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Entertainment Review:

"Nightingale "


by Karen Salkin

Go to Karen's Restaurant reviews (click here)

Lynn Redgrave
Lynn Regrave in "Nightingale". Photo by Craig Schwartz

Some people are just born to act. Recently, I had the privilege of seeing two wonderful actresses open in separate Los Angeles theater productions. New York’s got nothing on us!

On my very first professional acting job, I got to work with Lynn Redgrave. Talk about not being worthy….

That must have been some show; one of the best, most revered actresses of our time and little old Karen Salkin. It’s more bizarre than six degrees!

Lynn recently opened her one-woman show, “Nightingale” at the Mark Taper Forum. I had actually started a small role in a film that week, but hadn’t shot my scenes yet. Unfortunately, after sitting in my dressing room for two days without working, I got called to the set unexpectedly the day of the play opening.

I decided to continue with my plans to attend the show, even though it meant giving up the movie role. (And ironically, Lynn’s the one who taught me that “work breeds work.” Oh well.) And even though I second-guess every decision I’ve ever made, except four (LA, Mr. X, and my two dogs), I’m happy I stuck with this one. Watching Lynn Redgrave at work is akin to attending a master class.

That being said, I still got nervous for her, as we all do for people we know well. But I was instantly put at ease the moment she came on stage. To say she’s brilliant is an understatement. I was so mesmerized by her performance that I forgot that she had written the show, too. How can one person be so talented??? And likeable and popular, too. But enough about me. (Only kidding.)

“Nightingale” is a fictitious account of the life of Ms. Redgrave’s maternal grandmother. My mind usually goes to sleep at one-person shows, but this time, I actually was seeing the whole tableau she was portraying, as though in a period-piece movie. In each scene, she made such subtle changes to her character of Mildred Asher that we had the experience of watching someone’s whole life in just ninety minutes, yet left with the feeling that we knew her intimately.

I believe the entire audience was blown away by Lynn Redgrave’s tour de force performance. There was an immediate, and lengthy, standing ovation at the end. Many were choked-up, at the least, even a jealous bitch such as myself.

One personal note: Lynn is probably the most famous actor I’ve ever worked with, and I must say, the nicest. I believe she rolled her eyes only 2 or 3 times in the whole week of working together in almost every scene, as opposed to now that I know her in real life, where she rolls them about as much as everyone else, if not more so, being British and classy and all.

Now, if only some of her magic could have rubbed off on me, you wouldn’t be reading this because I’d be a grand dame of theater, too. But alas, for all of us, there is only one Lynn Redgrave. My advice is that you hie yourself to the Taper and bask in her glory, while you Angelenos have the chance. And bring your hankies. Or your boyfriend’s shirt sleeve, which I’m not saying if I did or not, but it’s always good in a pinch.

“Nightingale” running through November 19
Mark Taper Forum 135 N. Grand Ave.



I had seen this “play with music” when it opened on Broadway last year at this time, and cried on my show as I reviewed it. It was truly that wonderful. When I heard it was coming to LA, I had to change my whole month-long visit to NY, just to make sure I was didn’t miss the opportunity to see it again.

And I’m so glad I did. It’s the story of ‘40s New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, who stages her own concerts, blissfully unaware that she actually can’t sing at all. Judy Kaye’s portrayal of her is stellar, and she’s joined in her brilliance by Donald Corren, as Mrs. Jenkins accompanist and protector, in a way.

I must discuss Mr. Corren first. Even though it’s the lady’s story, he’s on stage the entire time. Outside of fabulous entertainer, Dale Gonyea, I know of no one else who can sing so beautifully, play the piano equally well, and be funny at the same time. It’s a wonder to behold. I love Mr. Corren’s singing voice so much that when he stops, it actually causes pain to my insides. I exaggerate not at all.

Judy Kaye is an amazing vocalist, so to accomplish playing someone who sings worse than I do is no ordinary feat, since it must go against all her training and instincts. At one point we were treated to Ms. Kaye’s rendition of “Ave Maria” in her real voice. I wasn’t the only one sobbing my guts out. Even Mr. X fell apart. It was a religious experience. So much so that it made me want to convert to Catholicism. If they had a liturgy training sign-up sheet on the way out, I bet they’d get a lot of takers.

Some quick thoughts on opening night at the Brentwood. I had never been to this theater before and loved it, mainly. It had the feel of a summer stock playhouse, with the rest rooms outside. The only bad part was how freezing it was inside, despite the fact that a few of us asked the manager to turn the AC down a tad. Even grown men were hugging themselves to keep warm. But otherwise, it was perfect.

Also, I’m sure there were other celebrities there, but somehow I was the happiest to see Mickey Rooney very up-close and personal. He was adorable and brought a smile to my face. I love an event like this, where it’s just wall-to-wall smiling.

“Souvenir” playing through November 12

Brentwood Theatre 11301 Wilshire Blvd. Brentwood

And lastly, I’ll miss the Los Angeles premiere of “Light In The Piazza” at the Ahmanson Theater in November because I’ll be in NY. I’ll see it near the end of it’s run and report on it then, but I’m expecting it to be great. So, if you see it before I do, you can let us all know what you thought, on my message board. Enjoy!


Missed one of Karen Salkin's previous restaurant reviews?

Find them below
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Deli Boys
Out To Lunch Oct. 27-
Karen reviews Chakra
Out To Lunch Oct. 16-
Karen reviews Cinespace
Out To Lunch Oct. 6-
Karen reviews Aphrodisiac
Out To Lunch Sept. 26-
Karen reviews Ugo and Patina Catering
Out To Lunch Sept. 14-
Karen's Food Court Guide
Out To Lunch Aug 29-
Locanda Del Lago review
Out To Lunch Aug 17-
Karen reviews CUBE on La Brea
Out To Lunch Aug 9-
Karen unveils her quick breakfast, lunch and Chinese menu favorites and visits Nathan's
Out To Lunch July 31-
Karen does a NY restaurant run-through extending from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Out To Lunch July 20-
Karen talks about The Greatest Show On Earth
Out To Lunch July 13-
Karen's Dark Secret
(okay, one of them) and reviews
Osteria Latinia
Out To Lunch July 6-
Library Tea Asia de Cub
Out To Lunch June 29-
Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s
Jurlique Day Spa
"Back On Broadway"
Out To Lunch June 20-
Organic To Go, Cafe 50's
Out To Lunch June 13-
Karen reviews Mr. Chow's
Out To Lunch June 6-
Karen reviews Amici

Missed one of Karen Salkin's entertainment and play reviews?
Find them below
Karen reviews Champions On Ice
Karen comments on Andre Agassi
Karen reviews the annual Emmy Suites
Karen reviews "Curtains" and Burton Morris
Karen reviews "Water and Power" and "Hayfever".
Karen reviews "Much Adoobie About Nothing".
Karen reviews "So You Think You Can Dance?" and "Beehive".
Karen reviews "Doubt?" and "Fat Of The Land ".
Karen reviews "Sweet Charity" and the "Marvelous Wonderettes".
Karen reviews "Nightingale" and "Souvenir"
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