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Ann Conway

Crazy for Their Friendship : Musical Co-Stars Dance Together at Work and Mingle With Center Donors Afterward

August 26, 1993|Ann Conway

She was crazy for him, but Polly (Karen Ziemba) sure gave Bobby (James Brennan) a couple of mean whacks during the second act of "Crazy for You" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night. The production won last year's Tony for best musical.

"It was all stage fighting, of course," Ziemba whispered as she swept into Birraporetti's in Costa Mesa for a post opening-night bash with center board members and donors. "But sometimes I miss and really do slap him. Tonight, it was close ."

Deadpanned Brennan: "I kind of like it."

The musical comedy stars are good friends in real life, Brennan said. "We first worked together nine years ago. People rarely get to work with friends, so this is the best."

The production, a tale about a big-city boy finding love in the Wild West, features George and Ira Gershwin classics such as "Embraceable You," "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "I Got Rhythm."

"I love Gershwin music," said Brennan, who recently completed a stint in the Broadway hit "Me and My Girl." "The lyrics are so sincere and emotionally direct. They just zap you."

The whole show zapped center vice chairman Tim Strader. "It was a perfect show," Strader said. "It had everything--pratfalls, sight gags, a great chorus, a love story, everything. James Brennan was a cross between Fred Astaire and Buster Keaton."

Lois Driggs Aldrin said she liked it better than Andrew Lloyd Webber's new show, "Sunset Boulevard."

"We saw ("Sunset Boulevard") starring Patti LuPone in London the first week it opened," said Aldrin, wife of former astronaut Buzz Aldrin. "It was wonderful but sad. I enjoyed tonight's show more."

Arts activist Shari Esayian was grateful that "Crazy for You" had no message. "It was all laughs and chuckles--a non-thinker," she said.

As party guests chatted about the production (at the center through Sept. 5) they grazed on mushroom and cheese pizza, tortellini, lasagna and tiramisu. Wine, champagne and agua fresca-- a fresh concoction of watermelon, orange and honeydew juices--was available. Party tables were topped with electric-blue cloths sprinkled with silver stars.

Piling her plate with carbs was Lenka Peterson, who played Bobby's ultra-rich (and controlling) mom in the production. "The best thing about show business is you get to do all of the things you'd never do in real life," she said.

Also among guests were the center's executive director, Tom Tomlinson, outgoing center president Tom Kendrick, outgoing center general manager Judy Morr, center secretary Rick Muth with his wife, Nancy (sporting a black dress trimmed with glittered flowers), Elaine Redfield and Georgia Spooner.

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