Saturday, November 03, 2007
betty, the closet song writer

Here is the L.A Times Review of "BETTY GARRETT, CLOSET SONGWRITER", which was in the paper on Friday, November 2nd....The show opened last Saturday, October 27th.....

At 88, Betty Garrett is still singing and dancing
Her world premiere musical revue at Theatre West is uneven but entertaining.....By F. Kathleen Foley, Special to The Times, November 2, 2007

At the beginning of "Betty Garrett: Closet Songwriter," a world premiere musical revue at Theatre West, Garrett jokes about how her son advised her to reveal her age early on in the show, just for the hearty round of applause it would surely elicit.At 88, Garrett gets points for sheer durability, but she also deserves high marks for undiminished wryness and charm. A fixture in 1940s MGM musicals, Garrett starred opposite Frank Sinatra in "On the Town" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but her antecedents also include an early stint as a Martha Graham dancer and later roles on several television series, including "All in the Family" and "Laverne & Shirley."On a darker note, she's also a survivor of the Hollywood blacklist, during which she and her husband, Larry Parks ("The Al Jolson Story"), plummeted from celebrity to unemployment. Undaunted, Garrett and Parks toured widely in England and managed to raise two sons along the way.Although she's lost a bit of bounce since her heyday, Garrett remains a vibrant personality who does it all in this show: singing, dancing and entertaining with sweetly sardonic patter. Several composers, including Garrett, contributed the music, but the lyrics have been written entirely by Garrett, a "closet songwriter" since her earliest memory. Many numbers display considerable wit and style. However, certain offerings from Garrett's capacious closet should have been sent to Goodwill.Garrett co-directed this cheerful but checkered enterprise with John Carter. Musical director Paul Chipello, who also contributes live piano accompaniment, ably backed by bassist Daren Burns, sometimes struggles to meld the bevy of disparate voices. The cast includes Jack Kutcher, Debra Armani, Robert W. Laur, Andy Taylor, Barbara Mallory and Lee Meriwether, also a fixture of 1970s television, who remains as easy on the eyes as she is impressively easeful in manner. Daniel Keough, vocally strong and charismatic, proves that gentlemen of a certain age can still be heartthrobs.The theme of the show is really Garrett's fascinating life, but she wanders off point too frequently. A few numbers, particularly two that Garrett wrote as assignments for a musical comedy workshop, seem impersonal and misplaced, while the syrupy "Bridges of Love," though sincerely rendered, ends the proceedings on a weakly sentimental note.When Garrett is at her most personal, her show resonates. Her percussive, blissfully silly rendering of "Boca Chica" is a highlight, while the beautiful and elegiac "Remember Me," which Garrett wistfully addresses to her granddaughter, will certainly put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye.
'Betty Garrett: Closet Songwriter' Where: Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los AngelesWhen: 8 p.m. Fridays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. SundaysEnds: Nov. 18Price: $35Contact: (323) 851-7977, time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Here, below, is a clip---a promo clip actually, from "BETTY GARRETT, CLOSET SONGWRITER" is a compilation of little snippets of the show, taken at a Dress Rehearsal....But I want you to pay close attention...Because like the L.A. Times said....(No, my song is not on this clip, I'm sorry to say) I want you to pay close attention because....there is Betty Garrett, at 88 years old, still dancing, still singing, still performing at this so called 'advanced age' if that isn't an inspiration, I don't know what the hell is!

Hopefully, eventually, I will have a clip of the song that Betty and I wrote together...After they do an archival tape, etc....Don't hold your breath cause it will take a
And for those who have wondered about it...No, I did not make it to the rehearsal....The Wardrobe Mistress had a terrible terrible cold, among other problem's, so....that made it impossible for me to be there, since the whole purpose of my confinement is to avoid exactly that kind of situation.....
If you are in the Los Angeles area....this show plays Friday & Saturday nights and Sunday Matinees....Do go see it....You won't be sorry. In a way, you will be seeing history and I don't know any other performer who is as endearing as Miss Betty Garrett.....

I hear through the grape vine that it is a very very good show! (lol)

More To Come.......

Links to this post:


had this to say:

What this really points out to me is how differently people age. She is up there at 88 and I have some Meals on Wheels people that are in their late 60's and early 70's that can barely get around. I'm happy for her and it looks like they are having a great time. I wish my MOW people could do the old soft shoe.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 1:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Michele sent me to say hi - and I'm so glad she did....

