Monday, January 25, 2016

The Sheena Metal Experience

It’s not often you go to a comedy club and get teary-eyed at something unexpectedly touching, but Sheena Metal is such a beautiful soul that I was as emotional as she was on the 7th anniversary of her show "The Sheena Metal Experience" which was held live at the Hollywood Improv on January 24th.  Sheena has been in the entertainment industry for a long time, but remains a champion of goodness, charity, inclusion and the sharing of stories, identities, hopes and dreams.  And if all this sounds like a pool of sentimentality and treacle, Sheena’s wit overrides that leaning with abundant humor, providing as many, if not more laughs than your average comedy club show.  The applause she gets is well earned.

One of her talents is bringing other vibrant, funny people to the show who can share their own stories and thoughts with as much humor and panache as Sheena—making the show feel like a warm, laugh-filled party of good friends.  Last night’s show was no exception.

First up was Lee Meriwether of "Barnaby Jones" and Catwoman fame.  Whip-smart, articulate and glamorous as ever, Ms. Meriwether recounted, among other things, the story behind her Catwoman audition; it’s not just a funny story, it's actually a great lesson for actors and shows what a little creativity can spawn. You can listen to the show to find out what I mean. But I give her two paws up!

Next came Richard Hatch of "Battlestar Galactica" fame.  Incredibly humble and congenial, Mr. Hatch, shared lesser-known facts about himself, including his heartfelt love of music theater.  Maybe someone should write "Battlestar Galactica: The Musical”? 

The fearless Rae Dawn Chong ("The Color Purple", “Melrose Place”, etc.) brought passion and fire to the stage with no end of opinions and ideas about how to make our country better.  Not what anyone expected, but she’d have my vote!   I mean, come on: she’s Rae Dawn Chong!

And the ever endearing Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island") came and had everyone in stitches revealing all kinds of little goodies about the iconic show.   She is so grounded and good-natured, you almost want to get stranded on an island with her!

Then we got a double dose of "Little House on the Prairie" with Alison Arngrim and Rachel Lindsay Greenbush, who played Nellie Oleson and Carrie Ingalls, respectively.  I worked with Alison years ago and she hasn’t changed a bit: still as spunky and quick-witted as ever.  And Rachel is as lovely a person as you could hope to meet.

The evening ended with Susan Olsen (Cindy of “The Brady Bunch”) and Patty McCormack (Rhoda of "The Bad Seed").  I had been on set recently with Susan on “Child of the 70’s” and was already aware how down-to-earth she was, but I didn’t know she wanted to be murderous Rhoda Penmark from "The Bad Seed”.  That’s why she eventually started braiding her hair on “The Brady Bunch”!  And despite being an unforgettable monster as the original Rhoda Penmark, Ms. McCormack is charming and warm, with a stately beauty that could stop traffic.  I think I have a crush! ;)

So kudos to Sheena for bringing these wonderful people together to share some of their experiences with the rest of us.   Such communal story-telling and idea sharing is what helps bridge people, making us a little more understanding, a little less fearful, a little less alone.  This is the gift of good radio.  Play on!

You can learn more about the show and listen to episodes at: