Art Scott deserves the praise for alerting me to this wonderful performance. This summer Art and I were talking about one of our favorite authors, P.G. Wodehouse, and Art mentioned that John Lithgow was performing the classic Wodehouse story, “Uncle Fred Flits By” in a one-man show. Art was hoping Lithgow would release an audio version of his performance. Then, about that time Diane received an email from Sheas Performing Arts Center (we’re season ticket subscribers) alerting us to John Lithgow coming to town to perform “Uncle Fred Flits By” and also Ring Lardner’s classic, “The Haircut.” Of course, we bought tickets to Lithgow’s show.
John Lithgow knows how to fill a stage. He charged out to great applause and spent some time complementing the theater scene in Buffalo. And then Lithgow announced, “This is my first ever performance in Buffalo.” More applause. Then Lithgow talked about growing up in a household where his father would read stories to him and his siblings. Lithgow credits these childhood readings with sending him in the direction of an acting career.
Fast-forward 40 years. Lithgow’s parents are in their 80s and in ill-health. Lithgow’s father undergoes a major operation that saves his life, but leaves the man weak and depressed. Lithgow comes and stays with his recovering father and aged mother. Lithgow tries everything he can think of to animate his father who is bed-ridden. Finally, Lithgow discovers the book of stories that his father used to read from. And, Lithgow starts reading to his parents just before they go to bed. Of course, both Lithgow’s father and mother want to hear “Uncle Fred Flits By.” In his 40+ minute performance, Lithgow plays 10 characters…and a parrot! He tells the Wodehouse story from memory (no teleprompters). An amazing performance! If John Lithgow is appearing in this one-man show in your neighborhood, run–don’t walk–and buy some tickets! You will love this!