Silver-screen wit collides with behind-the-scenes lunacy in Once in a Lifetime, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's classic screwball spoof of Hollywood. Edward Asner and Jonathan Silverman head the cast when L.A. Theatre Works records five performances for radio broadcast, directed by the co-author's multiple award-winning son, Christopher Hart, at the Skirball Cultural Center October 21- 25. L.A. Theatre Works' nationally syndicated radio theater series airs weekly, broadcasting locally in Southern California on KPCC 89.3 and streaming on demand at www.latw.org.
Once in a Lifetime is Kaufman and Hart's rollicking comedy of three down-and-out vaudeville performers who decide to head for Hollywood and try their luck with the newly invented talkies. Due to a series of consistent blunders, the most stupid of the three is carried to pinnacles of fame and fortune until he's literally made a god of the industry. It's a fast-paced, wildly comic romp and a marvelous spoof of tinsel town.
Moss Hart wrote Once in a Lifetime in 1929, but Sam H. Harris would only agree to produce it if Hart rewrote it with a more experienced playwright: George S. Kaufman. Hart and Kaufman would go on to write seven more plays together in the 1930s, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning You Can't Take It With You (1937). In late 1929 and 1930, the pair rewrote Once in a Lifetime several times during out of town tryouts before it came to New York and was a box-office smash. At the time, Kaufman told audiences that most of the play was still Hart's.
Christopher Hart is a Tony Award-nominated writer, director and producer. His productions have won more than 50 BackStage West/Drama-Logue Awards and numerous LA Weekly and Ovation Awards.
Edward Asner lent his voIce To this year's Pixar animated film, Up. Other recent credits include Gigantic with John Goodman and Jane Alexander, and Generation Gap for the Hallmark channel. He has performed numerous times on the L.A. Theatre Works stage, and appears in LATW recordings of Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting (airing nationwide and online this Saturday, October 17), Plaza Suite, Seven Days in May, Spread Eagle, Babbitt and McTeague, among others. Mr. Asner.is perhaps best known for his comedic and dramatic crossover as the gruff but soft-hearted journalist 'Lou Grant,' the role he originated on the landmark TV news room comedy "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and continued in the newspaper-set drama "Lou Grant," which earned him five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards. He received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. He has more than 100 TV credits, which include starring in the series "Off the Rack," "The Bronx Zoo" and "Thunder Alley." Numerous guest appearances include roles in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "ER," "Arliss," "The Practice" and a recurring role on "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip." Besides commercials and numerous books on tape, he has lent his voIce To popular cartoon shows such as "The Simpsons," "Spiderman" and "Boondocks." Asner's dozens of motion pictures include They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Fort Apache the Bronx, JFK, and the European production of Giovanni XXIII - the highest rated television mini-series in the history of Italian TV as well as the box office hit, Elf with Will Farrell and James Caan. Asner has done severAl Hallmark movies and was nominated for another Emmy for The Christmas Card. One of the most honored actors in the history of television, Mr. Asner served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms and was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1996.
Jonathan Silverman created the role of 'Eugene' in the original Broadway cast of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound when he was in his early 20s. Years later, he went on to play the role of big brother 'Stanley' in the film version with Anne Bancroft and Hume Cronyn. He also starred in the Broadway productions of Mr. Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. Los Angeles theater credits include Tony Kushner's The Illusion (with Alan Mandell) at LATC, Warren Leight's Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine (with John Spencer) at The Taper, Roger Kumble's Turnaround (with David Schwimmer) at The Coast, Mr. Kumble's Pay or Play at The Hudson and Sticks and Stones at The Met. He has also performed three times before with L.A. Theatre Works, in the productions of Broadway Bound, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Bang the Drum Slowly. Movie credits include: Laura Smiles, Coffee Date, Bobbie's Girl, The Cookout, Deacons for Defense, Made, Freak City, The Inspectors, Denial, French Exit, Little Big League, These Old Broads, Just a Little Harmless Sex, Class Action, 12:01, Weekend at Bernie's, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Stealing Home and Mr. Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, London Suite and the sequel to The Odd Couple. On television he starred in last season's ABC comedy "In Case of Emergency" and previously had his own top ten series with NBC's "The Single Guy." Last season he made a handful of appearances on the CBS drama "Close to Home," starring his beautiful and talented wife, Jennifer Finnigan. The couple also appear as themselves on the Starz Network comedy "Head Case."