You know, a lot of people say 'so and so belongs on stage'....well, Our Betty definitely belongs on stage. She's so alive and sparky, and definitely doesn't look her age.

Please send her my love and say 'break a leg' for the show - I'm sure she'll be a huge hit.

I have got your parcel, my darling friend. It's safely in my pile of birthday things and will be coming with me to the party tonight to be opened with all my other friends' presents - so you can be there with us in spirit.


me :-)

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 2:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, THANK YOU so much for sharing this wonderful clip with us!! You are so absolutely right about the amazing Miss Garrett - she is so inspiring!!! A legend, in fact!!! And it was priceless to be able to watch this. Betty you are AMAZING!!!!

I also wanted to add that I'm so sorry to hear you weren't able to go, but to keep your health is most important of all, and I'm sure you know this.

All the best Naomi, and thank you x100 for sharing this (and believe me, if I was living anywhere near LA I would have been one of the first in line to see this show!!!)!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 4:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Ohhhh Naomi.. I am so sad that you didn't get to go to the rehearsal. That's just not fair. ;o(

How wonderful watching those snippets! Betty, of course, is amazing.. and beautiful Lee! gosh she is so gorgeous. I wish I was out there.. i'd sure not want to miss seeing them!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 5:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

My goodness, 88 and still singing and dancing. That is totally wonderful. Good for her! Thanks for sharing Naomi.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 7:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I have to wait a few minutes to see the video; mr. kenju is on the phone in the same room, so I will wait until he finishes.

I am so sorry that you couldn't go to the rehearsal, Naomi, it must be very frustrating for you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 9:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

OH WOW....thank you so much for sharing this with us, Naomi. I enjoyed it tremendously.
I think you know how much I admire Betty Garret and I treasure that hand-written note she sent me.
She looks fantastic! What an inspiration...I want to be Betty Garrett when I grow up!
AND how I wish I was in LA to go see this performance.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 9:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh Naomi - what an inspiration she is - Wow. I also remember that she has macular degeneration and nothing stops Betty. Soooooo sorry you couldn't go to rehearsal - booooooo. As always, fascinating post. Hugs and hugs xxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 10:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing. Loved the clip, and look forward to seeing the song the two of you wrote together.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 12:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

An inspiration indeed! (And a somewhat snipeysnarky review I, I thought). Archival tapes of performances are a wonderful thing: I took part in a few shows when I was younger, and never got a copy of any of them --- it was long enough ago that amateur shows didn't routinely get taped, and copies would have been prohibitively expensive too....

Hope you get to go see the show soon!
Michele sent me today,

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 1:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

She is something else! And so pretty, too. I hope she feels as good as she looks and sounds, I can't believe she's 88.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 3:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What an inspiration she is and what talent! I cannot believe she's in her late 80s. She and Lee Meriwether still got it! Beautiful, elegant and spunky women...they inspire me.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 5:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, Betty is awesome! She not only looks great, but her singing and dancing aren't too shabby either! :) She is truly an inspiration...hope I'm getting around that well when I am that age. Your friend, Lee looks just great, too!

Thanks for sharing all these wonderful snipets of your life with me! I feel truly honored...

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 7:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Betty Garrett is 88? No...! She looks amazing. I have always loved Betty Garrett.

Lee Meriwether is still gorgeous too, isn't she?

What a great clip.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 7:00:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous lYN m.
had this to say:

If there was one place I could somehow magicly be for just a couple of hours it would be in LA at Theater West watching Betty and her gang in person. She is loved and admired by so many friends, old fans and in the theater world that I can think of no one who can fill a stage with more presence. WHAT A TRULY FABULOS AND BEAUTIFUL LADY!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 7:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What an inspiration this lady is. I hope that when I'm even close to her age I am still up on stage performing! It's been SOOOO long since I've been here. Hope you've been well. Michele sent me over tonight and it's about time!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 9:08:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous lad
had this to say:

LOL. that was simply amazing. at that age she still rocks!

and not to mention her looks, gawd, she must be really really beautiful during her younger years.

bloghopping. found your blog, very nice.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 9:14:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That was a wonderful post. I remember seeing her in the musical "On the Town" but, I most remember her from Laverne & Shirley. (LOL, yes, I am a child of the 70's.) It is wonderful to see her still performing.

Take Care of yourself!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 9:27:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Your dear friend Betty is surely a great inspiration and I am very happy for her she can lead her life the way she wants it at her age, that's also a privilege!! Lovely video!

