George and Gracie: The Final Bow – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

If you are into good 10 cent cigars and silly and corny jokes, a soft show routine reminiscent of Vaudeville, a few bars of a sentimental song slightly off key, and a romance of a pair who fit together like a hand suits a glove, look no further than the sweet blending of comedy and craziness that marked the marriage and partnership on radio and television of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Until Sunday, May 14, you are invited to pull up a comfy seat and sit back and relive some of the funniest and most celebrated moments of these comedy icons whose work ended after 291 episodes on television in 1958. Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is in a nostalgic mood and you are in for a treat with “George and Gracie: The Final Bow.”

Artistic Director Semina De Laurentis has scoured the television annals and put together five skits that feature George and Gracie at their best, with gentle and simple humor in unusual situations that are sure to engender laughter. Who but Gracie could decide to purchase three dozen pair of glasses for all her friends and neighbors to convince George that he would look distinguished with his new appearance or become a waitress so a woman could make her boy friend jealous enough to finally propose marriage? Gracie even believed a fortune teller that she must divorce George in order to remarry him and also to change her name to help the family improve. She even interferes to help her son Ronnie gain enough self confidence to play Cyrano de Bergerac in his drama school play.

Gracie is created with perfection by Semina De Laurentis and paired with R. Bruce Connelly’s smooth straight man persona. Together they are a delight, especially when they sing and dance “I Love Her.” Helping the pair are Sarah Knapp as next door neighbor Blanche Morton with hubby Harry played by John Swanson, Tom Chute as their business partner Harry Von Zell, James Donohue as everyone from eye doctor to waiter, Scott Kealey as head of the drama school and attorney, Marcia Maslo as the waitress Alice and the Morton’s niece, Tori Sperry as Lola, Linda and the waitress and Jonathan Zalaski as their son Ronnie, the budding dramatic actor. Julia Kiley directs this look back to a kinder and gentler time.

For tickets ($44-49 ), call Seven Angels Theatre, Plank Road, Waterbury at 203- 757-4676 or online at Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come reminise with Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen better known as Gracie Allen and Nathan Birnbaum better known as George Burns as they, for the last time, share their tales of humor and life for your entertainment as George requests “Say good night, Gracie.”