 of BRCHS revives the 1934 Tony Award-winning musical “Anything Goes” Feb. 28 through March 3 at the Kathryn Lindgren Theatre. The shipboard show includes the Cole Porter classics “You’re the Top,” “Blow Gabriel, Blow,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and the title song.
Lawrence Richardson plays fugitive gangster Moonface Martin, Vivian Martinez is wealthy debutante Hope Harcourt, Kyle Laing is her long-lost love Billy and Danielle Overton is nightclub singer Reno Sweeny.
Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door. VIP advance seating is $15 and group is $9. Call 5612-338-1533 or go to www.bocadrama.com.