BWW Previews: Loretta Swit Takes On SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS at Coyote Stageworks At The Annenberg
Coyote StageWorks, the Coachella Valley- based award-winning Actors' Equity professional theater company continues it 2016-2017 theatrical season with a production of "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," a popular two-character comedy/drama that will feature Loretta Swit and David Engel. The production will run from February 3 through 12, 2017 with eight performances at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum.The fully staged play will star Loretta Swit (best known for her role of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the beloved television show "M*A*S*H") and actor and Coyote StageWorks Founding Board and Company Member David Engel.
This touching comedy by playwright, screenplay writer, novelist, producer, and actor Richard Alfieri tells the story of Lily Harrison (Swit), a formidable retired woman, who hires a dance instructor, Michael Minetti (Engel), to give her private dance lessons -one per week for six weeks- in her gulf-front condo in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. What begins as an antagonistic relationship blossoms into an intimate friendship as these two people from very different backgrounds reveal their secrets, fears, and joys while dancing the Swing, Tango, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha, and Contemporary Dance. Michael and Lily learn to overcome their outward differences and discover an unlikely but profound connection. By the final lesson, Lily shares with Michael her most closely guarded secret and he shares with her his greatest gifts, his loyalty and compassion. A comedy with music and dance, the play also addresses the serious issues of ageism and intolerance. Since its Los Angeles premiere and Broadway opening, "Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks" has established itself as an international hit and one of the most produced plays in the world. It has been translated into 14 languages and has had productions in 24 countries. It was recently made into a film starring Gena Rowlands and Cheyenne Jackson.Loretta Jane Swit is a stage and television actress known for her character roles. Swit has performed on Broadway in "Same Time, Next Year" and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." In addition, she has performed on various stages in productions of "Any Wednesday," "The Odd Couple," "Mame," "Amorous Crossings," and toured nationally with "Shirley Valentine" and "The Vagina Monologues." She is best known for her portrayal of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, the sassy blonde head nurse in the television series "M*A*S*H." Swit was one of only four cast members to stay for all 11 seasons of the show, from 1972 to 1983. She and Alan Alda were the only actors to have been in both the pilot episode and the finale and she appeared in all but 11 of the total of 256 episodes. She received two Emmy Awards for her work on "M*A*S*H" and was also the first "M*A*S*H" star to visit South Korea when she narrated the documentary "Korea, the Forgotten War." Other television credits include appearances on "Hawaii Five-O," "Gunsmoke," "Mission: Impossible," and "Mannix." David Engel is a six-time winner of the Ovation Awards given out by the Los Angeles Stage Alliance. He has performed on the "Tonight Show," the Royal Variety Performance before Queen Elizabeth II, and co-hosted the Presidential Inaugural Gala at the Kennedy Center. He has been in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadways productions and created (and starred in) the role of Hanna from Hamburg in the original production of "La Cage aux Folles." In 2009 he appeared in the movie in "Forever Plaid: The Movie" in the role of Smudge, which he created himself for the original New York City "Forever Plaid" production. Other film credits include "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "New Port South," "Zombie Prom" and "The Albino Code."Coyote StageWorks is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 company dedicated to advancing theatre as a vital art form in the desert communities of the Coachella Valley. It is their mission to provide a forum for thought-provoking, entertaining, and culturally significant works in an environment that nurtures the creativity of the individual and the enrichment of the community. These shows are not Palm Springs Art Museum or Annenberg Theater presentations. Voted "Best Live Theater" by the readers of Desert Magazine in 2013 and 2014, Coyote StageWorks has won 65 Desert Star Awards from the Desert Theatre League, a theater support group that promotes theater in the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin.Coyote StageWorks will conclude its 2016-2017 "Legendary Ladies" Performance Series with "The Lady With All the Answers" by writer, playwright, actor and producer David Rambo. The show will run April 14 - 23, 2017. The 2016-2017 Coyote StageWorks season is generously sponsored by Annette Bloch and David Lee. Earlier this year, David Lee also issued a $30,000 challenge grant that doubled any donation the company received.
Tickets are $45 - $55 for matinees and $50 - $60 for evening performances. A Q&A session with cast members will follow the Thursday matinees. To purchase individual tickets or subscriptions, call 760-325-4490 or visit www.annenbergtheater.org. For group sales, call 760-318-0024.