Palm Springs Based “Coyote Stageworks” Fundraiser At Annenberg Theatre

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

One the appealing aspects of attending any fund-raiser, is that one must be prepared for the unexpected.  And when the fund-raiser is for a show business cause, one should definitely be ready for flubs and fun throughout the evening.

Coyote StageWorks, the Palm Springs-based equity performing theatrical company, held its second annual fund-raiser at the performing company’s now permanent home the comfortable and inviting Annenberg Theatre on Sunday, January 19th.

The winning formula for success at Coyote fund-raisers is the blending of professional actors performing alongside retired professional actors, local celebrities, and Valley philanthropists.  It’s a winning combination. Last January, it was the staged reading of the Clare Boothe Luce play “The Women” that had everyone talking he next day.

This January it was the staged reading of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman classic comedy “The Man Who Came To Dinner”, directed by six-time Emmy nominated Will Mackenzie.  Once again stars came in from Hollywood, and various points east and west to perform along side the “locals” and celebs of radio and TV.  The Cast of twenty-nine performers was lead by Hollywood stars Stephanie Powers, G.W. Bailey, Fred Willard, Christopher Atkins, Joyce Bulifant, and Daphne Zuniga.

Representing Los Angeles were performers:  Mo Gaffney, Elaine Hayhurst, Phillip P. Keene, Jim J. Bullock, and Anthony Meyer.

The New York gang featured: the internationally acclaimed New York Cabaret pianist, singer, and actor Steve Ross, Sal Mistretta, Alix Korey, and Patrick Richwood.

The local on stage “brigade” featured: local radio personality Bill “Bulldog” Feingold of K-NEWS, 94.3; KPSP TV, Channel 2’s “Eye on the Desert” Host, and my favorite weatherman, Patrick Evans; Gary Hall, Sr. VP of Wells Fargo, singer/actors: Cliff Plummer, Julie Rosser, and Kaley Smith.

The Valley’s patrons of the Arts included: Barbara and Jerry Keller, Annette Bloch, and Teri Ketover.

It was a fun evening of, shall we say a “little under-rehearsed acting effort by a group of very talented individuals, all of whom appeared (at least from the audience pov) to have enjoyed themselves.  There were several flubs, but the best one of the evening produced howls of laughter.  When Ms. Zuniga lost her place in the script, and after what seemed like an eternity to the actors, GW Bailey, playing Sheridan Whiteside leaned out over his prop wheelchair and said in perfect character, “we’re in the middle of page 68, Maggie”. Even the on-stage actors cracked up over that.  That’s some of the unexpected I mentioned earlier as well as doorbells that rang before and after they were supposed to.  Ah, life in the theatre.

Following the performance, the after-show reception gave the cast and members of the audience a chance to mingle and get up close and personal, as they juggled tasty nibbles and canape’s along with their favorite libations, courtesy of Lulu and Aqua Pazza.  Coyote StageWorks seems to have started a tradition with their annual fund-raiser.  We look forward to their 2015 effort.

The Coyote StageWorks upcoming production at the Annenberg is the madcap musical salute to swinging 1940’s “The Andrew Brothers”, which opens Friday, January 24th and runs through February 16th.  For reservations and ticket information call 760-325-4490 or go to: www.coyotestageworks.org.

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