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INTO THE NIGHT / JEANNINE STEIN

How the West Coast Was Won Over

July 16, 1993|JEANNINE STEIN

The Scene: Opening night of "The Will Rogers Follies" at the Pantages Theatre on Wednesday, where a packed house loaded with industry types enjoyed the lively, fluffy musical enough to give lead Keith Carradine and the cast a standing ovation.

The event, including a post-show buffet dinner in the lobby, was a benefit for the KCET Women's Council, which helps fund the public-television station. Those who had never been to the Pantages were as impressed with the beauty of the theater as with the show on its stage.

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Who Was There: Dick Van Dyke, Goldie Hawn, Charles Bronson, Richard and Lili Zanuck, Carol Burnett, Juliet Prowse, Imogene Coca, Frank Stallone, Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark, Red Buttons, Angie Dickinson, Robert Carradine, the Del Rubio Triplets, Carol Channing, Karl Malden and Robert Stack; plus Women's Council President Betty Deutsch and benefit Chairwoman Linda Janger and KCET board of directors President Bill Kobin, Chairman Eric Johnson and Executive Vice President Don Youpa..

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Dress: "Western or casual attire" read the invitation, keeping with the musical's Western theme. This suited an L.A. audience, since few people here dress for much of anything anymore.

The dress code was also tailor-made for those whose closets were stuffed with pricey Ralph Lauren duds, Stetsons and museum-quality American Indian jewelry bought during the last big Southwest trend.

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Chow: Rococo's "festive Western supper" included chili, stew, chicken on skewers, chips with salsa and guacamole and a dessert table laden with brownies, cake and fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The near-famished theatergoers dived for the food the minute they entered the lobby.

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Quoted: "It's a feel-good show," said Hawn, there with her daughter, Kate Hudson.

"This is an old-fashioned show," said Van Dyke. "They tried to make it look like the Ziegfeld Follies, which I never saw, but I assume that that's what they were like. Lots of beautiful showgirls. You walk out feeling good."

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Noted: Did Carradine feel more pressure with an opening-night audience filled with Hollywood types?

"Yeah, there's a little more on it," he said. "You figure they're going to be a little more sophisticated, a little more discerning, and you're anxious to please."

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He's an Actor, He's an Activist!: "What we have to do in this town is bring Hollywood Boulevard back," said Carradine. "I mean, when you look at places like Santa Monica and Melrose, those places have come back. There's no reason why we can't do it here, where the history is."

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Money Matters: The $200-per-person event netted $140,000.

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