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 11:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Awesome post...Michele sent me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 1:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Michele sent me over, Naomi.

Betty is amazing. She doesn't look the same as she did 50 years ago but she's still just as attractive. Her face just glows. Wow.

The reviewer was right about Lee Meriwether and Daniel Keough. They both look great. I wish there was more time spent on Betty in that clip but it was still great to see her--especially the section right at the end.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 1:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Well- my grandmother sang at her 100th birthday party, so Betty has twelve years to go! But singing and dancing on stage at 88 is amazing. Michele sent me over to be inspired by your story.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 1:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh wow!!! I really ejoyed seeing this video Naomi!! Betty is sensational and at her age it is such a blessing that she can still do all these amazing things! She looks great!!! I'm sorry you didn't get to go see it though. That would have been such fun for you!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 4:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Clearly age is not a hindrance at all for this wonderful charming lady. At 43 I am half her age and I certainly have lots to learn from her in terms of her attitude.

Hey Naomi, be heading to USA soon but not sure how long I will be staying in LA yet, can you email your address to me? My email is

Thank you and hope you have a fantastic weekend :D

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 7:02:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Send an email to the Brazil embassj your country and repor the injustice that the brazilian courts are making with this girl

The resignation is to stop the evolution. (David Santos in times without end)

Thank you

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 7:34:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

thanks so much for sharing the snippets! betty is truly amazing - and she definitely looks great and has such a spectacular "presence". hugs to both of you! ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 7:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm passing along this video link to my brother and my parents. What fun it was to watch!!!!
The overall review was positive, but of course they always have to find something to be critical about with a show... after all they ARE critics.
Betty is endearing and talented and inspiring!!
Hopefully, they will give you a recording of the whole show. That way you can see it from start to finish.
Betty's granddaughter will cherish that special Remember Me song and ALL the memories she's had with her, and hopefully, Betty will be healthy and vibrant for many years to come.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 8:17:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Sorry you had to to miss it Naomi, I hope you weren't too sorely disappointed.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 8:29:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am sorry you had to miss it. I am glad you found out about the Wardrobe Mistress being sick. Your health is THE most important thing. I can't wait to hear when she does your song!
Fabulous post!
I really got a laugh from "I hear through the grape vine that it is a very very good show!"
Huggles and Love,

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 8:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

She really is an inspiration. I I could have her energy at that age I would be a very happy person. She is an incredible lady, and as the review said, a showbiz survivor for sure.

Michele sent me over but I was on my way here anyway, having read this post before but not having the time to commnet last time I was here!

I would love to see a clip of the song that you wrote for her if you manage to get hold of one :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 9:55:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm thouroughly impressed and inspired. Betty looks wonderful and her creativity still at its peak. Thanks for this fun glimpse at the show! So glad I caught it. Shall we send Michele over now?

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 3:12:00 PM PST 

Anonymous gel
had this to say:

My gosh, I'd never guess that is her age. She exudes such vibrancy and talent! Your pride in your friend is so evident and well-deserved.

I'm saddenned that you were not able to make a dress rehearsal. Thank you for the thoughtful sharing of this clip! WOW!

Pass on to all your friends involved in this show to "Break a Leg!" This is so exciting. How I wish I could hop on a plane and hear/see this.

Sunday, November 4, 2007 at 9:23:00 PM PST 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Fabulous. All that she has lived through - yay for Betty - 88 years young.

Monday, November 5, 2007 at 11:28:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh, I can only hope I'm that vibrant and talented by age 88. So glad you posted this, Naomi. :)

Monday, November 5, 2007 at 11:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Every time I've ever seen Betty Garrett perform, it's put a smile on my face, and this was no exception. Thank you for sharing that and I look forward to hearing your song, too!

Monday, November 5, 2007 at 2:01:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Dancing and singing at 88. You know Martin's father still practices law at 87. My grandmother still does her own garden at 86. What a shame we put a stigma on age. It should be seen as a blessing to live so long and be healthy.......and performing! We need to stop treating age as a handicap. Betty is such a wonderful role model to others and she looks and sounds FANTASTIC.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 4:43:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, I finally remembered to see the video. Betty is really amazing at any age, but especially at 88. When my grandmother was 88, she could bend over and touch the palms of her hands to the floor. They are both an inspiration to me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 5:05:00 PM PST 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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