Scene: The Festival Amphitheatre in Garden Grove on Monday night, after three-plus hours of uneven performances by celebrities at a GroveShakespeare fund-raiser that paid tribute to the late Joseph Papp.
"Joe Papp, we love you. We love you so much we actually showed up here to listen to everybody tell us how much they loved you."
"You know. The guy from New York who loved Shakespeare and Sally Kirkland."
"You know. The tall blond one in the black see-through and purple sequins."
"You mean Hot Lips?"
"No, that was Loretta Swit."
"Well, thank God for Loretta Swit."
"Yeah. Class act. Sings too."
"How about that Alan what's-his-name?"
"Doesn't sing, though."
"Did you hear what Donna McKechnie said?"
"Was she here?"
"Yeah, for a couple of minutes."
"I had to go call the baby-sitter."
"She said, 'Whether it's in New York City or Orange County, he believed in theater everywhere.' "
"Who said that?"
"Donna McKechnie said Joe Papp said that."
"They should've called it 'The Sally Kirkland Show.' "
"You know. The one who never got off the stage."
"You mean the one who muffed her cues?"
"Yeah. The one who kept saying she was sorry for messing up."
"At least she said she was sorry."
"They all messed up. What about the lighting guy? Couldn't aim a spotlight."
"Did you see how many people left after the intermission?"
"I thought the second half was better than the first half."
"It had Loretta Hot Lips."
"And Lee Meriwether and her husband, Marshall what's-his-name."
"They could sing."
"They were cute. At least you knew they knew their lines."
"Well, the local guys were pretty good. They did all that stuff from Shakespeare and all that stuff about those gay activists."
"And what about Harris Yulin?"
"For a semi-famous guy, he wasn't bad. I liked Gary Armagnac better."
"He's not even semi-famous."
"Harris Yulin is coming to the Grove in September with Ed Asner to do a one-night reading of 'Don Juan in Hell.' "
"Ed Asner's famous."
"Didn't they do that together over in Irvine?"
"Yeah, last May."
"Is Salome Jens famous?"
"They said she'll be doing 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' here in the fall."
"You don't have to be famous for that."
"How many people do you think came tonight?"
"I'd say 300. I counted a lot of empty seats."
"They say they sold 375 tickets."
"Do you believe everything you hear?"
'A Midsummer Night's Eve at the Grove III'
A GroveShakespeare presentation, produced and directed by W. Stuart McDowell. With Jonelle Allen, Gary Armagnac, Marshall Borden, Beverly Bremers, Charles Carroll, Alan Feinstein, Harry Frazier, Salome Jens, Sally Kirkland, Ted Lange, Benjamin Livingston, Alan Mandell, Donna McKechnie, Lee Meriwether, Loretta Swit, Matthew Walker, Susan Watson and Harris Yulin. Pianist: Kathy Rubbicco.