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Theatre Review (LA): An Evening of Music and Comedy Starring Debbie Reynolds

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I have been in love with Debbie Reynolds since the late 50s. I remember a contest on television where you voted for your favorite female star, and Debbie was one of three contestants. (I think the other two were Gina Lollobrigida and — ironically, considering how they would later be scandalously linked — Elizabeth Taylor). I was sure that one of the other women would win because Debbie was just “Tammy,” not a sex kitten. But Debbie won, and I remember being thrilled that my choice was the "correct" one and that the world agreed with me.

Debbie Reynolds has long been one of America’s Sweethearts. Still going strong at 77, she is currently performing her show An Evening of Music and Comedy Starring Debbie Reynolds in L.A. After her sell-out shows late last year, she's back, but for only nine performances.

Besides being a celebrated popular performer, Ms. Reynolds has won awards in movies, television, and on stage. She is famous for having been in 50 movies, including classics like A Catered Affair, How The West Was Won, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Singin’ in The Rain. She still acts regularly; not so long ago she played Grace’s mother in the hit television show Will and Grace. She is also renowned for being a survivor of scandalous marriages; Eddy Fisher notoriously left her for Elizabeth Taylor, and her second husband squandered all her money gambling. She ended up bankrupt in her third marriage, having to close down a couple of casinos in Vegas.

Still she goes on, and goes on in style. Her long-held dream of opening a Motion Picture Museum, featuring all the treasures she has accumulated over the years, will soon be realized in Tennessee. Now she is crossing the country doing this very special one-woman show.

Her talent has not diminished and she is still full of spit and vinegar. She loves telling a dirty joke and doing impressions of her famous friends (her Streisand is priceless). She sings some Gershwin, some melodies from Broadway, and even sings along with her younger self in the many movie clips she shares. She looks gorgeous in her sparkly gowns, still sings well, and even does a few dance moves. She is a brave, talented woman, but more important, a true star. Her birthday was in April so she treated us to champagne and a fancy cupcake. A class act all around.

Debbie Reynolds will perform at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo until May 10th.

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