“Actually, Mildred Francis is my name. As for the title of the show, that came from my grandmother. As a child growing up in Texas, I was kind of a show-off. My grandmother thought I was highly dramatic, and if I was getting to be a bit too much, she would put me down by saying, ‘Mildred Frances, save it for the stage.’ My show at the Gardenia is a bit of a trip down memory lane, but it is not about my career, per se. It is more about my journey through life, the ups and the downs—and there were plenty of both. I must say, even the down times had a lot of laughs. And it was the ability to evoke laughter that saved my ass. Of course, there are some specific highlights, including my 51-year marriage to my darling Tom [Troupe]. I also talk about my school days, my first time in New York and how poor I was. Of course, there were the grand moments, like Lucille Ball discovering me, bringing me to Hollywood and putting me under contract. One of my proudest accomplishments was becoming the second actress to play the title role in Hello, Dolly! on stage, after Carole Channing. That was so important to me, I asked out of my contract with Lucy to do it. All of that is in this show, and I am so lucky to have David Galligan working with me. David intuitively knows what works and the best way to present it. And having the brilliant Christopher Marlow on piano just tops it all off.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airing Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM). On Oct 2, Arts in Review spotlights playwright/author Josefina Lopez and actress/writer Libette Garcia, discussing the new stage work, Drunk Girl, running through Oct. 18 at Casa 0101 Theatre in Boyle Heights.