Theatre West is celebrating its 55th Anniversary this year as Los Angeles' oldest continuously operating professional theatre company by honoring one of its most famous members, someone who has been active with the company since its very inception.
Lee Meriwether first became a national figure when she won the Miss America pageant in 1955. Following that, she was the first “woman's editor” on The Today Show with Dave Garroway.
Prime time series followed, including roles as a series regular on The Time Tunnel, Mission: Impossible, The New Andy Griffith Show, The Munsters Today (succeeding Yvonne De Carlo), Barnaby Jones (with Emmy® and Golden Globe nominations) and All My Children. Her thirty-plus feature film credits in a career spanning almost six decades include Batman: The Movie (in which she became the first feature film Catwoman, opposite Adam West), The Undefeated (with John Wayne and Rock Hudson), The Legend of Lylah Clare (with Kim Novak), Angel in My Pocket (with Andy Griffith), 4-D Man and Namu the Killer Whale (both with Robert Lansing).
Live theatre, however, has long been Ms. Meriwether's first love, and her many memorable appearances at Theatre West include its very first production, Spoon River Anthology with Betty Garrett, returning to that show four decades later for its 40th anniversary production; Aesop in Central Park with Richard Dreyfuss; Ladies of Hanover Towers with Carroll O'Connor; Pop.7, Passionate Ladies; Nunsense; A Short Stay at Carranor; and more, plus numerous appearances in regional theatres around the country, including productions of Follies (with seven former Miss Americas), The King and I (with George Chakiris); Plaza Suite; Hello, Dolly!; Mame; Last Summer at Bluefish Cove; The Odd Couple (female version); and her solo show Women of Spoon River: Their Voices from the Hill.
Now, just in time before Valentine's Day, Theatre West gets to return the love shown by Lee for the company with a special evening of performances, song and dance. The show features appearances and/or performances by Jim Beaver (Deadwood, Supernatural, Justified), Doug Jones (The Shape of Water, Star Trek: Discovery, Hellboy), George Chakiris (West Side Story), George Tovar (Magic Castle magician) , Michael E. Knight (All My Children), Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat, Get Smart), Adam Huss (Power), Robert Colbert (The Time Tunnel), Chad Darnell, Barbara Minkus (I'm Not Famous), Anthony Gruppuso (off-Broadway musical The Babies), Kiki Ebsen (daughter of Buddy Ebsen), Garrett Parks and Andrew Parks (sons of Theatre West co-founder and MGM legend Betty Garrett), Lori Gangemi (CEO of Lee's favorite charity, Ability First), more to come.
Ms. Meriwether will also be presented with an award from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Saturday, February 10, 2018 is the date of the gala occasion with festivities beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a reception featuring hors d'ouevres and beverages, as well as a silent auction. The show begins at 8:00 p.m.