The Kid From Brooklyn - The Danny Kaye Story - A Review

 

Nestled in a private area off Sample Road in Coral Gables is the Stage Door Theatre.  For 24 years, the Stage Door Theatre has been Broward’s most popular award-winning theatre.  And as I learned early on, many attendees were season subscribers. 

This coming season is filled with spectacular performances, including the celebration of 40 years of Saturday Night Fever, The Musical.  Among other shows coming up will be The Sunshine Boys, a classic play by Neil Simon, Victor Victoria, and Imagine – A Beatles Retrospective.

On this particular Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege of seeing The Kid from Brooklyn-The Danny Kaye Story (or, The David Daniel Kaminski story).  I must admit, I knew very little about Mr. Kaminski, who became Kaye for the public, but was always Kaminski at heart.

 

Photo Credit: George Wentzler

 

Yet, I knew the words to many songs, specifically Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, a WWII classic that delighted the troops as well as the rest of the world. The audience reveled in Ballin the Jack, Oh by Jingo, Minnie the Moocher and the hysterical Triplets.  If my mother was sitting next to me (she would have been 100 this past week), she would be singing all the lyrics to every song.

 

Photo Credit: George Wentzler

 

I learned a lot about Danny Kaye.  His life from early-on road trials to his ultimate fame at the London Palladium.  Josh Kolb as a terrific and multi-talented Danny Kaye gave an ultimate performance bringing on vocal and physical talents to the stage.  Kimberly Abrams as Sylvia Fine portrayed the wife and manager of her husband to perfection.  As a mother, wife and manager, she also was the composer and lyricist of all his famous songs over the years.  Sylvia Fine was the ultimate partner who should have gotten more accolades from her husband.  Although she was a household name to famous people such as Samuel Goldwyn, Cole Porter, Billy Rose, Laurence Olivier, Eve Arden, Kitty Carlisle, and Vivien Leigh, as her husband became a world-famous talent and ultimately had a long time affair with Eve Arden,  Ms. Fine stayed in the background always believing in her husband, even during the challenging years.

 

Photo Credit: George Wentzler

 

It was interesting to know that Mr. Kaye was not from the closest of fathers to his daughter Dena was she was born. Ultimately, UNICEF created the Danny Kaye International Children’s Award in his honor. He was also presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Regan in 1987.  His daughter, Dena accepted this prestigious award.

 

Photo Credit: George Wentzler

 

Although this production ended at the point of Mr. Kaye’s return to his wife and daughter, I found myself reading excerpts from Dena’s interviews about her dad and they were glowing remembrances of her later relationship with her dad.  A shining moment for her was having Frank Sinatra at her birthday party.  “I was used to it,” she stated, but never took it for granted.

 

Photo Credit: George Wentzler

 

Ashley Brooke and Brad Rakushin managed to perfectly portray all remaining characters in the show with quick changes of costumes, wigs and accents.  I always appreciate multi-character portrayals.

I encourage those of you who may have remembered Mr. Kaye, as well as those who are not familiar with the history of his life, to go and treat yourself to The Kid from Brooklyn – The Danny Kaye Story at the Stage Door Theatre.  This production is running until April 9.  The show runs almost 2 ½ hours with a 15 minute intermission.  There are 23 songs throughout the show. 

Go to www.StageDoorFL.org for ticket prices, times and how to become a season ticketholder and group discounts.

The State Door Theatre is located at 8036 W. Sample Rd., Margate, FL  33065

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