Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three Notes and Two Beautiful Women

Posted by Bruce Miller
What was the best thing about last night’s Home for the Holidays benefit cabaret? Betty Ann Grove (pictured in her heyday to the right) was there—all smiles, looking like a million bucks and back in Richmond once again. We almost lost her to New Jersey, but turns out this Broadway Baby is a true Richmonder after all. When it came time to return home for the holidays, Richmond was the home that called to her the most.

You may remember that not too long ago we said “God Speed, not Goodbye” to Betty Ann (Oct 7, 2007), as she moved to the Actors Home in New Jersey. It was one of those moves that was supposed to be forever. Years ago, when Betty Ann was starring on Broadway, her dear mother had moved into the Actors Home and lived quite happily within commuting distance of NYC. And so Betty Ann thought that she too would be happy there.

But that was then. “When I got there, I couldn’t find anyone who would smile,” Betty Ann said last night. (That's B A again in the pic to the right, beaming down at her TV co-star Bert Parks.) More importantly, her “family”—that’s all of us, my friends—and her heart were here in River City. After making this discovery, she quickly called her old landlords in Richmond and re-leased the same apartment that she had released not more than a few weeks ago. “If I’d called two days later it would have been gone,” she said. She trundled her downsized possessions back to town, bought a replacement sofa at The Dump, and re-established the old homestead.

We couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve already made her promise to sing a number at next year’s benefit cabaret.

What was the weirdest thing that happened last night? Well, it all began just as we were about to open the house. A nice older gentleman who arrived early to see the show walked up to one of our veteran actresses, who shall remain nameless. (It was not Audra Honaker or Janine Serresseque, pictured to the left). The actress looked gorgeous by the way in her sparkling cabaret get-up. “Has anyone ever told you you’re aging?” he asked. Both the actress and I, who happened to be standing nearby, thought we had misunderstood. “Excuse me,” she said.

“I’ve been watching you on stage and on television for years and years,” he continued. Then he proceeded to recall performances and commercials from the 70s, 80s and on. Our beloved actress smiled and nodded along, and as I remembered those same performances that he was recalling, I couldn’t help but look at her and think how unbelievably young and beautiful she was. “So, I just can’t believe you’re aging,” he said.

“Ageless,” she blurted out, diplomatically determining to keep that beautiful smile on her face. “I’m going to take it that what you’re meaning to say is ‘you’re ageless.’ And thank you for that.”

“I can’t believe you’re aging,” he repeated, with a huge admiring grin.

I’m convinced he was trying to be complimentary. Obviously he hasn’t spent a lot of time around actresses. Or a dictionary.

On a third note, our hearts go out to Durron Tyree, whose grandfather passed away yesterday morning. Durron has had to bow out of these final two performances to be with his family. We miss him. He was one of the four new voices in this year’s cabaret, and added immeasurably to the performance. I hope he’ll join us again next year.

Tonight’s Home for the Holidays benefit concert is SOLD OUT! Thanks to one and all for making this year’s fundraiser a HUGE success.

--Bruce Miller


Jacquie O. said...

I agree with you Bruce, the actress you are referring to is just lovely...and looks pretty hot for a woman in her 30’s (like me!)

Larry Cook said...

Our Betty Anne is back...it shall truly be a joyous Christmas...

Janine Serresseque said...

I was ever so glad to see our Betty Ann Monday night. She really brings a touch of class to our crazy theatre family!

Anonymous said...

You guys are all classy, and ageless.

Thanks for wonderful performances.