YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


They All Get a Kick Out of Mitzi at 'Anything Goes' Bash

September 14, 1989|ANN CONWAY

"I get no kick from champagne, mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all, so tell me why should it be true, that I get a kick out of you?"-- Cole Porter

Guests got a kick from champagne, mere alcohol, and Mitzi Gaynor on Tuesday after she opened in "Anything Goes" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

So much of a kick that the fiftysomething Gaynor got her second standing ovation of the evening when she swept into Scott's Seafood Bar & Grill on the arm of Jack Bean, her hubby of thirtysomething years.

"Mitzi, we love you!" guests squealed, trying to applaud and raise their glasses at the same time.

The secret to her energy-packed performance? "I have nooooooo idea!" she chirped, smiling as she settled down with buddies Jess Marlow and Donald O'Connor for a midnight supper.

Mike Mamakos knew. "She simply doesn't age," said Mamakos, her publicist for 20 years. "She takes care of herself--jogs every day, works out every day, takes voice lessons, does gymnastics. Her energy is inborn!"

Tuesday night's performance, at the Center through Sept. 17, kicked off the new, national touring production of Cole Porter's 1934 classic which features ditties such as "You're the Top" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."

"Donald O'Connor and I were saying that it's downright embarrassing to remember all of the lyrics so well," said KNBC newsman Marlow.

"And it hit me how contemporary that line is about cocaine ('some get their kicks from cocaine' from 'I Get a Kick Out of You') . . . how tragically contemporary."

Marlow and wife came from Los Angeles to see the show. "We wouldn't miss it," Marlow said. "We've known Mitzi and Jack for years. "There's an electricity about her. She believes you have to take care of yourself, then you do what you want. And she has a strong sense of determination to make it work."

O'Connor proclaimed the production "rich."

"Mitzi was wonderful. The costumes were wonderful." (To say the least. You could've heard a diamond pin drop when Gaynor wowed the dressed-to-kill theater crowd in ensemble after glitzy, figure-hugging, ensemble.)

O'Connor will appear in Orange County on Oct. 14 when he does a benefit for the American Cinema Awards Foundation at the Disneyland Hotel.

"I haven't decided what I'll sing yet, " he said, surveying a buffet table arrayed with seafood-stuffed pasta, blackened snapper medallions, calamari salad, fried oysters and desserts. "But there's a good chance I'll do 'Moses Supposes' from 'Singing in the Rain.' "

O'Connor's formula for career longevity? "You have to serve your apprenticeship well," he said with a serious tone. "Then, you continue to use your God-given talent and hope your audience doesn't get tired of you."

Also the scene: Gloria O'Connor, Phyllis Marlow (who said seeing her pal Mitzi on stage at the Center "was impressive!"); Walt Baker, general manager of KHJ-TV; television producer Sally Baker; Thomas Kendrick, president of the Performing Arts Center; Judy Morr, Center general manager; boat baron Bobby Cornelius; Carol and Larry Hoffman; Bonnie and Roger Smith; Gina and Reed Royalty; Ginger and Tony Allen; and Susan and Tim Strader.

Sunday in the Park with Jack: Susie Peltason wasn't about to pick up a mallet at the "Croquet on the Green" party staged by the UC Irvine Chancellor's Club. "The truth is, I have so many ways to make a fool of myself, I don't need another one," she said Sunday.

So UCI Chancellor Jack Peltason's good-natured wife, dressed in the invitation-prescribed all-white attire, sat with pals under the towering trees that shade Aldrich Park on the campus and talked.

It was that kind of party. If you were handy with a mallet, you could haul yourself out on a manicured green and whack a wooden ball to your heart's content. If not--if supping and sipping were more your style--there was English fare to choose from (watercress sandwiches, for example, and fresh strawberry trifle--served up under snow-white pavilions). And Pimm's cups were presented the classic way, with a splash of soda and a wedge of crisp cucumber.

The man for whom the party was named managed to do it all. "This is a fun day," said Peltason, dapper in his "all whites."

"People of all ages can do well at this game," he said.

Stephanie Tenney, winner of the highest score with her partner, Bill Schmidtendorf, agreed.

"You don't have to have any skill," said the UCI alum, laughing. "It's all a matter of luck!"

Tenney loved the annual affair, she said, "because I get to dress up, and I don't have to sweat a lot."

"Croquet on the Green" was instituted two years ago to bring something traditional to the campus, said Cindy Kramarz, director of the Chancellor's Club. "We wanted to use the park, and we wanted to do something that had a different twist."

The goal of the club, Kramarz said, is to raise $425,000 in the coming year for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships and faculty research projects.

There are two levels of giving in the Chancellor's Club. Regular members donate $1,250 per year. Members of the Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. Society donate $2,500 annually.

Los Angeles Times Articles