Seasoned chanteuse, Kiki Ebsen, returns the Theatre West with the World Premiere of “To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen. In this newly conceptualized production, Ms. Ebsen pays tribute to her father through songs from his film career, original music from her CD Scarecrow Sessions and an original song written by Buddy Ebsen himself called Angelica.
Ms. Ebsen, begins her show by opening an old trunk , representing the old photos and memorabilia she found in her mother’s attic after Buddy Ebsen had passed. Her father was already a star when she was born and the items, she discovered helped her get to know her father from the beginning of his career.
“I got chills. There were letters to his family and photographs I had never seen before.” “Then I found this incredible find…the songbook from the Wizard of Oz. The songbook had his name on it, saying he was the scarecrow. And I asked myself, “Who is this guy? Who is this guy I called my dad?”
Ms. Ebsen takes us back in time through her fathers’ career from the 1930’s Broadway Melody, his unforgettable dance number with Shirley Temple in Captain January, his memorable performance as Doc GoLightly Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and his television work in The Legend of Davey Crockett and Barnaby Jones.
Throughout the show, Kiki performs wonderfully arranged renditions of songs connected to Buddy Ebsen’s career such as “Moon River”, all accompanied by expert jazz musicians Jeff Colella (piano), Kendall Kay (drums), Granville “Danny” Young (bass), and Kim Richmond (woodwinds). Its clear this talented apple didn’t fall far from the tree, even if it was in a slightly different direction.
“My dad grew up in the era of the great American song book. And I grew up in the era of Black Sabbath. My dad had his heart set on me being a jazz singer…but I wanted to sound like Ann Wilson from the rock group Heart. So, we did not clearly see eye to eye musically. I went on and forged out my own career and performed with groups like Chicago, Christopher Cross, Box Scaggs and Tracy Chapman,” Kiki explained to the audience. “When dad came to see me perform… he would look at me like what?? Not understanding the music.”
Emotionally layered between the music, she treats the audience to glimpses of her iconic father, who’s career spanned over seven-decades on film, stage, and television. She cleverly connects each memory to photos, film clips and personal items.
Buddy Ebsen, best known for his role in televisions The Beverly Hillbillies, Kiki carefully slips on “Jed Clampett’s” button down shirt and reminisces about her experiences with her father on set and muses about wearing the shirt as pajamas.
Her story telling feels spontaneous and her performance is relaxed and personal. Making us all feel comfortable and right at home.
Warm and engaging , Kiki Ebsen, delivers heartfelt storytelling and richly intimate vocals which created flashes of magic. The performance was complemented by a beautifully composed multimedia backdrop created by Dustin Ebsen and impeccable sound design by Steve Wallace.
We all became instant fans.
Only two more weekends left .
The show will be playing for two more weeks at Theatre West on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. till September 22, 2019.
General Admission tickets are $25 per person, $20 for Seniors and Students per person with ID and $15 per person for Groups of 15 or more.
VIP packages for $40 per person are also available, and include premium seating, an After Show Meet and Greet and complimentary beverages.
The running time of the show is 75 minutes.