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Is everybody HAPPY? Michael Irvin Pollard and Susan Maris have some agonizing reappraisals as after-dinner mints, in Robert Caisley’s drama going up at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. (photo by SuzAnne Barabas)
It’s been an effective device of stage drama since long before Banquo busted up Macbeth’s banquet: The Dinner Party — where guests get oiled, skeletons get rattled, toasts get testy and the plot gets thickened as lumpy gravy.
An invitation to dinner — with all the dramatic dyspepsia that entails — is at the heart of Happy, the new ensemble piece that makes its regional debut this week at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. In it, a well adjusted middle aged guy named Alfred and his wife Melinda are asked to break bread at the home of Alfred’s friend Eduardo — with the intent of meeting Eduardo’s new girlfriend, Eva, a “sexy 22 year old artist with a dark soul,” and an outlook that catalyzes the party into an affair where “truths get twisted, secrets get revealed,” and the whole soiree “becomes an evening that spins wildly out of control.”
Happy is being presented as a so-called “rolling” world premiere — a play that presents a series of separate “premiere” stagings in different cities, with different casts and directors — by the National New Play Network. Playwright Robert Caisley has been traveling the country, looking in on the previous productions in Montana, Florida and California — and the Idaho-based academic landed recently in downtown Long Branch, where director and NJ Rep co-founder SuzAnne Barabas has assembled a cast that he praises as top-notch.
The central character of Alfred is played here by an actor who’s a member of the NJ Rep stock company if ever there was one: the ever-versatile Michael Irvin Pollard, whose previous co-star turns have included roles as slightly surreal desk jockeys in Big Boys and Ten Percent of Molly Snyder; a wayward hubby in Apple; a couple of tactiturn strangers with dark secrets in Dead Ringer and Yankee Tavern; a suit ‘n tie patsy in Night Train, and a convicted pedophile in Release Point. He’s joined by Mark Light-Orr as Eduardo, Susan Maris as Eva and Wendy Peace as Melinda.
Will NJ Rep have another winner on its hands? Will Alfred forget Eva and find true happiness? And what about Melinda?? For the answers, your upperWETside correspondent dispensed with the questions, and let Robert Caisley fill us in on the origins, and the real meaning of Happy. Read on…
Tony nominee Michael Cumpsty (left) is at the center of a “vortex of neurosis,” as Noel Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER comes to Two River Theater in a production directed by FRASIER co-creator David Lee (right).
Just about one year ago, actor Michael Cumpsty — then a Tony nominee for his role as Judy Garland’s accompanist in the Broadway engagement of End of the Rainbow — stood on the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater and introduced the project that “will bring me back to Red Bank, which is where I want to be.”
The project in question is Present Laughter, the 1942 comedy by the multifaceted Sir Noël Coward, and a play that Cumpsty described as being about “an aging matinee idol, who throws everyone around him into a vortex of neurosis…kind of like (my) life.”
Beginning June 1 and for the next three weekends, the British-born veteran of more than 20 Broadway shows (and screen parts that include Nucky Thompson’s associate Father Ed Brennan on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) steps into the role of Garry Essendine — frothy farceur, master manipulator, debonair devil, and a character written by Coward as “a bravura part” for himself.
Cumpsty, who shares a Middletown home with Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias, made his Two River debut in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in 2011. In Present Laughter, he lords over an unofficial family unit of Essendine associates that comprises secretary Monica (fellow Tony nominee Veanne Cox), producer Hugo (Mark Capri), manager Morris (James Riordan) and ex-wife Liz (Kaitlin Hopkins), inside his apartment domain, and on the threshold of a grueling African tour.
Serving to further complicate the proceedings are the appearances (anticipated and otherwise) of a gallery of supporting characters that include aspiring playwright Roland (Cole Escola of Logo TV’s Jeffery & Cole Casserole), ambitious female fan Daphne (Hayley Treider), her society aunt (Robin Mosely), as well as Garry’s secret affair — and Hugo’s wife — Joanna (Leighton Bryan). Directing the large cast is a master of ensemble television comedy, multiple Emmy winner David Lee of Frasier and Wings fame.
