This past weekend’s performances at the lovely, historic Theatre West venue represent some of the most joyous in my entire life. For all who came to enjoy “To Dad with Love:A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen,” thank you. What a joy it was for my brother, Dustin, and I to meet you, hear your reaction to our production, and especially, to hear that you loved our Dad’s work as part of the collection of your favorite entertainment memories.
Many thanks to Spike Dolomite Ward and her Board of Directors at Theatre West, including Garry Kluger, Jill Jones, Arden Teresa Lewis, Dina Morrone, Linda L. Rand, George Tovar, and Michael Van Duzer for the opportunity to be in their wonderful theatre. Photographs generously shared by Sheryl Aronson, MFT (Arting Around), Garry Kluger (Theatre West), Lauri Reimer and Denise Green Young have captured so many happy prized memories and images of our performances and our opening night premiere.
Director S. E. Feinberg has been the steady rudder in guiding the ship that sailed this weekend. Not only is he a gifted director, he’s a great friend and special to our family. A musical theatre production thrives on talented musicians. I want to especially thank Jeff Colella (piano, keys), Granville Young (bass), Kendall Kay (drums), and Kim Richmond (sax) for their inspired playing all weekend.
Gregory Gast is both talented dancer and wonderful teacher; his role in this production began before there ever was a production. He and his dance partner performed at our father’s memorial service in 2003. When he attended an early performance at Catalina Jazz Club in December 2016, afterwards, we began talking about maybe adding a dance number to the show. You saw the culmination of that conversation this weekend.
Audiences each night were so complimentary about the sound quality of our performances. I’m especially fortunate to have a loving husband, Steve Wallace, who is also a master sound designer. Thanks to the generosity of our good friend, Bryan Frieders, we were able to offer you the sound quality you heard. Even the band loved what they were hearing! The behind-the-scenes work of Lighting Designer Jerry Blackburn and Stage Manager Ernest McDaniel made this production a joy. Linda L. Rand, writer, director, and Board Member, believed in this production from the start and welcomed us to Theatre West and its dedicated volunteers who keep this historic, important nonprofit thriving. From greeting you at the door, working the box office, serving you concessions, vacuuming carpets, and helping set such a great stage—each of you is appreciated so much. That we had packed houses each performance means only one thing, Sandra Kuker PR made our show’s presence known and created a wonderful build-up and excitement for our premiere weekend. She’s a professional who’s a joy to work with. Also thanks to Annalise Robbins who handled our merchandise sales for all three performances. Last but not least, a world of thanks to Dawn Lee Wakefield, a personal friend and the driving force behind TCV Media, the entity that continues to promote and uphold my brand in every way. Personally, it was especially rewarding to be surrounded by the Ebsen family this weekend, including our sisters Bonnie Ebsen Jackson and Cathy Ebsen, Dustin’s wife Donna and daughter Rylee Jean Ebsen, and our niece Jennifer Abel. It was truly a weekend to remember, and we thank you all.