Mr. Happiness and Same Time Next Year
Posted by: aleck 01:13 pm EST 02/06/23
In reply to: re: RIP Charles Kimbrough - portenopete 08:41 am EST 02/06/23

Although I missed the original production of Company, I remember Kimbrough terrific performances in Mr. Happiness and Same Time Next Year.

Mr. Happiness, for those who are unfamiliar with it, is a monologue that was done as a curtain raiser for Mamet's Broadway version of The Water Engine. I saw it in previews. The week before I saw Deathtrap, also in previews. At the time, I declared Deathtrap a disaster and would close in a week. It ran 1793 performances. Water Engine? Genius! Will run for years. It ran for 24 performances. (This is why I am not a producer.)

Later the same year (1978) he was in the closing cast, along with Betsy Palmer, for Same Time Next Year, after 1453 performances. (Kimbrough's credit for this is missing on his IBDB entry.) I went the last week of performances mainly because I wanted to see Kimbrough after having seen him in Mr. Happiness. I had avoided this crowd pleasing play because, well, it was a crowd pleaser which to me means I wouldn't like it. (I was already searching out revivals of Water Engine.) I was won over. Kimbrough and Palmer were enchanting. I had always avoided seeing Betsy Palmer in anything because I figured she would be as vacuous as she was on all those TV game shows. What a surprise, then, to find out she was an actual actress. I think Kimbrough in this production was inching toward the persona that made him famous on TV. It really worked in Same Time Next Year. All hilarious and, ultimately, touching. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm going to stop avoiding crowd pleasers. I've never seen Wicked, Aladdin, Hamilton or the revival of Chicago (since I saw the original during out of town tryouts in Philly).

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Next: re: Mamet's Broadway version of The Water Engine - Dale 01:47 pm EST 02/11/23

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