Shirley Maclaine is out on the road promoting her new book I’m All Over That. This intimate evening of memories, film clips, showbiz inside info, spiritual discoveries, and audience participation was held where she grew up, in San Fernando Valley, which she disparaged but it served her purpose and was cheap. The actual venue was the gorgeous new Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, which seats 1700 in a 166000 square foot multi purpose structure which also contains a 178 black box theatre, classrooms, 230 seat lecture room, rehearsal and event space, and a new broadcast facility for KCSN public radio. The valley has arrived.
Maclaine’s evening was filled with stories. She certainly has been around, and it leaves you wondering what you could possibly offer in a conversation with her. But she made the audience relaxed and seemed accessible to all. She answered questions for over 40 minutes at the end and only shied away from telling stories out of school as it were, only say one disparaging remark and that was about Laurence Harvey, whom she disliked. She was even kind to Jerry Lewis who competed with her in their movie together, afraid she might come off better.
She told at length the story of her discovery by Hollywood when she went on for the ailing Carole Haney in Sweet Charity on Broadway. She also spoke of the “Rat Pack” and several actors she starred with but declined answering who was her favorite lover. Most of the audience obviously adored her and were glad she was sharing these memories. Her act of several years ago had dancers, and she sang and danced but she did show us scenes from her movies and shared her experiences making them and working with some of the greats, Jack Lemmon, Alfred Hitchcock, Gene Kelly, etc.
Ms. Maclaine also shared some facts and misconceptions about her spiritual quest and, in fact, it seemed to be this part of her life that interested much of the audience, or at least those that lined up to share their own personal journeys. Maclaine was gracious throughout, though she also doesn’t stomach fools easily and had to gently remind some questioners to get on with it. All told it was an enjoyable trip down memory lane and a chance to hear this iconic star share her life. She says she is over her past but was more than willing to share it with her adoring fans. She performed at the Valley Performing Arts Center on May 6th.