So convoluted was Moss Hart's journey from poverty and obscurity to his first Broadway hit (Once In A Lifetime), he set it all down in a classic autobiography, Act One. Yet even that volume couldn't contain all the madness a playwright, director, actors and producers go through on the way to opening night. Hence Light Up The Sky, Hart's look at a disaster-prone, out-of-town tryout, now receiving a 50th anniversary production at San Diego, CA's La Jolla Playhouse (Aug. 25 Sept. 27).
Opening Aug. 30, Light Up The Sky features everything from drunken shriners to stage mothers to volatile directors to stage-struck fans. Hart's other zany works include (with George S. Kaufman) You Can't Take It With You and The Man Who Came To Dinner.
Stars in La Jolla's Sky include Robert Ari (Off-Broadway's June Moon), Dena Dietrich (Funny Girl) and John Fiedler (A Raisin in the Sun) -- but best known as the voice of "Piglet" in Winnie the Pooh cartoons. Angie Phillips, ubiquitous on the New York theatre scene (The Roundabout's All My Sons and A Flea In Her Ear, also Pride's Crossing) plays the money-hungry wife of the producer. Also in the cast are David Kupchinsky, Dohn Norwood, Peter Bartlett, Barry Sherman, Quincy Bernstine, Linda Gehringer and Michael Bakkensen.
Former artistic director of Chicago's Remains Theatre, director Neel Keller's last La Jolla project was School For Wives in 1997.
* Upcoming at La Jolla are Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn (Sept. 13-Oct. 11), and special "FLASH" performances: Paul Zaloom in Beakman Live! (Oct. 17); Fred Rochlin's Old Man In A Baseball Cap (Oct. 23), and Penn & Teller (Dec. 1-6).
For tickets and information on productions at La Jolla Playhouse on Torrey Pines Rd, call (619) 550-1010.
-- By David Lefkowitz