LAST PICTURE SHOW???
18th ANNUAL DOCTOR”S FUND BENEFIT SHOW:
SCENES FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
MAY BE HIS LAST
by Jeannie Lieberman
Photos by Daniel McKernan
at their home a few days after the show, Donald LaBohn, creator and director of
this stunning series of shows, arguably the best in the Grove for the past 18 years,
confided there is a “possibility” that this is his last show.
30 years here, the Grove has changed and its time to move on. I am now 70, how
long can one put on a dress? At a certain age there’s a dignity that goes past
heels and wigs. I can’t be buried in a dress…
am looking towards Florida where I have a family; a son, daughter–in-law and
two beautiful grand daughters. The show takes 6 months of every year from conception
to fruition. Evan and I would like to travel”.
how he got started doing these shows Donald recollected “I always imagined I
would do something creative in ‘Show Biz’. All those years of watching the movies
of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s… I had these demented things in my head to do.
Grove provided the opportunity.”
began when he was called in the last minute to help out on a Dom De Santos
show. Then he co-directed all the Fringe Benefit shows with Randy and Gianni.
created the first PAWS benefit circa ’92 called ‘Scandals’ which was much more
than the current series of acts..
one day Meryl and Lois wanted to put on a fundraiser for the Doctor’s fund in
Cherry’s. I said ‘yes’. We did it there for 4 years when Roland, then
president of the APCG, said it was too fabulous for Cherry’s and brought it to
the Community House where it has been since “.
I have covered the Doctors Fund show since its first time in
Cherry’s where Meryl, bless her, never heard of a press seat so I ended up
sitting on the dirty floor practically under the barstools where drinks were
spilled on me, waiters climbed over me and cigarette ashes were flicked on me
but as a professional theater critic, I discerned a flicker of the talent that
Donald had and the way the non-professional cast was whipped into meticulous
shape even under those circumstances, and retuned each year because I recognized
that sparkle of creativity, that attention to detail and meticulous delivery
that signified Labohn’s approach to his shows.
I once wrote they were “choreographed down to the blink of an
And indeed cast members
muttered what a stern taskmaster he was, but always in admiration.
This year Donald’s presence
onstage was limited due to recovery from a hernia operation which meant
omission of one of the shows beloved staples, the Yiddish duet by the Shapiro Sisters!
This show featured a cast of twenty in no fewer than 18 numbers! All preceded
by our card gal Cobra
“Don’t Tell Mama” featured
Angela Merci, Shirley, Coco Love, Demi Tasse, Donna Piranha
Jail h0use Rock: featured Eddie
Galante & Ken Woodhouse Jack Roberts, Chuck Krouse
Marriage Italian Style: “Pizza”
Rosemary’s Baby: SallyAnn Piacentino
“Brand New Baby” & Coco Love
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Condoms
Are a Girls Best Friend Demi Tasse
Singin In the Rain:Its Raining
Men Donna Piranha 3 dummies
Interview with a vampire: The
Drinking Song - Demi Tasse & Ken, Eddie, Jack, Chuck
”Spoonful of Sugar” Mary Poppins
Marie Antoinette: Ladies in
Waiting - Lola & Coco Love
The Red Shoes: Dance Ballerina
Dance- Shirley Shapiro, Chixck
This Gun For Hire: Cher
Chez La Femme Angela Merci & Bobbie Green Doreen Rallo, Joanne Tavis
Silence of the Lambs: “If I Only
Had a Brain” Urban Sprawl and Eddie
12 Days of Christmas: all
Bye Bye Baby - Psycho. Ken,
Chuck, Jack, Urban Sprawl, Eddie
Nun’s Story: Operator Give Me
Jesus – Joanne Travis, Bobbie Green, Doreen Rallo
”Big Time” - Charity in Sunset
The Wolfman: Rose Levine “Don’t
Blame Me” John Putnam
The Finale: Ziegfeld Girl – the
At his final curtain speech Labohn thanked the usual backstage and
light and sound technicians, the producers, the APCG for use of the theater,
Panzi as usher, Urban Sprawl for wigs & makeup, Demi tasse for some of the costumes
but mostly George McGarvey for set design and show coordination who took a special
bow and of course “my prima ballerina, Shirley”.
The show flew so fast that big
number that you think is intermission you discover in dismay is the finale. And
I usually ended my reviews with “sign me up for next year” but now, who knows?