Last night I walked into the beautiful McCallum Theatre with tremendous anticipation of a stirring and insightful evening --- the opportunity to have a "Conversation With Larry King". You would think that a man who has spent the past several decades talking with the most fascinating and important people in politics and pop culture would have had more to say. I am sad to say, I was disappointed.
He is funny. He knows how to build a story to an effective punch line. His career successes have proven he has a way with words. I just wish he had chosen better words --- better stories --- and not squandered the opportunity to address an audience eager for something more than a handful of "kind of interesting"reminiscences from his youth. I wasn't alone in my review of the evening --- the "buzz" in the lobby after the show echoed what was going on inside my head. The entire show was barely an hour and ten minutes and Mr. King actually looked at his watch at least three times during his "conversation" --- it felt as if we might be keeping him from something more important that he needed to do. He did not connect to the audience – he was not genuinely warm --his was distant and at one point said he was happy to be in Palm Springs, Florida. It was not clear whether that was supposed to be a joke that fell flat or a faux pas … but the audience let it pass with just a murmer of "did he really just say Florida?". Then, at the end of the show, he thanked the audience for coming saying – "Thank you Palm Beach". It seemed a little disrespectful that twice in one evening he didn't either know or care where he was.
The "conversation" was trivial. After sitting across the table from some of the world's most interesting and influential people for so many years he must have stronger opinions and insights to pass on than "I live in Beverly Hills – shocking for A Jew". When the most interesting anecdote of the evening is that he got his radio name Larry King (his first boss told him his real surname was too ethnic) from a newspaper ad for "King's Wholesale Liquor" you start to question whether the evening spent was worth the time or the price of admission.
The McCallum is having a tremendous theatrical season. In my opinion, this was not a highlight. When he appeared in his trademark suspenders at the top of the show Mr. King received a very warm round of applause that signified the respect and admiration that the nearly sold out crowd had for this celebrated man. It felt like he took that a little for granted. An audience trades their time and their money for an artist's talent and passion and energy and to feel like they have gained something in the process. In this case, Mr. King owes several hundred people a refund of their time.
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David Green is the Executive Director of The Carol Channing-Harry Kullijian Foundation for the Arts -- working to restore the Arts to our nation’s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed Conservatory Musical Theatre University, a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominee Matthew Morrison, Stephanie Block, Lindsay Mendez, Scott Barnhardt, Anneliese VanDerPol and Krysta Rodriguez, to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is honored to serve the Inland Empire of Southern California as a contributor to BroadwayWorld. |
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