Starring Tom DiMenna as Telly Savalas
Directed by Taylor Negron
New York, NYâ€“ It was a highlight of the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival, and for the past three months Who Loves You, Baby? has thrilled packed audiences at The Huron Club at The SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street). The show was originally slated to close on December 30, but due to popular demand, Tom DiMenna will resume his nightly resurrections of bald-headed sex symbol Telly Savalas three times a week beginning January 18 and carrying on through April 2012.
The show, written by New Yorkâ€™s own Hunter Nelson, has had everyone from hipsters to hip-replacements rolling in the aisles. Under the direction of Taylor Negron, young comic chameleon Tom DiMenna expertly channels the unmistakable chutzpah of long-dead 70â€™s Hollywood tough guy Telly Savalas. Thatâ€™s right: The no-nonsense Greek-American actor best known as TVâ€™s Lt. Theo Kojak has taken flesh once again — and he sings, too! Accompanied by virtuosic pianist Alex Leonard, and joined by Henry Kaiser as Tellyâ€™s second-banana brother George (part of a â€œpackage dealâ€ resurrection), DiMenna creates a unique and surreal atmosphere of nightclub comedy and supernatural stagecraft, all couched in the uncontestable class and cool of a sexier (and somewhat sweatier) time gone by.
Who Loves You, Baby? turns the conventions of traditional cabaret to its own purposes, diagnosing and â€“ before your very eyes â€“ curing this generationâ€™s all-around cultural incontinence, forcibly remedying our modern worldâ€™s ever-weakening grasp on romance and masculine sexual identity. Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Who Loves You, Baby? has received cheers from all over: â€œYou will not see a funnier play than Who Loves You, Baby?! As Savalas, Tom DiMenna is hilarious and cool like Telly.â€ — Nytheater.com; â€œWho Loves You, Baby? is hilarious. Tom DiMenna is front and center as a dead ringer for the now-dead Savalas. Itâ€™s a brilliantly breezily bombastic performance that induces giggles galore for its gumption and straight-faced pontification.â€ — Nitelife Exchange; â€œI laughed my way from the beginning right through the end.â€ — LA Fringe Review; â€œTom DiMenna plays the hairless icon with comedic graceâ€¦ [the show is] simultaneously ridiculous and refreshing.â€ — LA Theatre Review
Audiences have been brought to tears by the string of genuine laughs that DiMenna serves up with such fresh and unexpected timing. And yet beneath the surface of Who Loves You, Baby? Tom as Telly subversively grapples with darker aspects of the human condition: mortality, legacy, love, life, and death. â€œA man should know his own personal darkness,â€ he warns. â€œThatâ€™s where the art lives. Itâ€™s where Beethovenâ€™s 5th comes from. Itâ€™s where Guernica comes from. And you bet your ass itâ€™s where â€˜Kojakâ€™ comes from!â€ The show serves as a touching and funny tribute to the life and songs of Savalas, while delivering an earnest message to todayâ€™s hipsters not to sacrifice romance for cheap and easy thrills. And to powder their feet.
Come witness this uproarious and fundamentally indescribable lounge act from the world beyond, and see for yourself why the world needs Telly now more than ever!
UPDATED LISTINGS INFORMATION
WHO LOVES YOU, BABY?
Written by Hunter Nelson; Directed by Taylor Negron
Starring Tom DiMenna as Telly Savalas; Henry Kaiser as George Savalas
Piano accompaniment by Alex Leonard
January 18 â€“ April 15, 2012
New Performance Schedule: Wednesday â€“ Friday at 7:30PM
Running Time is 75 Minutes
The Huron Club at The SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street
Tickets are $25. For tickets and information please visit www.sohoplayhouse.com
For information about Who Loves You, Baby?, please visit: www.tellysavalaslive.com
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST
TOM DIMENNA (Telly Savalas) is an alumnus of Second City Chicago, and trained in Shakespeare at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Tom recently starred in the movie Turkey Bowl which was well received at SXSW and bought by Tribeca/ESPN. A Filmstage reviewer said of Tomâ€™s role in the movie, â€œThe standout is Tom DiMennaâ€¦ His laid back nature gives him great comedic timing and everything he says is funny. He also gets the best laugh in the film, when he decides itâ€™s half-time by lighting up a cigarette.â€
Tom came up with the idea for Who Loves You, Baby? with writer Hunter Nelson in New York as performing members of the improv comedy troupe SMIRK. After seeing a YouTube video of Telly Savalasâ€™ #1 radio hit (in Europe), singing/speaking a casually sincere rendition of the song â€œIf,â€ Tom found himself growing ever more and more obsessed with the guy. With Hunter, and later in Los Angeles with Taylor Negron, Tom developed the show as a lounge act, which quickly grew to become the must-see act of LAâ€™s burgeoning underground cabaret scene. Several video shorts have since been produced, including â€œTelly Tipsâ€ and â€œTelly Time,â€ the latter of which has been featured on the popular comedy website FUNNY OR DIE.
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