Your upperWETside correspondent spoke to Michael Cumpsty about following in the bedroom-slippered footsteps of the formidable Coward (plus dozens of other grand actors of stage and screen), as he explores the essence of Essendine. Read on…
Fred Grandy (right, with Christian Pedersen) — he of both Gopher and US Congress fame — makes like Olivier in Anthony Shaffer’s SLEUTH now playing at Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven. Photos by CHASE HEILMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Long-time supporters and observers of Surflight Theatre — Beach Haven’s can-do professional purveyor of crowdpleasing entertainments — might be forgiven for believing that the LBI landmark exists beneath some colossal jinx cloud, Job-like test of faith, or Richard Bachman gypsy curse.
The venerable venue very nearly entered the realm of bygone nostalgia a few years back following a bout with suffocating debt and bankruptcy — an interlude from which it emerged under the too-brief tenure of producing artistic director Roy Miller at the start of the 2011 season. Before departing Surflight the following year, Miller — whose sudden passing a few weeks back seems to be part and parcel of the theatre’s trials and tribulations — rolled out his great big Rolodex of connections and packed the playhouse’s “comeback” season with personalities that ranged from Justin Guarini to Judd Hirsch; Dawn (Mary Ann) Wells and Cindy (Shirley) Williams; Laugh-In’s Jo Ann Worley and Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb.
A 2012 fire at a neighboring restaurant that also damaged the Surflight property would appear to have signaled the theatre’s ultimate phoenix-like rise from the ashes — but then along came Sandy. The Octo-pocalypse, its winds and waters of mass destruction — and the long dark aftermath of utility outages, inaccessible neighborhoods and transportation issues — put a piercing exclamation point on a lousy year; ensuring the cancellation of the Christmas production and casting all prospects for 2013 in deluge-dampened doubt.
Still, springtime saw the re-emergence of the Surflight brand under executive director Ken Myers with a newly rebuilt stage and shop, a work-in-progress renovation campaign (to which Broadway legend and serial Tony winner Tommy Tune contributes a benefit concert later this month), and a full slate of productions that kicked off in April with an earlybird salue to ABBA.
Beginning tonight and opening officially on Thursday, May 9, the 2013 Surflight season continues with a new staging of Sleuth, the Tony’d-up, twisted-inside-out, drawing room mystery by Anthony Shaffer that’s directed here by Clayton Philips and starring another familiar face from countless TV nights — none other than The Love Boat‘s affably goofy Gopher, Fred Grandy.
It’s a decidedly different characterization for the actor — that of one Andrew Wyke, successful British author of detective novels and smoking-jacketed lord of a country manor that’s choked to the gills with bizarre antique toys, slightly sadistic games and potential traps around every rococo corner. It’s there in this house of mystery that the grandiose gentleman coerces his wife’s lover, playboy hairdresser Milo Tindle (Christian Pedersen, sensational in New Jersey Rep’s Dead Ringer) into a grand deception that twists and turns upon each of the principals in ways that can only truly be appreciated by losing one’s self in the deliciously nasty play’s world of murderously good manners and oppressively eccentric atmosphere.
It turns out that the regional theater thing is also a new twist to the Grandy resume. The Iowa-born Harvard grad — a lifelong Republican whose first widescale public exposure was his role as best man for the wedding of his friend David Eisenhower to Presidential daughter Julie Nixon — served four full terms as a United States Congressman, serving on the House Ways and Means Committee and stepping away from elective politics following an unsuccessful bid for the governorship of the Hawkeye State.
A career as a reliably right-wing commentator followed, on outlets that ranged from National Public Radio to D.C. area talk station WMAL — with the host of The Grandy Group program (an editorializer against Islamicization, for whom the phrase “Shariah-compliant” is an oft-wielded verbal cudgel) resigning amid a broadcast brouhaha involving statements made on-air by his wife Catherine Mann-Grandy. It was a kerfuffle during which supporters of Grandy (who serves these days on the executive staff at Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy) branded even conservative WMAL as “Shariah-compliant.”
