Borough Bonus- $15.00 to “Say Goodnight Gracie”
by Cate Murway
All historic Bristol on the Delaware Borough residents are cordially invited to spend a hilarious, heart-warming afternoon or evening in the uplifting company of the world’s favorite and funniest centenarian for only $15.00.
“You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.” George Burns
Please bring proof of Borough residency for special pricing for the August 3 - August 5 performances of ‘Say Goodnight Gracie’.
Regular ticket price is $35.00 for adults and $15.00 for students.
Stage, television, and voice artist, Alan Safier brings George Burns back to life in the tender, funny, life affirming Tony nominated play, ‘Say Goodnight Gracie’, written by Rupert Holmes and directed by Michael White. This one-man show, including photos and film clips, is based on the real love story of George Burns, Naftaly [later called Nathan] Birnbaum, the ninth of 12 children born to Louis “Lippe” and Dorah [Bluth] Birnbaum, and his heterochromia [having one green eye and one blue eye] wife, Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie "Gracie" Allen [1895–1964].
Didi Conn [born Edith Bernstein, "Didi" was her childhood nickname], a film, stage and television actress will perform the voiceover for Gracie.
Her notable roles include "Frenchy" in the feature films, Grease , starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and Grease 2, , starring Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer. Didi’s “childlike” voice is one of her trademarks.
The Burns and Allen act began with Allen as the straight man, setting up Burns to deliver the punch lines, and ultimately getting the laughs.
In his book Gracie: A Love Story Burns explained that he noticed Allen's straight lines were getting more laughs than his punch lines, so he astutely flipped the act over —- he made himself the straight man and let her get the laughs.
Their show garnered a total of twelve Emmy nominations: four for best comedy series, six for Allen as best actress and comedienne, and two for Bea Benaderet [1906 –1968] for her best supporting actress role as Blanche Morton, the hapless next-door neighbor. The series ended on September 22, 1958.
The popular legend, born of their vaudeville routine and carried over to both radio and television, has it that Allen would say, "Good night, Gracie." As the show wrap-up Burns would look at Allen and say "Say good night, Gracie" to which she would usually simply reply "Good night."
They were the epitome of class and elegance and sophistication. Some of today's celebrities look as if they just rolled out of bed when they appear on talk shows.
There were very few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, and television. George and Gracie were the best!
George Burns, who spanned over 90 years of American entertainment history, is now alive and kicking — and singing and dancing!
“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.” George Burns
Alan Safier is also a singer and recording artist and has been mastering the piano since the age of six. He celebrates five decades on stage, on TV, in commercials, and in voiceovers with his tour de force performance of George Burns in ‘Say Goodnight Gracie’. He is currently touring the USA and Canada and has also performed the play in New York off-Broadway.
He acknowledges that he has “always been a fan of George Burns. His dry humor made me laugh.”
Alan especially appreciated his metareferences or metafiction technique of “talking to the camera” and George Burns started talking to his audience early on in his TV show. In his radio show, Burns would occasionally beg the audience for laughs "Please laugh, folks -- that's the only line I got."
Alan Safier has played several celebrated persons in his stage career, including Albert Einstein in the world-premiere musical "The Smartest Man in the World," John Adams in "1776," Spiro Agnew in Gore Vidal's "An Evening with Richard M. Nixon," Charles J. Guiteau in the LA premiere of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," and Truman Capote in the off-Broadway revival hit of "New Faces of 1952."
Alan may be familiar from his hundreds of television and radio voiceovers [even the Kibbles 'n' Bits dog!] and from his guest appearances on TV series, most recently "The Wizards of Waverly Place". He also teaches his talent in his voice-over workshops at theatre festivals and universities across the country. He is also the author of the play "My Father's Voice," as well as several published short stories.
Alan Michael Safier, named for his maternal great grandfather, was born in Cleveland, OH. [George Burns and Gracie Allen were married on January 7, 1926, in Cleveland, OH.]
Alan’s parents were the late Martha [Wolk], a homemaker and his biggest fan, and the late Samuel Seward Safier, a pharmacist. He grew up in suburban Shaker Heights with his two older brothers, Howard and Dennis. He admitted, “I didn’t play sports but I’m a huge Cleveland Indians baseball fan”. Alan wrote a sports column for the Byron Junior High school newspaper, was co-editor for the Mayfield High newspaper, and was a contributing editor of the Ohio University's ‘The Post’ where he earned an MFA in Acting.
Alan always possessed a natural resourcefulness and enthusiasm combined with a good mind and active imagination. While a kindergarten student, he watched the 2nd graders put on a play. “I wanted to be in the play”.
He first appeared on stage at the age of nine in an adaptation of Dr. Seuss's Bartholomew and the Oobleck, coincidentally written the same year Alan was born.
In that book, the King of Didd announces that he is bored with sunshine, rain, fog, and snow, and tells his magicians to add some variety to the weather.
Alan continues to play “the magician” adding variety in every kind of weather. He acted in junior high, high school, teen theatre, summer stock, and community theatre productions, including a mounting of Michael Weller's ‘Moonchildren’, one of the most satirical and witty plays ever written, at the renowned Cleveland Karamu House, the country’s first inter-racial theater and arts center that was established in 1917.
He was the class clown in the 8th grade, entertaining his fellow students with JFK and Jimmy Stewart imitations. He remembers that his teacher, Mr. Don Littlefield, encouraged him. “The laughs were addictive.”
While living and working in NYC in the 1970-80’s, he studied with acting teacher Wynn Handman, the Artistic Director/Co-Founder of The American Place Theatre whose students and protégés include Richard Gere, Michael Douglas, James Caan, Burt Reynolds, Joanne Woodward and Denzel Washington, to name a few. Alan also studied with Academy Award-winning theatre, film, and television actress, Beatrice Whitney Straight [1914 –2001]. She performed in the 1976 film, ‘Network’, received an Emmy nomination for her role in ‘The Dain Curse’, and also played Dr. Lesh in Poltergeist.
Recently, he had a six-month run as the passive-aggressive Herb Schwartz in the bittersweet family comedy-drama, ‘The Last Schwartz’ at Hollywood's Zephyr Theatre.
He is an avid reader, enjoys especially “show biz biographies”. His current read is the life of award-winning stage and TV performer Colleen Dewhurst [1926 –1991], with whom he shared his birth date.
Alan loves classic Hollywood films and is a politics junkie.
He is currently adapting Charles Dickens's ‘A Christmas Carol’ into a one-actor musical called Humbug! It is scheduled to premiere at the BRT in December.
He personally invites the audience to chat with him in the lobby after the show.
His CD of standards from the 1930s and 1940s, ‘Alan Safier Sings the Songs of George & Gracie's Heyday’ will be available.
Say Goodnight Gracie!
Fri. August 3 – 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sat. August 4 – 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sun. August 5 – 3:00 PM
Bristol Riverside Theatre
120 Radcliffe Street
Bristol, PA 19007
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