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Celebrity Autobiography

Here's the thing about celebrities: They become convinced that their every word is fascinating, which makes celebrity autobiographies fascinatingly candid when, say, Marilu Henner doesn't pause before prattling on about how her Taxi co-star Danny DeVito must be a great lover because he's the right height to pleasure a woman while standing. At the start of Celebrity Autobiography, creator Eugene Pack stresses that every word is exactly as published, a reminder to cling to, if you find yourself doubting Melissa Gilbert threatened cheating boyfriend Rob Lowe, "You don't fuck with America's Sweetheart!" (and then obliviously bragged about it in print). The "celebrity" in the title is twofold: The authors are famous and so are the reciters, a cast of comedians that includes Laraine Newman, Jennifer Tilly and Roger Bart. While the words themselves need no embellishments, some performers like Cheri Oteri can't resist, adding a yowling, swaggering accent to Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino that sounds nothing like the Jersey Shore star. The best bits come when the actors read with a devastating deadpan delivery, like Fred Willard's wry recounting of David Hasselhoff's Broadway bow ("I had to prove I was something more than a guy in a Speedo running in slow motion"), or Illeana Douglas' genius for transforming Barbra Streisand's dull accounting of the vegetables in her home garden into a riot of smug self-satisfaction. The show climaxes with four mash-ups: an assault of poetry by Suzanne Somers, a seminar in stage divas, a treatise in disordered eating and a Rashomon-esque rehashing of the Debbie Reynolds/Eddie Fisher/Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton love knot. Whose account to believe? No one and everyone — when Tilly's Taylor cocks an eyebrow, truth is beside the point. The Broad Stage, 1310 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; call for schedule: (310) 434-3200, thebroadstage.com
Mon., July 25, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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The Broad Stage, Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center

1310 11th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401



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