With a brief interview window between intensive rehearsals of Sleuth, Grandy and your upperWETside correspondent left the politics to fester like seaweed on the Ocean County beaches, and spoke of sitcom signatures and of Sleuth, the vehicle by which the GOPher emerges from the burrow of prolonged showbiz hibernation. Read on…
Reunited once more for their most ambitious tour in over 25 years, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong take it to the boards of the Count Basie on May 1, for an evening of mirth, music and munchie-inducing classic routines.
Is this any way to observe 420 Day? If you’re the elder stoner statesmen Cheech and Chong, you’ve spent that nationwide celebration of cannabis culture in seemingly uncharacteristic fashion — up before the sun, doing tightly scheduled rounds of press, and interfacing with fans on social media platforms that range from Facebook and Twitter, to Pinterest and everything short of Christian Mingle.
Truth be told, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong have a collective work ethic that’s seen them embrace new tech, new formats and new channels of distribution almost as fast as they’re dreamed up — and, with their first big tour in over 25 years now underway, the Grammy winning kings of most media have a lot of lost time to make up.
On the night of Wednesday, May 1, Cheech and Chong’s Third Reunion Tour finds the gold-plated “cult” stars of stage, screen and stereos heading into Red Bank, for an 8 pm appearance at the Count Basie Theatre in which the pair recreate many of the classic, bongwater-basted sketch routines from their smash comedy records of the 1970s — a post-Woodstock era that routinely saw single releases like “Basketball Jones,” “Earache My Eye” and “Sister Mary Elephant” crashing the Top 40 charts (and causing as much angst among radio programmers as among parents of the nation’s easily corrupted youth).
It’s a debut for the duo, in the borough that claims a couple of their spiritual offspring — Jay and Silent Bob — as “homegrown” favorites. It’s also a chance for the veteran comedy team to promote the first new Cheech and Chong project in a generation — the soundtrack to the feature-length Cheech and Chongs Animated Movie!, with nine all-new songs augmenting a cartoonified collection of vintage vignettes from such discs as Cheech & Chong’s Wedding Album, Los Cochinos, and Big Bambu (coincidentally, Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! kicked off its tour of screenings and podcasts on 4/20).
With Marin having stretched his mainstream chops in recent years (through projects that ranged from playing cops on network TV series, to producing a series of children’s music albums) — and with Chong’s intermittent screen appearances overshadowed by a controversial 2003 federal prison sentence (documented in detail here) for selling drug paraphernalia online — the stock characters of the street-savvy Chicano and the eternal hippie look to take on new dimensions of time and tide and life experience.
4/20 came and went without a scheduled phone interview — but an apologetic Chong called upperWETside the following evening to bring us up to date. Flip the record over for more, man…
In the hands of its creator, it’s a thrill ride unlike any other; a midway attraction that clatters up a rollercoaster track in Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park — and hurtles down the other side on a grim pilgrimage to the concentration camps at Auschwitz.
Although it lasts a bit longer than its title suggests, 2.5 Minute Ride is an experience that’s more of a trip through time than space — a “funny, complex meditation on tragedy, grief and family” that unfolds exclusively through the spoken word performance of Lisa Kron, the play’s sole cast member and the author who netted an Obie Award during its inaugural Ride in 1999.
Returning to the one-woman show for the first time in five years — and reuniting with Mark Brokaw, who directed that 1999 production at NYC’s Public Theater — Kron comes to Two River Theater for a new staging that opens this weekend and continues through the second week in May. Going up inside the mainstage Rechnitz Theater at the Bridge Avenue artspace, it’s a Ride that also re-teams the Tony nominee with Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias, who co-produced the Broadway production of her play Well in 2010.
Antoinette LaVecchia, Nick Lehane, Lizbeth Mackay, Lucy DeVito and Steven Skybell in THE ELECTRIC BABY, the ensemble drama by Stefanie Zadravec now onstage at Two River Theater. (Photos by T. Charles Erickson)
The TV/film actor turned playwright found herself spending even more time in the city when one of her twin sons was referred for treatment to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh — and Zadravec writes eloquently here on how being the parent of a seriously ill child served to illuminate the development of what was then a work-in-progress script. Opening officially with a sold-out performance this Friday, April 19, The Electric Baby is one of two shows running through the early part of May at Two River — and part of an exciting slate of events as the 2012-2013 season enters its heated homestretch.
