Renée Taylor’s been on a diet since World War II, and, no, that’s not a misprint. The octogenarian actress, known to many for her role as Fran Drescher’s mother, Sylvia Fine, on the popular sitcom “The Nanny,” and for playing characters like Eva Braun in the original 1967 film “The Producers,” has been watching her weight since the Roosevelt administration. In 70 years of counting calories, she’s heard about and tried nearly every fad diet on earth, and now she’s taken those experiences and turned them into a humorous one-woman show, “My Life on a Diet,” now work-shopping at the Working Stage Theater in West Hollywood.
"A Jewish friend of mine loves 'The Sopranos,'" Italian American actor Joe Bologna said with a groan. "I told him, 'How'd you like to see a show called "The Goldsteins" about white-collar criminals and the biggest shyster is Izzy Goldstein?"
Bologna isn't about to play Izzy, but he is the co-author and star of a monologue he said breaks ethnic and gangster stereotypes. In "Meyer," he portrays Jewish mobster Meyer Lansky -- previously depicted in films such as "Bugsy" (1991) -- as both a ruthless thug and a pathetic alter-kacker. At the beginning of the play, the character sips Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda and kvetches about Israel denying him citizenship under the Law of Return.