Many of us from the television generation will remember Stephanie Powers. It might be from The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., or Feather and Father. Better known perhaps as the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee in Hart to Hart, Powers stars as Tallulah Bankhead in Matthew Lombardo’s hysterical comedy Looped, playing at the Hippodrome until March 17.
To remember the mercurial Tallulah you might have to be at least in your 50’s. She died in 1968 after a career in the movies and on stage. Her most notable piece of work was the Hitchcock film Lifeboat from 1944.
Looped is set in a recording studio in Los Angeles in 1965. All Tallulah had to do was go in, record one line of dialogue, and that would have been it. Not so fast, and not so easy.
It took her the better part of a day to do it. Interruptions caused byalcohol, drugs impacted her ability to knock it out in a hour or so. The play is basically a two-person show, though an engineer has the third part, a minor one indeed.
The second lead character is Danny, the engineer, who didn’t like Tallulah from the beginning and those feelings only grew stronger as the day went on. Eventually they would both open up to each other. The play had its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2008.
It ended up on Broadway in 2010, in a rather limited run. Powers replaced Valerie Harper, who was originally signed for the part. Unfortunately a serious illness forced Harper out of the show.
The title could really have two meanings. When one is loopped, there’s alcohol involved. When an actor is doing looping, they are adding or replacing dialogue to a film, usually in a studio while watching a video.
Powers seems to have the affectations necessary to play this role, the voice and the body movement. With an intermission the play runs two hours. I’m not really sure if the younger patrons will appreciate the play. Maybe there are too many years between Tallulah and their birth. But on the other hand, I did see a number of folks in the house looking to be in their 30’s. If you simply enjoy going to theater, then you might just enjoy watching Stephanie Powers.
Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. For ticket information click here.
Eddie Applefeld is a Baltimore native and a graduate of Towson University. He has been in the broadcasting profession for over 30 years. Currently he is the Promotions Director of WCBM radio. Before that, he was part of the Rouse & Company show on WQSR, host of a cable TV show called Dining Out and adjunct instructor at Towson.
His past accomplishments include being named a finalist in Baltimore Tourism’s Employee of the Year Program and winner of Toastmaster’s Speaker of the Year contest. He was also twice a heartthrob for the American Heart Association’s gala fund raiser.