Celebrities dish on other celebs in ‘Celebrity Autobiography’
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The original Celebrity Autobiography has played to sell-out audiences and rave reviews in New York since its opening in September 2008 when Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called the show “big-yuks entertainment” and a “merry compendium of the witlessness and wisdom of the rich and famous.”
It was produced off-Broadway by Angelo Fraboni, now the Madison Theatre’s artistic director, and won the 2009 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, along with other honors along the way.
The show has been running for four years at Manhattan’s Triad Theatre (now known as Stage 72), where it plays monthly, and now tours nationally and internationally.
This 80-90 minute reading of passages from celebrity writings brings into focus the minutiae of their daily activities, or even a look at their love lives, as in the case of Loni Anderson and Burt Reynolds.
It all reaches a climax with the ensemble finale that relates the love triangle involving Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Their infamous memoirs have been edited together to create a Rashomon-esque playlet in the participants’ own words. “It’s acted out in an epic way that is funny and fascinating,” says Pack.
“Their love story is told in such a unique way that it is not stand-up and not a play,” Pack relates. “Audiences of all ages will be fascinated by this story and that it really existed.”
For Pack’s varied ensembles, the Taylor-Fisher-Reynolds triangle (as well as the rest of show) is a chance for his performers — celebrities themselves — to express their creativity and reveal a different side to their talents. “For the cast, it’s an opportunity to bring out a side of themselves that audiences might not normally see,” he says. “In this show we have cast that ranges from Melissa Manchester, who is known for her singing. to Rachel Dratch, a comedy treasure, to Steve Schirripa, who we associate with The Sopranos.”