Talk-show champ Virginia Graham hits the dinner-theater circuit with "Any Wednesday," which will be at Hayloft Dinner Theater through Oct. 23.
Having unaccountably missed every one of Graham's 13,679 TV appearances, I was astonished to find she is a grandmotherly type who looks like Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance. At Hayloft, the part of a wife who couldn't be more pleased to be spurned by her longtime husband is finished off by breezy chats with members of the audience who happen to catch her heavily mascaraed eyes.
This is not intended to be sniffy observations about the lady, since I admire anyone with the zest to be herself. Graham definitely hsa the zest. Her pouts and raised eyebrows are as randomly scattered as some of her lines; and her insouciant wisecracks, whether as Graham or in character, are delivered with glee.
Muriel Resnik's "Any Wednesday" is the one about a business tycoon who keeps his doxy in a tax-deductible "executive suite." The tycoon's wife, Dorothy, is so wise and motherly that Ellen, the once-a-week girl friend, feels badly about deceiving her. Fortunately, Cass, a young businessman duped by the tycoon, disillusions Ellen.
Sandy Dennis, Gene Hackman, Rosemary Murphy and Don Porter made it a big hit in 1964; and Later Larry Parks, Patricia Cutts and Monica Moran. Thelma Ritter's daughter, played it at the National. Graham is wholly unlike the chic Murphy and Cutts, but she gives the part the sensible warmth it needs. And time has turned the liberated wife into a veritable Jeanne d'Arc.
Marsha Korb does nicely as the doxy and Jay Barney avoids any charm whatever as the tycoon. Dennis Predovic is first-rate indeed as the sharp young man. Graham's TV fans will be reconfirmed.