Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

STYLE & CULTURE | SOCIAL CLIMES

Much to ballyhoo

September 14, 2003|Ann Conway | Times Staff Writer

"It's like playing a runaway train!" actress Kandis Chappell said as she swept into the post-performance bash celebrating the opening of "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" at South Coast Repertory. Of course, she was talking about the role of Boo, a conniving and controlling mother desperate to marry off her daughter, Lala, in Alfred Uhry's Tony Award-winning play about a dysfunctional Jewish family in Atlanta, circa 1939. "But she loves her daughter so much and it just comes out in so many wrong ways," added Chappell, a winner of four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for her roles on SCR stages.

Joining fellow actors Blair Sams -- whose brother, John Sams, flew in from Texas to watch her play Lala ("I hadn't seen her in a production since she was at Yale," he said) -- Richard Doyle, Linda Gehringer, Nathan Baesal and Guilford Adams, the actress helped SCR supporters create a little ballyhoo of their own at the launch of the Costa Mesa theater's 40th-anniversary season. On the playlist at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel: serenades by a spirited jazz band, steaming java and French pastries from restaurateur David Wilhelm's new Chat Noir bistro, and a buzz about the play's underlying theme -- the snobbery manifested by German Jews toward Eastern European Jews.

"I liked the educational element of the play," guest Olivia Johnson said at the Sept. 5 bash. "It gave us a look at a world we didn't even know existed." Observed 29-year-old Adams, who played the bigoted Peachy: "I hadn't known there was a disconnect between Russian and German Jews. That was interesting to learn. The timing of this play is before Hitler and Poland, and while all of this snubbing is going on, something much bigger is brewing."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|