Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Mae West: Len Wayland

MAE WEST starred in "Come On Up" and Len Wayland was in the cast in August 1952 when the comedy was staged at the Ivoryton Playhouse.
• • The play was directed by Russell Fillmore and produced by the Shuberts. Their booking in Connecticut was part of a brief revival years after the ambitious 1946 — 1947 national tour.
• • Len Wayland [28 December 1920 — 5 February 2001] • •
• • Born in Arkansas on 28 December 1920, Leonard became a stage actor. He was a mainstay at Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton (near New London), Connecticut during the early 1950s when he was in his 30s. Mae West assigned him a small role in "Come On Up"; his character does not appear until Act III.
• • After making his home onstage, being seen on Broadway in "A Man for All Seasons" (produced at ANTA Playhouse on West 52nd Street from 1961 — 1963), and doing regional tours in "A Streetcar Named Desire," etc., Len Wayland channeled his considerable talent into a small handful of bit parts in full-length films and roles on TV, appearing on the small screen about 68 times between 1957 — 1990.
• • In 1968, Len Wayland married New Yorker Julie Bovasso [1930 — 1991]. She was 38 and he was 48. The Brooklyn born Bovasso was an actress of stage, film, and TV, an acting coach and Obie winner, a Drama Desk winner, and a Broadway writer, performer, and director. Miss Bovasso died of cancer at age 61. Her obit in The NY Times did not mention Len Wayland, though it did mention the film she did with Cher and two with John Travolta.
• • Len Wayland spent his retirement years playing golf until he had a stroke. He died in Los Angeles, California on Monday, 5 February 2001. He was 80.
• • On Sunday, 5 February 1933 in New York World Herald • •
• • In an interview with New York World Herald in their Sunday issue, on 5 February 1933, Mae West boasted about discovering Cary Grant and getting him the role of Captain Cummings for her motion picture.
• • On Monday, 5 February 1934 in Scandinavia • •
• • "I'm No Angel" starring Mae West made its debut in Denmark on Monday, 5 February 1934.
• • On Wednesday, 5 February 1936 in the Hollywood Reporter • •
• • An article on censorship and the making of the film "Klondike Annie" was featured in the Hollywood Reporter on 5 February 1936. Variety also ran a story on the same topic in its issue dated for Wednesday, 5 February 1936.
• • On Saturday, 5 February 1949 on Broadway • •
• • Mae West fused herself to the persona of "Diamond Lil" like no other character she had ever played.
• • In the month of February, a Broadway revival of "Diamond Lil" opened at the Coronet Theatre [5 February 1949 — 26 February 1949]. This hugely successful revival was interrupted, alas, after a few weeks. Mae West broke her ankle on February 26, causing performances to halt after she slipped on a rug in her hotel room.
• • The trade papers sent their reviewers to the Saturday night performance on February 5th and most accorded it a favorable reception. The Daily News reporters enjoyed the "Diamond Lil" revival and admitted that they were laughing until they were fit to bust.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Suggestion is always more intriguing than reality. You must be stimulating to a man’s imagination."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A review of "Come On Up":mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Show Rings Down Curtain on Ivoryton Season" • •
• • Connecticut critic Joe Ryan wrote: The Ivoryton Playhouse's attraction this week is the fabulous Mae West. Aside from the slinking presence of one of the century's famed purveyors of broad insinuation, there is little at the Playhouse to distract the clientele. Neither the plot nor the supporting cast — — a huge one, by the way — — are of particular significance, for the vehicle "Come On Up ... Ring Twice" is merely a means of getting Mae West before the audience. She is on stage a good share of the time, undulating constantly ...
• • Joe Ryan added: Familiar faces didn't crop up until the third act, for the show's principal characters travel with it. Len Wayland rounded out two full seasons of nice work in consecutive shows at Ivoryton with a bit which will probably do his career no harm. Almost universally, the supporting cast modulated its efforts to allow Mae West to glitter forth. ...
• • Joe Ryan continued: Mae West's Show — She is said to have written the show, which seems quite feasible as seldom does a play so completely accentuate a single character. If, as seems reasonable, the show's only purpose is to display the Mae West everybody knows, it might be said to succeed. The gentlemen of the cast do not seem to mind playing the foil for the star, and ....
• • Source: Review: "Mae West Show Rings Down Curtain on Ivoryton Season" written by Joe Ryan for The Evening Day; published on Tuesday, 26 August 1952
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2568th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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