Hear heartwarming music at Three Stages

By From page B8 | February 08, 2013

“Too Marvelous for Words” presents some of the much-loved songs of Johnny Mercer — one of America’s great lyricists — and captures them at their most intimate.

Linda Purl and Lee Lessack return to Three Stages in a powerhouse evening, dedicated to the heartwarming music of Georgia’s favorite son.

Four-time Academy Award-winning songwriter Johnny Mercer comes to life as the two artists weave heretofore little-known stories with his timeless tunes, including “Moon River,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Black Magic,” “My Shining Hour,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” and more.

Brought to the stage by TV actress and singer Purl, originally Fonzie’s girlfriend on “Happy Days;” more recently on “The Office” and “Homeland” and Lee Lessack, the performance will feature some of Mercer’s unforgettable songs performed by two top-notch singers.

“This duo is delightful, the songs are time-tested and classic … it will surely warm these February nights, and is a perfect Valentine for our audience,” Three Stages Executive Director Dave Pier noted.

Born in Connecticut and raised in Japan, Purl’s television credits range from “Happy Days” as Fonzie’s fiancée to Charlene Matlock on “Matlock” to Joe Mategna’s wife on the acclaimed Supreme Court series “First Monday.”

Purl  has more than 30 television movies credits to her name, such as “Born Free,” “The Last Days of Pompeii,” “The Manions of America” and “Like Normal People,” the award-winning docu-drama about a mentally retarded couple.

Her feature film credits include Disney’s “Mighty Joe Young,” “The Walking Major,” “Crazy Mama” and “Leo and Loree.”

Stage credits include Broadway’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Getting and Spending,” Off Broadway: “The Baby Dance” and Off-Off-Broadway: “Hallelujah, Hallelujah!”

Purl is the recipient of six Dramalogue Best Actress Awards and two Dramalogue Awards as “Best Producer.”

She has received two Robby Awards for “Best Actress,” is a three-time nominee of the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Award for “Best Actress” and is the recipient of the Connecticut Critics’ Award for “Outstanding Performance in a Play” for her work in The Baby Dance.

Leesack’s graceful lyric baritone vocals and endearing persona have made him a shining star of the international concert scene. Touring extensively in the United States and Europe to sold-out performances and releasing five albums, Lessack has proven himself both as performer and recording artist.

His newest concert is titled “Chanteur,” an homage to the Great French Songbook, celebrating music by Michel Legrand, Jacques Brel, Gilbert Bécaud and Charles Aznavour.

Leesack’s fifth and most ambitious recording to date, “In Good Company,” features duets with music notables like Michael Feinstein, Maureen McGovern, Amanda McBroom, Ann Hampton Callaway and Stephen Schwartz.

It has earned a MAC and Bistro Award for Best Recording of the Year.

Musical Director John Boswell has served as musical director for Judy Collins, Andy Williams and Bob Newhart.

Boswell played the role of “Moose” in the national tour of “Crazy For You.”

Broadway/Off Broadway credits include “Crazy For You,” ” The Secret Garden,” “Back To Bacharach And David,” and “The Kathy And Mo Show: Parallel Lives.”

Boswell also composed music for the HBO special “Kathy And Mo: The Dark Side.”

“Two Marvelous for Words: The Songs of Johnny Mercer” will be presented at Three Stages, 10 College Parkway in Folsom, on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $39 to $45. They may be purchased online at or from the Three Stages ticket office at 916-608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday and two hours before show time.

Harris Center for the Arts

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