As an actor, dancer, director and choreographer, Gene Kelly excelled on the Broadway stage, the movie screen and behind the lens of a movie camera.
ON JUNE 1, 2013 AT 7PM AT CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY’S MEMORIAL HALL, Mrs. Gene Kelly ([Patricia Ward Kelly)], who is also a professional biographer and film historian, will take the audience behind the scenes and share an intimate story of her late husband Gene Kelly, the man who helped create some of the most memorable scenes in film history. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
This unique, all-new and never before seen 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 hundreds of 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.
THE MISSION OF THE GENE KELLY LEGACY, INC is to continue to inspire the next generation of artists, filmmakers, dancers, choreographers, and musicians.
TICKETS FOR GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY SHOW ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT http://genekellyoc.eventbrite.com.
General admission tickets are $35, ([30% discounted tickets for children and students are available). ],VIP tickets, which includes a VIP reception and General Admission, are $99.
AFTER THE ORANGE COUNTY PERFORMANCE, MRS KELLY AND GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY SHOW WILL CONTINUE a multi-city tour in 2013-2014, which includes stops in with stops in several US cities, including, among others, like Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and more and internationally in London, Dublin and Tokyo to name just a few. More details about the tour can be found at http://GeneKelly.org.
Praise for Patricia Kelly and GENE KELLY: THE LEGACY -
“A one-of-a-kind, out of this world event…”
Ignacio Darnaude, Sony Pictures
“She held audiences spellbound…”
UK Evening Times
Angie Dickinson, Actor
“…truly personal—a rarity in tributes like these. I felt privileged to be there.”
Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight
“…charming, informative, humorous and heart warming all at the same time.”
Walter Painter, Emmy-Award Winning Director & Choreographer
A little bit about Gene Kelly
Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly (August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer. Kelly was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks and the likeable characters that he played on screen.
Although he is known today for his performances in Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris, he was
Kelly was the recipient of an Academy Honorary Award in 1952 for his career achievements. He later received lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors, and from the Screen Actors Guild and American Film Institute; in 1999, the American Film Institute also numbered him 15th in their Greatest Male Stars of All Time list.
Kelly was born in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
He was the second son of Harriet Catherine (née Curran) and James Patrick Joseph Kelly, a phonograph salesman.His father was born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, to a family of Irish descent. His maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Derry, Ireland, and his maternal grandmother was of German ancestry.At the age of eight, Kelly was enrolled by his mother in dance classes, along with his elder brother James. They both rebelled, and, according to Kelly: "We didn't like it much and were continually involved in fistfights with the neighborhood boys who called us sissies...I didn't dance again until I was fifteen."
At onetime Kelly's childhood dream was to play shortstop for the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates.Kelly returned to dance on his own initiative and by then was an accomplished sportsman and well able to take care of himself. He attended St. Raphael Elementary School in the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Peabody High School in 1929 at the age of sixteen. He enrolled in Pennsylvania State College to study journalism but the economic crash obliged him to seek employment to help with the family's finances. At this time, he worked up dance routines with his younger brother Fred in order to earn prize money in local talent contests, and they also performed in local nightclubs.
In 1931, Kelly enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics where he joined the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity.[While at Pitt, Kelly became involved in the university's Cap and Gown Club, which staged original, comedic musical productions.[Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with his graduation from Pitt in 1933, he remained active with the Cap and Gown Club, serving as its director from 1934 to 1938, while at the same time enrolling in the University of Pittsburgh Law School.Also during this period, Kelly's family started a dance studio on Munhall Road in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In 1932, the dance studio was renamed The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance. A second location was opened in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1933. Kelly served as a teacher at the studio during both his undergraduate and law student years at Pitt. In 1931, he was approached by the Rodef Shalom synagogue in Pittsburgh to teach dance, and to stage the annual Kermess. This venture was successful enough that his services were retained for seven years until his departure for New York.
After a fruitless search, Kelly returned to Pittsburgh, to his first position as a choreographer with the Charles Gaynor musical revue Hold Your Hats at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in April, 1938. Kelly appeared in six of the sketches, one of which, La Cumparsita, became the basis of an extended Spanish number in Anchors Aweigh eight years later.
His first Broadway assignment, in November 1938, was as a dancer in Cole Porter's Leave It to Me! as the American ambassador's secretary who supports Mary Martin while she sings My Heart Belongs to Daddy. He had been hired by Robert Alton who had staged a show at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and been impressed by Kelly's teaching skills. When Alton moved on to choreograph One for the Money, he hired Kelly to act, sing and dance in a total of eight routines. In 1939, he was selected to be part of a musical revue One for the Money, produced by the actress Katharine Cornell, who was known for finding and hiring talented young actors.
Kelly's first career breakthrough was in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life, which opened on October 25, 1939, where for the first time on Broadway he danced to his own choreography.
In 1940, he was given the leading role in Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey, again choreographed by Robert Alton, and this role propelled him to stardom. During its run he told reporters: "I don't believe in conformity to any school of dancing. I create what the drama and the music demand. While I am a hundred percent for ballet technique, I use only what I can adapt to my own use. I never let technique get in the way of mood or continuity."It was at this time also, that his phenomenal commitment to rehearsal and hard work was noticed by his colleagues. Van Johnson who also appeared in Pal Joey recalled: "I watched him rehearsing, and it seemed to me that there was no possible room for improvement. Yet he wasn't satisfied. It was midnight and we had been rehearsing since eight in the morning. I was making
Pal Joey, in October 1941. Prior to his contract, he also managed to fit in choreographing the stage production of Best Foot Forward.
Offers from Hollywood began to arrive but Kelly was in no particular hurry to leave New York. Eventually, he signed with David O. Selznick, agreeing to go to Hollywood at the end of his commitment to
Selznick sold half of Kelly's contract to MGM for his first motion picture: For Me and My Gal (1942) starring box-office champion Judy Garland.
Kelly claimed to be "appalled at the sight of myself blown up twenty times. I had an awful feeling that I was a tremendous flop", (Betsy Blair told a different story!). For Me and My Gal performed very well and, in the face of much internal resistance, Arthur Freed of MGM picked up the other half of Kelly's contract.
In Kelly's next film Anchors Aweigh (1945), MGM virtually gave him a free hand to devise a range of dance routines, including the celebrated animated dance with Jerry Mouse, and his duets with co-star Frank Sinatra.
The iconic performance was enough for Manny Farber to completely reverse his previous assessment of Kelly's skills; reviewing the film, Farber enthused, "Kelly is the most exciting dancer to appear in Hollywood movies."Anchors Aweigh became one of the most successful films of 1945 and it garnered Kelly his first and only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
To learn more about Gene Kelly, please attend ON JUNE 1, 2013 AT 7PM AT CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY’S MEMORIAL HALL in Orange County.
Contact: Bryan Elliott
Gene Kelly The Legacy, Inc.The Gene Kelly Legacy, Inc.
The Gene Kelly Image Trust
|Fan David Fantle holding the Best Pic Oscar for An American in Paris|
Thank you to Gene Kelly for the gifts he gave to the world and thanks to Patricia Ward Kelly for keeping the legacy going!
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