WEEKEND: Actor portrays master comedian in ‘George Burns, Alive Again and in Concert’

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM — Out there is an actor who portrays both George Burns and Dr. Seuss.

And he’s on his way here for four shows this weekend.

“George Burns, Alive Again and in Concert,” a show mixing music, comedy and nostalgia, arrives at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., at 7:30 tonight and Saturday night and 2 p.m. Sunday, all courtesy of Los Angeles-based entertainer Duffy Hudson.

But there’s one more thing: Hudson’s Dr. Seuss show, a celebration of the late children’s author, at 2 p.m. Saturday.

In this performance, the actor brings a selection of Dr. Seuss’ well- and not-so-well-known stories to life: “The Sneeches,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” “The Zax,” “The Big Brag” and “What Was I Scared of?”

He wears the striped hat evocative of “The Cat in the Hat,” but doesn’t do that story. It’s too long, to Hudson’s mind.

“Horton Hears a Who” is the show’s lengthiest piece.

As actors’ lives go, Hudson leads an unusual one.

He does five distinct one-man shows: in addition to Burns and Dr. Seuss, he’s Edgar Allan Poe, Albert Einstein and all of the characters in “A Christmas Carol.”

Hudson did the Dickens classic two Decembers ago here at Olympic Theatre Arts and, soon after arrival, pronounced himself a fan of Sequim.

Hudson, who grew up in Cincinnati, trained to be an actor at Circle in the Square in New York City. He spent 14 years in New York theater before moving to Los Angeles and developing his array of one-man shows.

George Burns is the newest, just born in January.

Last year, “I was looking for someone,” he said. “I wanted to do an entertainer. I didn’t want to do anything heavy. And I wanted to sing.”

But Hudson was torn: Should he do Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx or George Burns?

Within a three-week period, the answer became clear. Hudson performed his Poe and Einstein shows at a series of three libraries and bookstores, and at each one, he looked up and saw Burns’ photo on the covers of three different books, staring at him.

“The third time, I said, ‘Oh my God. OK.’”

As he read the biographies, Hudson found Burns to be a genuinely kind man who, though quite accomplished, never considered himself all that talented.

Yet “his material is timeless,” the actor said. “People who remember [Burns] enjoy the show more, but the people who don’t remember him do, too. He was a huge star.”

Hudson is busy being Burns; this month alone he’s traveling to Iowa and Illinois as well as to eastern Oregon and Sequim.

In “George Burns, Alive Again and in Concert,” Burns — who died in 1996 at age 100 — is about 80 years old.

And he’s in fine fettle, dancing and singing about 16 songs.

Tickets to “George Burns” are $20 — but tonight only, they’re two for the price of one.

Olympic Theatre Arts members and active-duty military service members, meanwhile, pay $18; youth age 16 and younger get in for $10.

Tickets to Saturday afternoon’s “Dr. Seuss” show are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

For more details about these two shows, phone Olympic
Theatre Arts box office, open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, at 360-683-7326, or visit www.OlympicTheatreArts.org.

To see more of Hudson, visit www.DuffyHudson.com.

Last modified: June 06. 2013 6:07PM
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