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!


  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Wow, sounds great. We’ve been huge Lithgow fans for years. We first saw him in his star-making Tony Award-winning performance in David Storey’s THE CHANGING ROOM in 1973, first time I remember male nudity on stage. He was brilliant. The next year we saw him opposite Lynn Redgrave in MY FAT FRIEND and later in the ’70’s it was ANNA CHRISTIE opposite Liv Ullman and Kaufman & Hart’s ONCE IN A LIFETIME.

    THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN was one of my favorite sitcoms.

    1. george Post author

      I’ve enjoyed John Lithgow in everything I’ve seen him in, Jeff. Of course, THIRD ROCK was brilliant. My favorite episode is when Lithgow’s character becomes a chain-smoker and Jane Curtain tries to convince him to stop smoking. “Smoking will take years off your life,” Curtain argues. “Yes, but those are crappy years at the end of my life,” Lithgow says.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Jackie’s favorite scene is at the end of a show where they’re all sitting on the roof reading. Tommy says, “My Grisham is about an idealistic young lawyer fighting the system.” Harry says, “My Grisham is about an idealistic young lawyer fighting the system!” Turns out all their Grishams are the same, and interchangeable.

    1. george Post author

      If a CD or DVD version of Lithgow’s performance shows up, I’m buying it, Art! You would have loved Lithgow’s interpretation of “Uncle Fred Flits By.” Thanks for alerting me to this wonderful program! Diane loved it, too!


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