On October 13, 2014 Actors and Others presented a one night performance of the Drama Desk Award winning show, "Celebrity Autobiography," at the famed El Portal Theatre. One part tantalizing, one part surprising, this utterly unique theatre experience saw celebrity guest performers Mindy Cohn, Joey Fatone, Florence Henderson, Eugene Pack, Lainie Kazan, Laraine Newman, Lily Tomlin, Dayle Reyfel, Bruce Valanch and Fred Willard reciting excerpts of the autobiographies of the famous and infamous.
When Fred Willard announced "I will be reading from Justin Bieber’s second memoir "Just Getting Started," the audience howled with delight. Florence Henderson read from the autobiography of Mr. T and Lily Tomlin from that of Hedy Lamar with SNL alum Larraine Newman channeling Carol Channing and Lainie Kazan doing the same for Ethel Merman. Joey Fatone rushed over from the "Dancing with the Stars" set to take on "Don’t Hassle the Hoff," the mesmerizing autobiography by David Hasselhoff. Of course, we couldn’t leave out the pets of the famous (yes there are "Dogobiographies."). Mindy Cohn acted out Millie of the Bush White House fame and you Bruce Vilanch as Shirley MacLaine’s dog Terry from "Out on a Leash."
"Celebrity Autobiography" was created by Emmy-nominated writer-performer Eugene Pack (who read from Ricky Martin's tome) and developed by Pack and Dayle Reyfel (a scorned Debbie Reynolds in passages concerning her famous divorce). We can’t thank them enough for the crowd pleasing evening. The laughter was non-stop – all of it in jest of course.
The nearly 350 ticket holders filled the lobby checking out the popular silent auction. Soon the traditional curtain call could be heard, and as the guests entered the theatre they were greeted with a awe-inspiring sight -- each seat contained a plush pony named Mollie donated by Wells Fargo, the evening’s premier sponsor. A big standing ovation goes to Jonathan Weedman and Wells Fargo for their enormous support.
Actors and Others' president JoAnne Worley began the evening with a few live auction items and then Executive Director Susan Taylor presented the first Paul Jolly Award of Caring (presented in honor of the late and very missed Actors and Others' board member) to a surprised Susan Rosenberg who worked closely with him over the years in all of his work on behalf of animals.
We owe a big debt of gratitude once against to the Petco Foundation for being a key sponsor and to Harlan Boll Public Relations for all of his hard work and to Jay Irwin and Pegge Forrest of the El Portal Theatre. Kudos too to belinda Art on Glass, San Antonio Winery, Imagic and the Candy Factory and all of the wonderful people and venues who provided both the silent and live auction selections.