Toronto audiences will see Bea Arthur sing, scowl, tell career tales and share a bawdy joke or three when the actress brings Just Between Friends, her Tony Award-nominated show, to the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto Nov. 20.
Ticketmaster is not yet selling tickets, but an agent confirmed "Golden Girls," "Maude" and Broadway veteran Arthur is lined up to take the stage for three weeks, starting Nov. 20. The on-sale date has not yet been announced. She'll play seven performances a week, presumably with pianist-composer Billy Goldenberg sharing the stage again, as he did on tour and on Broadway.
Arthur told Playbill On-Line in spring her goal was to eventually play to London. It was not yet clear if there might be other North American bookings of the solo show that kept Broadway audiences laughing. Critics agreed that Arthur didn't reveal much about her life in the show, but she wasn't afraid to tell off-color jokes and sing show tunes and saucy specialty numbers.
The show, then called Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends, was nominated for a 2002 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. Mark Waldrop directed.
Performances at the Winter Garden in Toronto are expected to play Wednesdays-Sundays. The Winter Garden is at 189 Yonge Street. For information, call Ticketmaster at (416) 872-5555. *
To view Playbill On-Line's March 2002 Brief Encounter interview with Bea Arthur, click Bea Arthur Q&A.
Bea Arthur sang "What Can You Get a Nudist for Her Birthday?" one last time on Broadway April 14, when she wrapped up her run of Just Between Friends: Bea Arthur on Broadway at the Booth Theatre.
The evening of song and stories from the TV and stage star was originally to be a limited engagement Jan. 29-March 10, and earned back its initial investment. Audience interest prompted several extensions. The producers announced Feb. 28 that the 78-year old, 5-foot-9-inch actress known for playing "those assertive women" (as she puts it) on TV would continue at the Booth indefinitely.
A cast album of the Arthur revue (recorded on the road in 2001 when it had another title) was released Feb. 12 on the DRG Records label.
Daryl Roth, USA Ostar Theatricals and Bev Bartner produced Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends (formerly titled ...And Then There's Bea, With Her Friend Billy Goldenberg at the Piano), which opened at Minneapolis, MN's Guthrie Theatre April 24-29, 2001.
Arthur won a Tony Award as Vera Charles in Broadway's Mame. She played the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof (her part was substantially cut on the road, and Arthur had choice words for late director Jerome Robbins in her show). She also appeared in the famed Theatre de Lys staging of The Threepenny Opera Off-Broadway in 1954 (she sand "Pirate Jenny" in Bea Arthur on Broadway). Arthur's previous Broadway show was Woody Allen's The Floating Lightbulb.