They told me there was a broken light for every heart on Broadway…and when the play called NOIR hits the stage in downtown Long Branch, you can take it to the bank that a femme fatale and a greenhorn gumshoe had better keep aware of their surroundings. (photo by SuzAnne Barabas)
The “Middletown side of Red Bank,” they call it. That place just across the river where the sidewalk races your dreams to see which one can run out faster than a rube’s luck at a find-the-lady table. It wasn’t much to look at — a couple of beaten-down country clubs, a little roadside joint called Nick’s or somesuch — but as I slid over Cooper’s Bridge I picked up a faceful of north wind that damn near knocked my hat into the drink, and reminded me that I wasn’t exactly enjoying this view from behind the glass of a vodka Collins at the Pearl Lounge.
I’d come to this godforsaken little acre to check out a tip from Gabe the Hungarian, a character I knew from too many nights spent down on the dark end of Broadway Long Branch — a neighborhood that’d long since been given over to the odd bit of Leon Rainbow graffiti and the occasional zombie flick. The Hungarian and his missus, who pretty much had the whole block to do with as they pleased after hours, were in the business of putting on certain types of entertainments for certain discerning customers, at a little out-of-the-way establishment called New Jersey Repertory Company — and their “opening night receptions” were the kind of near-legendary wingdings that I for one wouldn’t miss for the world.
Seems that a lawyer by the name of Stan Werse had come to them some weeks back, with a story so far-fetched that it naturally intrigued my Hungarian friend into pondering whether he could do business with this tall stranger who drove a late-model Chrysler with a kiddie seat strapped into the back. I asked Gabe for the facts, just the facts, and he riffed to the effect that “Andrews has left town, Klein is dead, Lydecker is dead, Betty…well she’s still alive, but someone has beat the pretty off her. Clay Holden has his first big chance as a detective…but this is one case that he may not want to solve.”
He showed me a folder that the counselor had left with him, marked only with a single word on the front: NOIR. I told him I’d look into this Werse guy, mostly as a favor, and set off down the block to see Ingrid at the Free Public Library.
My request to grab some interwebs time was met with a little European ice, although things warmed up considerably after I paid my fine for never bringing back the Wally Stroby novel I checked out in 2009. An online once-over told me that our attorney friend was strictly on the square — lifelong Jersey guy, State Bar Association, Widener School of Law, former prosecutor, municipal public defender in places like Middletown, Tinton Falls, Union Beach — and that he “loves politics and is an accomplished Playwright.”
Hot-botting the word “Noir,” I landed on the Asbury Pulp site and learned that it’s “a conflation of two phenomena” that says in essence, “doom is cool. You just met a woman, you had your first kiss, you’re six weeks away from the gas chamber, you’re fucked, and you’re happy about it.”
I scratched the skintag on the back of my neck and stared at the screen while the Freep staff made noises about closing up. Something about this whole business had taken a turn for the Werse, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Sure, the public defender was hardly the first solid citizen to have developed a taste for the darker side of Noir — to slip out of the suburban house for a dance with that lurid and seedy genre of empowered temptresses and damaged anti-heroes and streets lit only by the embers of an unfiltered Chesterfield — but it still didn’t add up. Why would a hard-working professional and respectable family man risk everything, just to throw in for a couple of hours with characters like a bitter and cynical cop, a mystery woman and “a not-as-dumb-as-he-looks resident enforcer?” And why in Sam Hill would he use his real name? I grabbed my hat and decided to pay a visit to our playwright.
In an interview that appeared right here on the upperWETside last year, stage/screen actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson told us, “Being involved with the work of August Wilson changes people. People of all colors, all religions, all backgrounds… he brings them into an arena and sends them out changed.”
The specialist in all things Wilson (a Tony winner for his performance in 1995′s Seven Guitars) was at Red Bank’s Two River Theater to oversee rehearsals for a new production of August Wilson’s Jitney, the ensemble drama that keynoted the late playwright’s development as a major voice in modern American theater — the kind who can justify getting his name above the title, and his picture on the poster. As the director so succinctly put it, “August Wilson IS the star.”
