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Sunday, 2 November, 2008 1:38 PM
Reviewed: 'Say Goodnight Gracie' is a Hit at Detroit's Gem Theatre
Photo by S. Myers
Joel Rooks appears as George Burns in Say Goodnight Gracie, now playing at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.
DETROIT -- "Say Goodnight Gracie" is a hit Broadway play. Joel Rooks plays the character of George Burns, who was actually the only live character on stage. Didi Conn (who played Frenchie on Grease) was the voice of Gracie Allen.
George talked about his life story growing up in the lower East Side of New York City. He was one of 12 children. He was seven when his father died, and left his mother with nothing but 12 children. He, then, was the man of the house and made money by delivering newspapers and working in a store. He loved singing and telling jokes and as he sang in the store, people started leaving him money. That's when he realized he wanted to be in show business.
George talked about getting started as a comedian and needed a partner. That's when Gracie came into the picture. They had an instant chemistry and she hid this illogical logic which was so funny to him. At first it was purely a business relationship until he fell in love with her. One day Gracie called and said her stomach hurt on the right side. It was her appendix. He rushed by her side and stayed til she felt better.
He finally proposed and she thought it was a joke. Finally she agreed. After their marriage in Cleveland, they performed in supper clubs in Jersey and New York City. They were working all the time. There was clips from the real Burns/Allen skits throughout the performance.
fell ill with heart problems and died. George visited Gracie's
grave every week at Forest Lawn Cemetery for over 15 years.
His best friend, Jack Benny, comforted him throughout the
He always said he wanted to live to be 100 years old and perform in England. But when that day came, he fell ill and was bedridden and had to cancel. Shortly after that he died. Now he's in heaven with Gracie. Say Goodnight George. Goodnight.
Overall Grade: A
Say Goodnight Gracie playing at the Gem Theatre through November 16.
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