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A Tribute to Gene Kelly Promises a Rare Behind-the-Scenes Look at Dance Icon April 15, 2 pm, Balboa Theatre
San Diego – It’s been said that Gene Kelly single-handedly changed the way dance is presented on film. Who can forget the iconic Singin’ in the Rainscene? Biographer and film historian Mrs. Kelly (Patricia Ward Kelly) takes audiences behind the scenes and shares an intimate story of her late husband Gene Kelly, the man who helped create some of the most memorable scenes in film history. This unique, LIVE performance-praised as “a real treat” by Variety-combines rare and familiar film clips, never released audio recordings, memorabilia, and personal insights culled from hours of interviews with her husband. Mrs. Kelly, whose presentation has been described as “mesmerizing,” reveals a very personal side of this American legend and his perspective on the innovative work for which he wished to be remembered.
Born 1912, GENE KELLY served his “apprenticeship,” as dance teacher, summer stock choreographer and amateur night performer, before heading to New York in 1937. Achieving his first great success as “Harry the Hoofer” in William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life in 1939, Kelly became an overnight sensation on Christmas 1940, in the title role in the landmark musical Pal Joey. David O. Selznick signed him for pictures, but sold the contract to M-G-M.
In his first film, For Me and My Gal in 1942, Kelly established himself as a strong and unique screen personality. With Cover Girl in 1944, he began to explore what he saw as the unlimited reaches of the film medium. His “Alter Ego” number still stands as testimony to his vision and determination in changing the look of dance on film. In his first work as director, Kelly took the musical On the Town out onto the streets of New York. His innovative use of dance, music and camera continued through such films as An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain, Brigadoon, Summer Stock, and his homage Invitation to the Dance.
An American in Paris won the Academy Award as Best Film of the Year for 1951. In recognition of his contribution, the Academy presented Kelly with a special award “in appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer; and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.” In 1995, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Frequently described as the best musical of all time, Singin’ in the Rain was one of the first 25 films selected by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry. Kelly died in 1996 at the age of 83.
PATRICIA WARD KELLY is the wife and biographer of Gene Kelly. She and Kelly met at the Smithsonian in 1985, when he was the host/narrator for a television special for which she was a writer. Soon after, he invited her to California to write his memoirs, a job for which she recorded his words nearly every day for over ten years. They married in 1990 and were together until Kelly’s death in 1996. Currently, she serves as Trustee of The Gene Kelly Image Trust and Creative Director of The Gene Kelly Legacy, Inc., a corporation established to celebrate Gene Kelly’s artistry worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles and is completing the book about her late husband.
An Afternoon with Patricia Ward Kelly – Saturday, April 15, 2 pm – Balboa Theatre, Downtown San Diego
Tickets start at just $27.50 All ages welcome – Ticket Chargeline & Information
570-1100 (619/760/858 area codes) – Monday Friday, 10 am-6 pm (closed holidays) www.sdbalboa.org
About San Diego Theatres …San Diego Theatres is a not-for-profit arts organization that successfully operates the Civic and Balboa Theatres in downtown San Diego, serving over 450,000 patrons annually through arts and entertainment presentations. Its mission is to enrich all the people of its region through exceptional performing arts and education experiences, to foster collaboration in the arts community, and to be a catalyst for economic development in downtown San Diego. Through San Diego Theatres and its arts and community partners, the people of this region are enriched, empowered, and entertained. Spirit, charisma, and vitality of all are nurtured and strengthened.