Set in a rundown Pittsburgh taxi station in the 1970s, Jitney was chronologically the eighth play in what’s commonly known as Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle; an epic ten-part series that examines the African American experience in the 20th century — one snap-shotted decade at a time — in ways that are alternately tragic, comic, mystical, musical, realistic, hardbitten, hopeful, and maybe all of the above.
That acclaimed and extended run of Jitney found Santiago-Hudson assembling a top-notch cast highlighted by fellow Tony winner Chuck Cooper (who also co-starred in Two River Theater Company’s musical premiere In This House), along with Anthony Chisholm (who originated the role of Fielding and reprised it in Red Bank), plus Harvy Blanks, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams. All of these Wilson veterans are back on the Two River boards this month, as TRTC returns to Pittsburgh’s Hill District for a major new production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running.
Set amid the social upheaval and forced “urban renewal” of the late 1960s — and playing out inside a shabby diner set design by Michael Carnahan — Two Trains unfolds as diner owner Memphis (Cooper) ponders the prospect of the city buying him out of his fast-fading business, home to a gallery of vivid local characters, and workplace of the embittered and elusive object of desire named Risa (Ruff). Among the members of the extended “diner family” are neighborhood undertaker West (Blanks), philosophical Holloway (Williams) — and apparent derelict Hambone (Chisholm), a character trapped with an obsession over some long-ago slight involving a promised payment of a ham.
Into this dreary tableau come a couple of characters portrayed by actors who are making their Two River debuts. Owiso Odera (who worked with the director in a San Francisco staging of Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean) plays Sterling, a young ex-convict with an optimistic set of dreams, if not the dollars to fulfill them — and John Earl Jelks (who was Tony nominated for playing an older version of that same Sterling in Wilson’s Radio Golf) appears as the slick numbers runner named Wolf.
Your upperWETside correspondent got delayed a bit by Two Trains Crossing at station stop Little Silver, but managed to pull into Red Bank for a whistle-stop interview with Owiso Odera. Mind the closing doors…
Carol Todd and Michael Samuel Kaplan co-star in ANTS, the comedy by Saviana Stanescu that makes its world premiere run beginning February 7 at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch. (photo by SuzAnne Barabas)
Her fabulous folio of full-length and one-act plays includes Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, in which an unemployed clown from (fictional but extremely unhappy) Moldava desperately avoids deportation while bonding with other lost souls in New York City. Aurolac Blues, in which “Two Gypsy street-kids, high on Aurolac (a silver-paint that’s huffed from plastic bags), dream of an America they know from movies and McDonalds leftovers.” Waxing West, in which a Romanian cosmetologist’s new life in NYC is complicated by the appearance of executed Soviet-era dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, who happen to be vampires.
She’s Bucharest-born Saviana Stanescu, and if you’re discerning a pattern in her body of work, it’s probably a good time to mention that Ants, her play that goes into previews on Thursday, February 7 at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, involves a couple of sisters who’ve emigrated from an Eastern European country.
Beyond that, all bets are delightfully off, as the offbeat three-character comedy goes its own way, via a storyline that centers around the relationship between factory worker (and older sister) Kara, her younger, dependent student sibling (and brilliant biochemist) Mia, an academic associate, and a whole lot of endlessly fascinating ants.
Those titular critters are the subject of study for Mia (Maria Silverman) and Dr. Kohn (Michael Samuel Kaplan), who are endeavoring to perfect a process via which worker ants can be converted into queens. That lifestyle of pure research is threatened, however, when Kara (the great NJ Rep stock company regular Carol Todd) is hit by a double whammy — she’s lost her job, and she’s pregnant. It’s up to Mia, never exactly a people person, to enact “a radical solution to save the lifestyle she has almost grown to love, her sister’s teetering sanity, and her beloved ants.”
Actor and director Jeff Zinn — whose late father was Howard Zinn, celebrated author of A People’s History of the United States, and whose cuban-heeled shoes can be seen standing in for John Travolta in the opening moments of Saturday Night Fever — wrangles the human members of the cast in a show that’s being described as a “quirky comedy…with an accent.”
