Most people, who are familiar with the name Linda Purl, think of her primarily as an actress. They would not be wrong, as the attractive and talented lady has an impressive acting resume - from movie parts to regular roles on daytime dramas including "Secret Storm" and "Port Charles," to recurring characters on nighttime series such as "Happy Days" and "Matlock."
In addition to her film roles, Linda Purl has received six Dramalogue Best Actress Awards and, as a producer, two Dramalogue Best Production Awards for her stage work. She is a three-time nominee of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress and was the recipient of the Connecticut Critics Award for Outstanding Performance in "The Baby Dance."
But there is more to Linda Purl than just her acting roles. It may come as a surprise to learn that she has a musical theater ("The King and I," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Grease," "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," "Oliver!, and "The Threepenny Opera," to name some) background, and is a respected cabaret performer and recording artist. Southern Nevada residents, and tourists visiting the area during the weekend of May 21, will have the opportunity to experience the song stylings of Purl on Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, when she displays her vocal skills at the Boulder Theatre in that lovely community by the dam.
The 550-seat Boulder Theatre, where Purl will perform songs written by artists including Harold Arlen, Burt Bacharach, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Sammy Cahn, Hoagy Carmichael, Cy Coleman, Johnny Mercer and Cole Porter, was once the quaint city's movie house. Built in 1931, for years it was the only air-conditioned building in the tiny town. In 1999, Boulder City resident actor/musician Desi Arnaz Jr., remembered for, among other things, his stint with the '60s pop group/boy band Dino (Martin), Desi & Billy (Hinsche), and his wife of 17 years, Amy, director of Boulder City's Dance Etc., purchased the facility. The historic structure is being lovingly transformed into a "real" theatre and is currently the home of the Boulder City Ballet Company (Yes, folks, there really is a Boulder City Ballet Company). The theater has been the scene of a number of productions, including the annual BCBC's December "Nutcracker Ballet" and September's "Chautauqua" program; "Love Letters" directed by Stephanie Zimbalist and co-starring Purl and Desi Jr.; a two night concert featuring Ricci (Martin, brother of the late Dean Paul Martin), Desi & Billy; and Ricci Martin with The Pack in "A Tribute to Dean Martin." Desi takes care of much of the behind-the-scenes work involved with productions, and it is more usual to find him manning the spotlight than standing in it.
Describing her cabaret act as "standards with a jazz wash or jazz marinade," Linda Purl has performed at the Rose Tattoo, Cinegrill, Gardenia and Jazz Bakery clubs in and around Los Angeles, as well as at Town Hall and Eighty-Eights in Manhattan. She also has a recently released solo CD, entitled Alone Together, available. The well-respected Ron Abel will accompany Ms. Purl on piano. Abel is also Purl's musical director. His impressive resume boasts stage and recording credits with the likes of Lucie Arnaz, Sarah Brightman, Carol Burnett, Petula Clark, Michael Crawford, Deborah Gibson, Debbie Gravitte, Johnny Mathis, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Faith Prince and Helen Reddy, among others. Lisa Lemay will handle the keyboards, with Ed Smith on drums and Randy Landas on bass. Desi will take a turn on the drums for a few of Purl's songs. He will also join his onetime wife (he and Purl were married for a short time in the early '80s) in a musical duet of Ron Abel's song, "Forever Is All We Know."
After a Big Apple appearance, in his New York Observer review, noted critic Rex Reed described the Connecticut-born Purl as, "An act that literally takes your breath away...she has an impressive range, perfect intonation, and awesome phrasing. In a tired landscape of cabaret yawns, she is one solid hour of seamless enchantment. Serendipitously discovering this kind of beauty and talent in a smoky room in Greenwich Village is like seeing a unicorn in a subway." Sounds like a "dam" good reason to make the 15 mile drive to Boulder City.
An Evening of Music with...Linda Purl and guest star Desi Arnaz Jr.
Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 7 pm
1225 Arizona Street in Boulder City, NV
All seats $25
For reservations call 293-5001