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Rita Mckenzie

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 1989 | JANICE ARKATOV
Everything's coming up roses for Rita McKenzie in "Call Me Ethel!," a one-woman show about legendary Broadway singer Ethel Merman by McKenzie and Christopher Powich. It opens tonight at the Pasadena Playhouse's Balcony Theatre. "I grew up in New Jersey, across the river from New York City," said McKenzie. "She was in my life from early on. I don't remember ever listening to Broadway music without hearing Ethel. When I started my career, people would say, 'You remind me of a young Ethel Merman--the energy, the vitality.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 1989 | SYLVIE DRAKE, Times Theater Writer
First you hear the voice, talking to us from backstage at the Pasadena Playhouse's Balcony Theatre. And, yes, it sounds just like Ethel Merman. It has the right piercing sound, the flat, nasal vowels, the right brassy inflections. Yet when Rita McKenzie comes out on stage in her one-woman show, "Call Me Ethel!," belting "A Lady With a Song," there is something slightly animatronic in the look-alike. It's Ethel all right and McKenzie, as George Gershwin said of Merman, can also "hold a note longer than Chase Manhattan Bank."
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 1989 | SYLVIE DRAKE, Times Theater Writer
First you hear the voice, talking to us from backstage at the Pasadena Playhouse's Balcony Theatre. And, yes, it sounds just like Ethel Merman. It has the right piercing sound, the flat, nasal vowels, the right brassy inflections. Yet when Rita McKenzie comes out on stage in her one-woman show, "Call Me Ethel!," belting "A Lady With a Song," there is something slightly animatronic in the look-alike. It's Ethel all right and McKenzie, as George Gershwin said of Merman, can also "hold a note longer than Chase Manhattan Bank."
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 1989 | JANICE ARKATOV
Everything's coming up roses for Rita McKenzie in "Call Me Ethel!," a one-woman show about legendary Broadway singer Ethel Merman by McKenzie and Christopher Powich. It opens tonight at the Pasadena Playhouse's Balcony Theatre. "I grew up in New Jersey, across the river from New York City," said McKenzie. "She was in my life from early on. I don't remember ever listening to Broadway music without hearing Ethel. When I started my career, people would say, 'You remind me of a young Ethel Merman--the energy, the vitality.
NEWS
May 27, 2001 | Patt Diroll
Dame Edna Everage's pet possums from show biz were on hand for her L.A. debut at the Shubert Theatre last week. Several lingered for the post-performance fete for the international mega-star, gladiolus fiend and counselor to Royals. Her Dameship, a.k.a. actor Barry Humphries, traded her trademark wisteria wig and sequined chemise for a pink-lined black blazer for the party at the St. Regis Hotel hosted by Venice magazine.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 1, 1988 | A. JAMES LISKA
Is the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Cinegrill nightclub thinking of phasing out cabaret acts? Hotel management denied on Wednesday that it is abandoning the longtime cabaret format, but one of the club's leading talent bookers said he was told that the room's cabaret performances may be ending. The cabaret issue surfaced with the sudden closing in the renovated landmark hotel Sunday of "Call Me Ethel," a critically well-received one-woman show starring Rita McKenzie as Ethel Merman.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 1988 | JANICE ARKATOV
"Don't confuse this with Chekhov," says director Joel Asher of Turgenev's "A Month in the Country," which opens tonight at Theatre 40. "Turgenev was 50 years before Chekhov--and his style of writing was what Chekhov was trying to get away from: that very theatrical, presentational, traditional way of performing. So Turgenev wasn't the revolutionary Chekhov was," he said. "But this does have that wonderful sense of pathos and comic self-involvement that runs through Russian literature."
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 1993 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER CRITIC EMERITUS
The costumes by Bob Mackie might be enough reason to see "Ruthless!," the new show at the Canon Theatre. These are grand, brightly colored overstatements in feathers, froufrou and flimflam, usually topped by cartoonish wigs sprayed into terminal unbreakability (the work of Joann Komin). But then there's more. Like subtle lighting by Michael Gilliam and witty sets by Lawrence Miller.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 1988 | RAY LOYND
Ethel Merman has materialized at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill. She'll be there for two more weeks. Normally, this would be news because La Merm died four years ago. But in the brassy timbre and flapping arms of Rita McKenzie, Merman is alive. It isn't Elvis who's back. It's Ethel. "Call Me Ethel!" is a one-woman, musical-comedy monologue that sandwiches Merman wisecracks and anecdotes between those great Broadway tunes written for her by Porter, Gershwin, Berlin, Styne.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2006 | Philip Brandes, Special to The Times
By conventional critical yardsticks, "Bermuda Avenue Triangle" is a mess. A formulaic sitcom laced with four-letter words about a pair of crotchety widows who find late-blooming romance in a two-timing con man's seductive charms, this crowd-pleaser was a thinly veiled star vehicle for its co-creators, the husband-and-wife team of Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor (the couple also directed).
ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 2005 | David C. Nichols, Special to The Times
The golden age of the American musical is resurrected in "Ethel Merman's Broadway," now shaking the Hermosa Beach Playhouse like a well-tempered jackhammer. Despite some quirks, Rita McKenzie's acclaimed 1992 salute to Broadway's greatest belter is a rip-roaring exercise in devoted replication From her legendary 1930 debut in the Gershwins' "Girl Crazy," throughout her remarkable career, the singing stenographer born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann was a nonesuch.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 1992 | SYLVIE DRAKE, TIMES THEATER CRITIC
OK, so it's derivative, so it'll remind you of Mickey and Judy putting on a show, so it's too long and frequently too busy, so . . . what? Sam Harris and Bruce H. Newberg are on to a potentially good thing with "Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood!," their college-spawned spoof of those lavish Hollywood Busby Berkeley mega-musicals and those chummy stories of old pals sweating it out and making good together.
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