Your upperWETside correspondent spoke to Stanescu — a faculty member at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, as well as at Ithaca College — while she headed back to sunny Ithaca, NY following a stimulating interlude of looking in on rehearsals, laughing and watching movies with NJ Rep’s Gabe and SuzAnne…
For a generation of TV-suckled tweens coming of awkward age at the turn of That 70s Decade, the character played by Sally Struthers for 30 minutes a week on CBS was a touchstone. A bright and bubbly girl-next-door growing up before our eyes, on the cusp of a new era of truly modern womanhood. An only child, venturing out into a fast-changing new social order, in a way that often created conflict with the rather prehistoric worldview of the father whose roof she lived under.
We’re talking of course about the teenaged Pebbles Flintstone, the vitaminized va-va-voom given voice by Ms. Struthers in the Saturday morning standby The Pebbles & Bamm Bamm Show. On weeknights when the little ones were put to bed, however, Sally Struthers could be seen AND heard as Gloria, daughter to Archie and Edith Bunker (and wife of Mike “Meathead” Stivic) in producer Norman Lear’s rulebook-ripping sitcom All in the Family.
It’s a role that won the Portland, Oregon native a pair of Emmys; a role that she’d reprise on the short-lived spinoff series Gloria — and a role that placed the twentysomething comic actress, dancer and voice artist on the front lines of some of the hardest-fought (and in many cases, still unresolved) cultural battles of the American century.
Sally Struthers would make a few memorable impressions on the big screen (notably a couple of sexy, strumpety, sideboob/ topless turns in Five Easy Pieces and The Getaway), but it was on the color-console Quasar that she ruled supreme; with some high-profile TV movies (A Gun in the House, The Great Houdinis), more distinctive voice work (Dinosaurs, Tom & Jerry Kids), and even more regular parts on series from 9 to 5 to Still Standing to The Gilmore Girls.
During commercial breaks, her spokesperson work for International Correspondence Schools and (especially) for the Christian Children’s Fund made her a broad target for parody and/or pillory by everyone from In Living Color to Grey’s Anatomy — and South Park, whose caricatures of her on the “Starvin’ Marvin” episodes were the most brutal since, well, pretty much every other celebrity who’s ever been name-checked on the show.
Sally Struthers had another milieu, however — the theatrical stage, a potentially scary and challenging place that’s kicked the ass of many an overreaching tube star (we’re looking at you, Jeremy Piven). It’s there that she originated the role of “Florence Ungar” in the original Broadway run of Neil Simon’s female Odd Couple; that she co-starred in major revivals of Annie and Grease; that she crisscrossed the continent on big-time national tours, and found a particular specialty with a little show by the name of Always, Patsy Cline.
The two-character comedy-drama with music is the vehicle that brings Sally Struthers to the Upper Wet Side of NJ, when she comes to Manasquan’s venerable Algonquin ARTS Theatre for a two-weekend stand that kicks off Friday night, January 25, and continues through February 3. And no, she won’t be playing Patsy Cline.
In the script by playwright Ted Swindley, our gal Sal appears as Louise Seger, a real-life Texas hausfrau who befriended the iconic country-pop star in the two years before the singer’s life was cut short in a 1963 plane crash. Working with ace producer Owen Bradley, the big-voiced songbird perfected a space-age, cocktail-party Nashville sound that brought an “uptown” vibe to such epic vignettes of heartbreak and devotion as “Sweet Dreams,” “I Go to Pieces,” “She’s Got You” and “Crazy.”
All these signature hits and more — from Hank Williams (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”) to Cole Porter (“True Love”) — will be performed with the accompaniment of a live band by Broadway veteran (and, we kid you not, the voice of Amazon’s Kindle Fire) Carter Calvert. The versatile vocalist and voice artist will be called upon to channel the boisterous public figure who called herself “The Cline,” while giving a glimpse of the tragedy-beset woman whose loneliness in the midst of acclaim drew her to a long-running correspondence with the somewhat wacky pen-pal uberfan from Houston.
UpperWETside spoke to Sally Struthers, as she prepared to approach her 1000th performance in Always, Patsy Cline — and who’s gone on record as having “found a way to make Louise over the top…I don’t know if it works for everyone, but it works for me.”