Strings Celebrates the Spirit and Laughter of George Burns
● By Joe Lauber
Photo Courtesy: Strings music Festival
Friday, July 31
Steamboat Springs – George Burns, who spanned over 90 years of American entertainment history, will be alive and kicking — and singing and dancing! — in the Strings Pavilion this summer. Alan Safier stars as the legendary George Burns in Say Goodnight Gracie, a Broadway hit based on the real love story of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen.
The New Yorker calls Say Goodnight Gracie “hilarious!”
“I found myself beaming. You’ll find it irresistible,” says The New York Daily News.
Say Goodnight Gracie was written by multiple Tony Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes and directed by Michael White. With vintage photographs and video clips from Burns’ actual film and television performances, Say Goodnight Gracie brings to life Burns’ fascinating story. The play won the National Broadway Theatre Award for Best Play and was nominated for a Tony Award in the same category.
“Alan Safier’s portrayal of the legendary comedian George Burns ranks among the best. He seems to channel the heart and soul of the cigar-smoking star. Safier IS Burns!” says the Bartlett Performing Arts Center.
In Say Goodnight Gracie, we discover Burns in limbo between this world and the next, unable to join his beloved wife and partner until he gives the command performance of his lifetime. Burns looks back upon his impoverished plucky youth on the Lower East Side of New York, his disastrous but tenacious early years in vaudeville, the momentous day when he met a fabulously talented young Irish girl named Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, their instant chemistry (with his flawless timing a perfect match for her dizziness), his wooing of her, and their rise to the pinnacles of vaudeville, film, radio and television. Allen’s early retirement and untimely death forced Burns to start again in life and in his career. Eventually, he achieved an equal level of success as a solo raconteur and Academy Award-winning actor, portraying everything from Sunshine Boy to Oh, God.
Say Goodnight Gracie is a tender, funny, life-affirming love story, a tour through an American century in the company of George Burns, a man who laughingly lived and loved each day for all it had to offer, until he finally went “gently into that good night” to forever reunite with his beloved Gracie. “You’ll be in heaven yourself, at least for an hour and a half,” raves The New York Times.
Say Goodnight Gracie starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 31, in the Strings Music Pavilion. Reserved seating tickets start at $35, and are available at Strings Music Festival (970-879-5056 x105, www.stringsmusicfestival.com or the box office).