‘Grizzard’ to appear at Ritz

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2004

A critically proclaimed and versatile performer who has portrayed famous figures from John F. Kennedy to Woody Allen is bringing his one-man show to the stage of the Ritz Theatre at 7 p.m. next Monday night, November 10.

Bill Oberst, Jr. will perform in &uot;Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words&uot;, the third production offered by the Greenville Area Arts Council during their 2004-2005 season.

Oberst, who began doing imitations as a child, grew up to be an actor and mimic whose specialty is bringing historical figures to life in their own words.

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The actor routinely performs in over 150 shows each year and has portrayed individuals as diverse as Jesus of Nazareth, Rodney Dangerfield, Abraham Lincoln and &uot;Moms&uot; Mabley. His performance as Lewis Grizzard has won critical and audience approval.

Humor with a southern twist

Grizzard, the late southern journalist whom Oberst portrays in his latest production, routinely injected humor and pathos into his clear-eyed observations about his native Georgia and the South in general. He also chronicled his trials and tribulations due to a congenital heart condition, not to mention the ups and downs of his relationship with no less than four wives.

Even though Grizzard died in 1994, his humor is still immediate, and critics agree audiences &uot;roar with laughter&uot; as Oberst, in the guise of Grizzard, explains such topics as the southern obsession with sports and the southerner’s love for a good rifle.

The show is described by Jeff Johnson of the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier as &uot;fast paced and very funny, a theatrical reminder of how much [Grizzard] is missed by his legions of readers and fans.&uot;

Soon to arrive in Greenville

Local folks already agree.

&uot;We have had several of our arts council members see Bill perform as Lewis Grizzard in other cities and they absolutely loved it

– they insisted we bring this production to the Ritz so our local folks can enjoy this fine actor,&uot; said Roberta Gamble, production chairman for the GAAC.

Oberst worked with Grizzard’s wife, Dedra, and his manager, Steve Enoch, to create the acclaimed one-man show, which carries the full seal of approval from the Grizzard Estate. (Oberst even wears a pair of Grizzard’s own Gucci loafers during the show.)

&uot;We know this is going to be another wonderful show and we hope to see a good crowd attend our latest production,&uot; Gamble said.

Tickets for &uot;Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words&uot; are $15 for students and $20 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the Pineapple and will be available at the box office next Monday evening.

For more information, contact Roberta Gamble at 382-3414.