'Celebrity' Pokes Fun at Stars' Autobiographies

By Carter, Alice T | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

'Celebrity' Pokes Fun at Stars' Autobiographies


Carter, Alice T, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


If you think celebrities are entertaining, wait 'til you hear their autobiographies.

"Celebrity Autobiography," conceived by Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel, features a rotating cast of five prominent performers reading short passages from an ever-changing library of 300 celebrity autobiographies. It begins performances Thursday at City Theatre, South Side.

"It's a fun look at first-person biographies and narratives," Pack says. "It's not about the specific person. It's about why we care about these people. That's why people respond to it."

Pack was inspired to create the show while reading Vanna White's autobiography, "Vanna Speaks," in which she explains how hard it is to turn the letters on "Wheel of Fortune."

A long-time fan of celebrity autobiographies, Pack would sometimes read passages to friends who would accuse him of making them up. Realizing that it would be almost impossible to write material that was as entertaining, he rented a performance space and invited other performers and comedians to bring passages from autobiographies that were earnestly written but highly entertaining or hilarious when read out loud.

The rest is history.

"Celebrity Autobiography" has been running off-Broadway for three years.

The show won the 2009 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and has been playing to full houses.

Pack and Reyfel are now beginning to branch out to other cities, such as Chicago and Pittsburgh.

In addition to Pack and Reyfel, the cast for the first week's performances includes Broadway musical theater performer Annie Golden, John Marshall Jones, who played Floyd Henderson on the television series "The Smart Guy," and actress Lee Meriwether, who is best remembered for her iconic role of the Catwoman in the 1966 "Batman" film. …

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