Last night at the Mark Taper Forum an extremely funny staged reading of "Enter Laughing" was performed as a fund raiser. Since the musical is based on a novel by Carl Reiner and is a semi-autobiographical story of Carl's life, he was an honored guest at the performance. At two months shy of 91 Carl Reiner is still on the short list of incredible talents. He said, "This is a great dream of mine to attend my own Memorial service."
Carl's book was turned into a play called "Enter Laughing" and later that play was turned into a Musical called "So Long 175th Street". This latest incarnation of the musical produced by my friend and former "Two and Only" Producer Dan Whitten, is called "Enter Laughing." It truly is funny.
Stuart Ross directed with incredible timing and flow. Josh Grisetti played the lead character David with a disarming charm that kept you guessing which weapon he would choose in his loaded comedy arsenal. And there was not a mis-step in the entire cast which was a dream team for this occasion.
Because of this, it was no small feat for the songs in this musical to stand out. In fact some of the biggest laughs came from the lyrics. The credit for this accomplishment goes to the late Stan Daniels.
Daniels who was a writer on the Mary Tyler Moore show and Taxi, crafted lyrics that are comedy routines on their own. To give you an idea of the way Daniels mind worked, here is a video of his treatment of the classic "Old Man River." It was preserved for posterity when it was filmed as part of the Mary Tyler Moore audience warm up.
Funny is Funny in the hands of an artist.
Dan Whitten, thanks for a wonderful evening at the theatre.
As you were,