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Theatre & Dance

“A REALLY BIG SHEW”: A Tribute to Ed Sullivan


February 10, 2003 :: No. 149

Who: PAIR (Professional Artists in Residence) Celebrity Series presents
What: “A REALLY BIG SHEW”: A Tribute to Ed Sullivan
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, 2003 (one performance only)
Where: Plummer Auditorium, 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton

“A Really Big Shew” is billed as “The too-big-for-TV tribute to the number one variety show of all time.”

Starring Jerry Hoban (“Pulp Fiction”) as ‘Ed Sullivan,’ this ultimate variety show is a staged recreation of a national television broadcast, with the local theatre audience playing the role of the studio audience.

Ed Sullivan

Jerry Hoban as 'Ed Sullivan'

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In addition to Hoban, “A Really Big Shew” features a cast of musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, impressionists and specialty performers including:
• The Amazing Dario – International juggler Dario Vazquez
• Gailyn Addis as ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘Liza Minnelli’
• Cameron’s Magical Comedy
• Scot Bruce as ‘Elvis’
• Contortionist Extraordinaire Leslie Tipton
• Ed Alonzo, The Misfit of Magic
•The Comedy and Adagio Dance Team of James & Kathy Taylor
• Topo Gigio, the Italian Mouse

Marilyn Monroe Liza Minelli

Gailyn Addis as ‘Marilyn Monroe’

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Gailyn Addis as ‘Liza Minnelli’

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Scot Bruce    

Scot Bruce as ‘Elvis’

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To further augment the “broadcast,” “A Really Big Shew” will include screenings of vintage commercials from the era.

This production has been showcased in such venues as the Las Vegas Hilton, Reno Hilton and the Atlantic City Tropicana as well as theatres and arts centers across the country.

The original television variety show hosted by Ed Sullivan ran on CBS for over two decades from 1948-1971. It was unparalleled as a showcase for popular arts and culture. A sampling of the people who made their American television debuts on his show includes Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Dinah Shore, Albert Schweitzer, Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire, and. probably most famously, The Beatles. Sullivan made a ratings coup for the appearance of young, hip-swiveling Elvis Presley. His show was an undisputed American institution.

'A Really Big Shew' dancers

'A Really Big Shew' dancers

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Often, television hosts are charming on camera, but Ed Sullivan was just the opposite: pasty in the bright lights, shifty in his stance and notorious for bungling introductions and monologues. But ironically, that high discomfort factor created a novelty effect and strengthened his TVQ persona. Off-camera Sullivan was a brilliant tracker and arranger of talent. A “variety show” always has variety, but nothing was as eclectic as the mish-mash that Sullivan put together, from puppet shows to grand opera. Beginning his media career as a sportswriter, he took over famous gossip man Walter Winchell’s syndicated column and then hosted live benefits, shows and his own radio broadcasts. In 1948 CBS hired him to host its first variety show endeavor, a new format that combined vaudeville and television, nicknamed “vaudeo.” The show was called “The Toast of the Town.” It literally showcased “something for everyone.”

'A Really Big Shew' dancers

'A Really Big Shew' dancers

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The critics were rough on Ed Sullivan. They lambasted him for his wooden hosting style and the scattershot tone of his guest menageries. But the show did well anyway, and in 1955 its names was changed to “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It continued its CBS run for another 16 years.

Tickets: Advance sales $25 & $30 ($2-off on advance sales with Titan discount — full time students, senior citizens or CSUF ID). At the door all tickets $25 & $30.
Box Office: Performing Arts Center box office 657-278-3371 (11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mondays-Fridays) or 24/7 on the Internet at www.tickets.com.
Internet Sites: www.pair.fullerton.edu
Media Contact: Elizabeth Champion, College of the Arts at 657-278-2434

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