Jan Daley, Barbara Minkus, Evelyn Rudie and now, Zina Bethune are playing the feisty elderly women in the musical Funny You Don't Look Like a Grandmother, currently running at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Performances began Nov. 3. Opening night is set for Nov. 18 with a run through Feb. 25, 2001.
An accomplished ballerina, Bethune played Broadway in The Most Happy Fella, The Nutcracke and, most recently, Grand Hotel. Her touring credits include Carousel, Sweet Charity, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Damn Yankees, Oklahoma, Member of the Wedding and Barefoot in the Park.
Randy Kravis joins her as one half of the young couple, who have just made their Grandmother a grandmother. Also in the cast are Hank Adams as Grandpa and Cindy Waren as Kravis' wife.
Funny, You Don't Look Like a Grandmother, adapted by Lois Wyse, lyricist Sheilah Rae and composer Robert Waldman from Wyse's best seller of the same name, takes a look at the modern grandma. Now she’s less likely to appear in shapeless, out-of-fashion dresses and granny glasses than with a lap top and cell phone, on the way to kick-boxing lessons. Grandmother visits all the trials and joys this woman goes through, from what's she's called by those special grandkids (granma? nanna? abuela?) to what her life is like with her friends, participating in her own activities.
A Funny Girl on Broadway and on tour, Minkus starred as Fanny Brice before moving on to roles in The Education of Hyman Kaplan with Tom Bosley and as "Sweet Young Thing" in Rondelay. Daley toured the world with Bob Hope, even singing in Vietnam with the Bob Hope Christmas Tour, as well as lending her voice to the Academy Award nominated song "Till Love Touches Your Life." An Emmy nominee at age 5 and inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7, Rudie has starred on 70 TV shows from "Wagon Train" and "77 Sunset Strip" to eight appearances on "The Tonight Show." She and husband Chris DeCarlo are co-artistic directors of the Santa Monica Playhouse. Santa Monica Playhouse artistic director DeCarlo directs with Murray Phillips as choreographer. Cate Caplin is the associate director and choreographer.
The design team features James Cooper (sets and lighting), Ashley Hayes (costumes) and the Attic Room (sound).
Tickets are $24.50-$22.50. Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street. For reservations, call (310) 394-9779. The Santa Monica Playhouse is on the web at http://www.santamonicaplayhouse.com.
-- By Christine Ehren