A few weeks ago, the Getty Playhouse showcased a memorable special event: "Here's to Life," Kitty Carlisle Hart's cabaret-style one-woman show, accompanied by her musical director, David Lewis.
Hart, 94, performed for a little over an hour, reminiscing and singing songs from some of her late friends such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein II and Cole Porter, presenting in one evening a short history of the American musical theater.
'I'm a ham," said legendary actor-writer-director Carl Reiner.
"When you're a showoff, you've gotta get on that platform."
Which is why 80-year-old Reiner is eager to regale the audience with tales of his life in a speaking engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Dec. 9. He'll cover everything from working on Sid Caesar's TV shows to playing straight man to Mel Brooks' 2,000-Year-Old Man to writing semi-autobiographical novels such as "Enter Laughing."
"The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival" by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen (Warner Books $23.95).
Vienna, 1938. In the city of Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Strauss, 14-year-old musical prodigy Lisa Jura looks forward to a promising career as a concert pianist. Hitler has other plans. With the breaking of glass on Kristallnacht, Jura's dreams are shattered.
In the 1920s, the son of a destitute blacksmith from Lodz, Poland, amazed the world with his feats of strength. Heralded as the modern Samson and the Iron King, Zishe Breitbart became a Jewish folk hero, twisting bars of iron, pulling trains by his teeth and killing bulls with his fists.