Extending for a third time, the Theatre West revival of Spoon River Anthology, a musical that transferred from the Los Angeles theatre to Broadway back in 1963, will continue its hit run through Oct. 19.
This Spoon River revival is directed by Betty Garrett and Joyce Van Patten, with Lee Meriwether in a featured role. Charles Aidman, co-founder of Theatre West, adapted Spoon River Anthology from Edgar Lee Master's famous collection of poems that serve as autobiographical epitaphs for the 244 residents of a rural Illinois town. Dialogue and monologue is interspersed with musical numbers by Emmy nominee Naomi Caryl, including "He's Gone Away," "I Am, I Am," "The Water Is Wide" and "Times Are Gettin' Hard."
At first a beauty queen (she served as a Miss San Francisco, Miss California and Miss America), Meriwether went on to a career in TV and theatre. Although she is remembered for her roles on "Barnaby Jones" and "Mission: Impossible," she has often appeared on stage including the earlier Theatre West Spoon River, Aesop in Central Park with Richard Dreyfuss, Ladies of Hanover Towers with Carroll O'Connor, Follies, A Little Night Music and The King and I with George Chakiris.
Also in the cast are Bridget Hanley ("Here Comes the Bride," "Harper Valley, P.T.A."), Drew Katzman, Jane George, Abbott Alexander and Andy Taylor.
A veteran of 1940s and '50s musical movies, director Garrett most recently performed on Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre's starry Follies. Director Van Patten, sister of TV's Dick Van Patten, is a stage vet whose credits include creating roles in new work by Neil Simon, A.R. Gurney, Jon Robin Baitz and Elaine May. There will be no performances Aug. 29-Sept. 8, in observance of Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah. Tickets are $25. Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Boulevard. For reservations, call (323) 851-7977. Theatre West is on the web at http://www.theatrewest.org.
— By Christine Ehren