Saturday, December 3, 2022
Dec. 3, 2022

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How much leeway do actors get playing roles?


You have questions. I have some answers.

There are so many interesting and hilarious characters in television series and I’m wondering how much of it is the actor’s interpretation of what the script writers came up with. Or are they given a basic blueprint and then let loose with it. I’m thinking of characters such as Klinger on “M.A.S.H.”

It depends on the show, the actors and who’s in charge. “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” for example, allows a lot of improvisation. And anyone working with Robin Williams in his comedic prime knew how he could take off in a scene. Jamie Farr, who played Klinger, brought some of himself to the role (such as both being from Toledo, Ohio). But that was also a case where the writers were so good, why not trust whatever they come up with? To be sure, some actors are in charge of their characters. At the same time, there are writers who are as much or more influential. One actor told me about a writer so unbending that his lines had to be said exactly as written.

With various “Cinderella” versions available, why don’t we ever see the 1965 one with Lesley Ann Warren as Cinderella?

As I have said before, finding shows depends on where you look, and these days searches have to go far beyond traditional broadcast and cable. For example, the musical “Rodgers and Hammestein’s Cinderella” starring Warren is available on Tubi, Vudu and YouTube. You can rent it on Prime Video. And it is on DVD.

John Gary was a wonderful, talented ballad singer from the ’70s. I was one of his biggest fans, and he even had his own TV show at that time. I know he passed away some time ago and here’s my question: you never hear his songs on the radio and when watching shows that bring back groups and/or singers from that era there is never a mention of him. What gives?

For those tuning in late, John Gary (1932-1998) was a popular singer in the adult-contemporary style for many years, recording almost 50 albums and often appearing on stage, radio and TV, including in his own TV shows in the mid-to-late ’60s. One measure of his status is that — according to the Chicago Tribune — Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Liza Minnelli and Henry Mancini were among the performers at a 1991 fundraiser for Gary’s cancer treatment. I can’t explain why he’s not on your radio stations but he has not vanished. You can still find CDs of his music for sale, and I have seen his recordings listed on the streaming services Spotify and Pandora.

What is Lani Misalucha doing now? She was a top entertainer living in the Philippines and when she performed in Las Vegas. She sings pop, opera, country, Hawaiian music and more.

She is still performing. She had a gig set at a California casino last month, and said on Instagram that the show would have “a lot of fresh new songs, new medleys … (and) a whole new band.” She had to cancel that show but plans to reschedule.