‘Flashback & Funny Forward,’ a comedy, musical and variety review show, will debut at the Gloria Theatre in Urbana at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, and 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16.
The show takes audiences on a journey beginning with a flash from American Vaudeville and continues through the USO performance era and brings it forward with portrayals of more modern performers. The show combines singing, dancing, piano playing, multimedia visuals, comedic and historic sketches and tributes to many favorite American performers including W.C. Fields, Mae West, Cab Calloway, Ethel Merman, Betty Hutton, The Andrew Sisters, Lucille Ball, Ray Charles, Phyllis Diller, Big Joe Turner and Rose Marie. The show also features character portrayals of Gilda Radner, Dolly Parton, Joan Rivers and many original characters.
The show’s ensemble includes character comedian Karen Knotts, daughter of actor and comedian Don Knotts, TV’s Barney Fife of the Andy Griffith Show. As well as performing with “Flashback & Funny Forward,” she tours throughout the country with the one-woman show “Tied Up In Knotts,” her story of growing up with her comedian dad. She also tours her stand-up comedy show.
According to a news release, the Gloria Theatre was selected for the Nov. 15-16 premiere because of its ties to American Vaudeville. Built in 1904, it was known as The Clifford Theatre, constructed by vaudeville actor and Urbana native William Shyrigh, better known by his stage name, Billy Single Clifford. Hence the name “The Clifford Theatre.” It was a spectacle of its time with an 80-foot stage and seating for 700 patrons.
Cost of construction of the Clifford Theatre was about $75,000, which equates to about $2 million today. Clifford starred with popular vaudeville troupes in the finest theaters in the United States and Europe. His successful production “The Diamond from the Sky,” a serial show, played in Urbana for several months, drawing sellout crowds at the ticket price of 10 cents a couple.
For Nov. 15-16 ticket info, visit GloriaTheatre.org or call 937-653-4853.
Submitted by Kaleidoscope Entertainment Inc.