North Shore Center for The Performing Arts Presents MY LIFE ON A DIET Review – Warm and Funny, Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – Saturday, July 27, 2019 - times vary
Renée Taylor’s MY LIFE ON A DIET looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway, and just as many fad diets. A self-described “diet junkie,” Taylor dishes out juicy anecdotes about—and weight loss tips from—Hollywood legends such as Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand, Marlon Brando and Cary Grant. By sharing her highs and lows—on and off the scale—as only she could, Renée Taylor proves how the ability to laugh will get you through it all.
North Shore Center for The Performing Arts Hosts a Living Memoir
There’s no curtain on the set, just a desk stage right with a few leopard-print items, a lamp and a binder on a stand from which Renée Taylor reads to us the memoir she co-wrote with her husband, Joe Bologna. Entering stage left in a beautiful sequined pink long gown with matching sequined tennis shoes, she explains as she slowly crossed to the desk that she works with the notebook, seated at the desk because she does not want us to worry about trips, falls and forgotten lines. Center stage there is a large screen projecting wonderful photos that illustrate her memoir. This enchanting lady is 86.
Renée Taylor’s Success as a Comedienne
The daughter of a direct (perhaps pushy) mother and a gambling father, Renée Wexler caught her parent’s love for the big life from early childhood. Chasing dreams, they traveled around the U.S. during the 40’s, staying one step ahead of financial disaster. Eventually settling in The Bronx, Taylor spent her teens chasing minor movie parts and honing her performance skills. She studied in New York City with Lee Strasburg along with Brando, Fonda, and Monroe. She and Marilyn remained friends until her death. Success eventually came to Renée as a comedienne--on the Jack Parr Show, the Perry Como Show, the Dinah Shore Show—and eventually on The Nanny where she played Fran Drescher’s mother for nine years. Taylor and her husband, Joe Bologna, co-wrote and starred in several successful Broadway shows in addition to this one.
The Constant Pressure to Be Thin
Through it all, Renée Taylor was haunted by her weight—always too fat, never thin enough, even though most of the photos she shares show a lovely, svelte woman. She tried all the diets we remember and then some—even the Orson Wells Diet that included a four-course meal following a four-course meal. Her greatest joy came from her role on The Nanny where she was to be constantly eating.
Renée Taylor is, in this writer’s view, charming in MY LIFE ON A DIET. There does not seem to be a mean bone in her body, nor an experience from which she did not learn, laugh, and move forward. Star-struck fans of stage and screen from 1950’s onward will enjoy Renée’s company for the evening. If you are seeking high drama or raucous laughter, find other shows recommended in our Picture This Post Best Plays roundup—this one is probably not for you.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Renée Taylor and Joe Bologna
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – Saturday, July 27, 2019 - times vary
No Monday performances
North Shore Center for The Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077
Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation. Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders. Please visit her website for more information.
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