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Marylouise Oates

The Curtain Is Rising on Taper Salute

March 18, 1987|Marylouise Oates

For once, it's the theater that gets to take the bow.

But then again, even its artistic director, Gordon Davidson, modestly admits that the 20th anniversary of the Mark Taper Forum is a more-than-unique event.

"It gives me a moment's pause because there aren't too many theater movements that have lasted 20 years . . . and we are the only resident theater that has survived 20 years in a cultural complex," Davidson said. "It's a unique story. We didn't do it alone and so we wanted to share these thoughts with the community."

And that's just what the Mark Taper Forum--and its loyal cadre of professionals and supporters--gets to do the week of April 6. A crowded week--culminating in a gala evening of cabaret theater--that celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Taper.

Highlights include Gregory Peck reprising his original role as dedicator of the building (that's April 9, the actual anniversary); a star-filled tribute to John Houseman on April 7, forums on directing and lighting, and the bang-up cabaret evening and gala Saturday, April 11. That night, former Taper performers--such as Barry Bostwick, Louis Gossett Jr., Henry Winkler, Paula Kelly and a crowd of others, salute the Taper. A champagne celebration and a lot of splash and sparkle organized by Roz Wyman follow in a tent set up on the Music Center plaza--and, which promises, honestly, to be a "once-in-20-years occasion."

Davidson stressed that the Houseman salute earlier in the week will celebrate the actor-director's "ability to identify young talent, to give them opportunities, to be a mentor and a friend." Houseman's track record--including Davidson, the Globe's Jack O'Brien and director Jim Bridges (who later employed him in "The Paper Chase")--is "extraordinary," Davidson said. "To begin a week of celebration by honoring Houseman is appropriate," Davidson said, because "we honor our roots." Signed up for the Houseman tribute are Nina Foch, Lainie Kazan, Kevin Kline and the products of his mentoring, O'Brien and Bridges.

HAPPENINGS--Author Irving Stone and his wife, Jean, will be honored as Parents of the Year at the Cedars-Sinai Helping Hand Mother's Day luncheon May 8 at the Beverly Hilton. . . . Author Kitty Kelley speaks at a symposium sponsored by the Law Guild of Beverly Hills. Kelley, who has authored non-authorized biogs on Frank Sinatra, Liz Taylor and Jackie Onassis, will speak on "The Rights of Privacy." . . . Victoria Principal launches her new book, "The Diet Principal," at Neiman-Marcus next Wednesday. Can't wait to see what will be served. . . .

SAVE THE DATES--For AIDS Project Los Angeles, April 23 and April 26, for a preview and auction conducted by Sotheby's. . . . The Stallone Fund for Autism Research and the L.A. Chapter of the National Society for Children and Adults With Autism hold their eighth annual Celebrity Fashion Show and Auction on Saturday at the Registry Hotel (that used to be the Sheraton Premiere). . . . May 17 is the annual Concern Foundation for Cancer Research's Rodeo Drive spectacular. And this year it's Concern's Greatest Show on Earth--determined to raise more than the $700,000 brought in last year. . . . Peter Falk has been named honorary chairman of the second annual NutraSweet Classic--the April 6 golf and tennis event benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, set for the El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana. . . . United Hostesses' Charities holds its annual membership luncheon and premieres the I. Magnin designer collections next Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. . . . The Palm Springs Friends of the Hebrew University salute Mina Bess and Marlo Lewis at the Scopus Award Gala on April 5 at the Palm Springs Plaza Hotel and Racquet Club.

ONCE MORE, WITH . . . --If you thought the birthday fetes--organized by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, state Sen. William Campbell and their happy band--were over, you were wrong. They were at it again this past week, saluting Walter Karabian with a "Special Birthday Dinner" organized at Perino's by his good buddy, political consultant Joe Cerrell, and Speaker Pro Tem Mike Roos. Joan and Jack Quinn, Lou and Kathy Moret, Councilman Richard Alatorre and Sharrell Blakely, state Sen. Art Torres were there--as was TV producer Barney Rosenzweig. He watched the evening progress--including the hundreds of zingers thrown between the pols--then turned to Lee Cerrell as he left, commenting on the biting humor, "I'm sure glad you people don't review television shows."

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