To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen - Theatre Review

By Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

To Dad with Love - A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen
Kiki Ebsen in "To Dad with Love - A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen
Photo by Cliff Lipson

It's more often a bit too precious in delivery.  But let's face it, when most girls talk about their dads, remembrances can take on heroic proportions.  And if your father happens to be a beloved, American icon of old school Broadway vaudeville, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and...a Disney legend, 'kid gloves', humor and a lot of tears are going to be the driving lead of the show...and your heart.

In her solo tribute to Buddy Ebsen, known to most young'uns, in his latter days as Jed Clampet on the TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies, and respectively also on  Barnaby Jones and  Davy Crockett, Kiki Ebsen delivers bar none one of the more glamorously feeling odes to the legend that is her father.  

Gracefully paced and highly stylized, Ebsen recounts highlights of her father's seven decades career starting well before he even made it to New York City during the Depression where although often too tall for dance on stage, he found work in the chorus of Eddie Cantor's 1928 Broadway hit Whoopee.     

Kiki Ebsen
Kiki Ebsen in "To Dad with Love - A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen
Photo by Cliff Lipson

Ebsen takes audiences on a multi-media journey deep into the private relationship between herself and her dad, a true renaissance man - but one she says she didn't exactly know or understand until an accidental discovery of a long lost chest of his memorabilia - as well as his career wins and losses, going so far as to reveal, until now, a MGM well-kept secret about the true reason Ebsen was released from his role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (although some footage of him appears in the film).

The spectacular highlights of this 90 minutes is the score of respectively famous and original music from Scarecrow Sessions, the genesis for this jazz/cabaret/theatrical hybrid, also recorded by Ebsen as her sixth CD as a music artist (who says her Dad always wanted her to sing the  American Song Book), accompanied by premiere jazz musicians Jeff Colella (piano), Granville "Danny" Young (bass), Kim Richmond (woodwinds) and Kendall Kay (drums).  

To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen  is a portrait of beautiful humanity seen through the eyes of a loving daughter (Every dad should have one!).


To Dad with Love - A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen.  
Starring Kiki Ebsen
Co-produced with Dustin Ebsen
Hosted by Theatre West

Posted By Tracey Paleo on October 16, 2018 04:01 pm | Permalink