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Bev Cohn: Just 45 Minutes from Broadway

David Garver & Tanna Frederick on the set of Just 45 Minutes From Broadway, first photo
David Garver and Tanna Frederick. Photo credit: Ed Krieger.

Just 45 Minutes From Broadway
A New Play By Henry Jaglom
Beverly Cohn
Entertainment Editor

ust 45 Minutes From Broadway, in its world premiere at the Edgemar Center for the Arts, is the story of the Isaac family, a theatrical clan who sometimes live on the edge of reality. Independent film director and playwright, Henry Jaglom's brisk, entertaining script is well written and in his usual manner, delves into the human condition in a most probing way.

The action revolves around the family gathering that includes two sisters, the born-in-a-trunk Pandora or "Panda," played by Tanna Frederick, and Betsy, who gave up show business to become a "civilian." She has just become engaged to Jimmy, played by David Garver and has brought him home to meet the family. Suffice it to say the family dynamics explode. David becomes disenchanted with Betsy and smitten with Panda, whose boyfriend has broken up with her, and the mother refers to Betsy as "the bad seed" because she wants to sell the run-down family home and move them into a retirement community.

Speaking of departing boyfriends, Tanna's "Panda" characterization is remarkably close to the character in Jaglom's film Irene in Time. Although she's a most impressive actress, she runs the risk of being overly mannered using the same facial and physical gestures for both characters. Each character should be developed from a blank slate and just as no two humans are alike, no two characters are alike and whole new set of acting tools need to be applied.

David Garver & Tanna Frederick on the set of Just 45 Minutes From Broadway, second photo
Another picture of David Garver and Tanna Frederick. Photo credit: Ed Krieger.

The patriarch of the family is George Isaacs, "Grisha", tenderly played by Jack Heller. A third-generation star of the Yiddish theatre who transitioned into English-speaking theatre, "Grisha" deals with his declining career but is constantly buoyed by his wife Vivien, a former stage actress played with the right amount of pathos and flights of fancy by Diane Salinger. Vivien's actor brother Larry, fabulously portrayed by David Proval, lights up the stage with his fully realized performance. At one point "Grisha" thinks his family would make a nice play to which Larry responds, "You're too old to play yourself."

The production, well directed by Gary Imhoff, who elicited solid performances from the ensemble, is supported by a fabulous, Broadway-caliber set designed by Joel Daavid and a wonderful sound design by Mike Shear who used Al Jolson recordings that underscored the life and times of the Isaacs. The only negative is the the second act, which began to sag in the middle and could use some cutting.

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Edgemar Center for the Arts
2437 Main Street
Santa Monica, Ca 90405
Runs Thurs.-Sun. through Jan. 31
Tickets: 310.392.7327

Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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