NEPA Scene Staff

Barry Bostwick joins Barbara Eden on stage for ‘Love Letters’ at Scranton Cultural Center on Feb. 1

Barry Bostwick joins Barbara Eden on stage for ‘Love Letters’ at Scranton Cultural Center on Feb. 1
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From a press release:

When it was first announced back in June, Hal Linden was set to appear opposite Barbara Eden in the A.R. Gurney play “Love Letters” at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m., but due to a scheduling conflict, Barry Bostwick will take his place in the Cultural Center’s Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Theatre.

The Tony and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, who starred in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Spin City,” is currently on tour with Eden, the legendary star of “I Dream of Jeannie.”

“While the writing is good, Bostwick and Eden should be credited to this production’s success. The actors deserve praise for their performances,” according to a recent review. “With each age, they portrayed characters who felt raw, desperate, familiar emotions. The characters grow and learn how to deftly manage their feelings, and the actors reflect this in their handling of the material.”

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “Love Letters” by award-winning playwright A.R. Gurney is a funny and emotional portrait about the powerful connection of love. Two friends, rebellious Melissa Gardner and straight-arrow Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, have exchanged notes, cards, and letters with each other for over 50 years. From second grade through summer vacations to college and well into adulthood, they have spent a lifetime discussing their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats. But long after the letters are done, the real question remains: Have they made the right choices or is the love of their life only a letter away?

Tickets, which range from $42.50-$62.50 (with a post-show meet and greet available for an additional $50), are on sale now and available at the Fidelity Bank Box Office at the Scranton Cultural Center (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton), all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 570-344-1111.

Barbara Eden, 88, is a film, stage, and TV actress and singer best known for her starring role in the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” (1965-1970). She played “Jeannie” for five years and 139 episodes, plus two made-for-television reunion movies. On Nov. 17, 1988, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to television.

Eden wrote a memoir about her personal life and Hollywood career of more than 50 years called “Jeannie Out of the Bottle,” which was released in 2011 and debuted at No. 14 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Tall, agile, energetic, and ever-so-confident as both an actor and singer, especially on the award-winning Broadway stage, Barry Bostwick possesses that certain narcissistic poise, charm, and élan that reminds one instantly (and humorously) of a Kevin Kline – both were quite brilliant in their respective interpretations of the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance.” Yet, for all his diverse talents (he is a Golden Globe winner and was nominated for the Tony Award three times, winning once), the 74-year-old is indelibly caught in a time warp. Even today, over 40 years after the fact, he is indelibly associated with the role of nerdy hero Brad Majors in the midnight movie phenomena “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975). While it is extremely flattering to be a part of such a cult institution, his acting legacy is much more than this.

He was born Barry Knapp Bostwick on Feb. 24, 1945, in San Mateo, California, one of two sons born to Henry “Bud” Bostwick, a city planner, and his wife Betty. A student at San Mateo High School, he and his elder brother Peter use to put on musicals and puppet shows for the neighborhood kids. Barry attended San Diego’s United States International University’s School for the Performing Arts in 1967 and switched from music to drama during the course of his studies. He also worked occasionally as a circus performer, which would come in handy on the musical stage down the line. He subsequently moved to New York and attended the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University.

Making his stage debut at age 22 in a production of “Take Her, She’s Mine,” Bostwick performed in a number of non-musical roles in productions of “War and Peace” (1968) and “The Misanthrope” (1968). Making his 1969 Broadway debut in “Cock-a-Doodle Dandy,” which ran in tandem with “Hamlet” in which he was featured as Osric, it was his portrayal of the swaggering, leather jacket-wearing ’50s “bad boy” Danny Zuko in the 1972 Broadway high school musical smash “Grease” that put his name prominently and permanently on the marquee signs. Originating the role, he was nominated for a Tony but lost out that year to the older generation (Phil Silvers for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”).

In the midst of all this star-making hoopla, Bostwick was also breaking into films with a minor role in “Jennifer on My Mind” (1971) and leading parts in the comedy spoofs “Road Movie” (1974) and “The Wrong Damn Film” (1975). It all paled after winning the role as Susan Sarandon’s simp of a boyfriend in the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), which featured a delicious Tim Curry camping it up as a transvestite monster-maker. The movie, based on the macabre 1973 British stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show,” packed the midnight movie houses with costumed fans replicating every move and word, offering puns and props aplenty in recapturing the insanity of the show.

While the “Rocky” association hit like a tornado, Bostwick ventured on and tried to distance himself. He created sparks again on Broadway, garnering a second Tony nomination for the comedy revival “They Knew What They Wanted” in 1976. He finally took home the trophy the following year for the musical “The Robber Bridegroom” (1977), which relied again on his patented bluff and bravado as a Robin Hood-like hero. Following top roles in the musicals “She Loves Me” and “The Pirates of Penzance,” he turned rewardingly to film and TV.

The two-part feature “Movie Movie” (1978), which played like an old-style double feature, was a great success, performing alongside esteemed actor George C. Scott. Bostwick excelled in both features, but especially the musical parody. He fared just as well on the smaller screen in TV movies, playing everything from historical icons (George Washington) to preening matinée idols (John Gilbert), and winning a Golden Globe for his role as a military officer in the epic miniseries “War and Remembrance” (1988). A variety of interesting roles followed in glossy, soap-styled fare, farcical comedies, and period drama.

A welcomed return to Broadway musicals in the form of “Nick & Nora” (as sleuth Nick “The Thin Man” Charles) was marred when the glitzy production folded after only nine performances. Instead, the prematurely grey-haired actor found steadier success in sitcoms as a smug comedy foil to Michael J. Fox, playing Mayor Randall Winston for six seasons in “Spin City” (1996). He later enjoyed a recurring role as a dauntless attorney on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999). Then again, Bostwick could be spotted pitching items in commercials or hamming it up in family-oriented Disney-esque entertainment in the “Parent Trap” and “101 Dalmatian” mold.

In 1997, Bostwick was diagnosed with prostate cancer; 10 days later, he had his prostate removed. The operation was successful and, in 2004, he won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Just a year earlier, he appeared on an episode of “Scrubs” as a patient also having prostate cancer. He married somewhat late in life. For a brief time, he was wed to actress Stacey Nelkin (1987-1991), but has since become a father of two, Brian and Chelsea, with second wife Sherri Jensen, an actress who appeared with him in the TV movie “Praying Mantis” (1993).