A Twist of Lemmon, at the Bickford theatre in Morristown, New Jersey, is a wonderful homage by Jack Lemmon’s son Chris. It is a “must see” for fans of the two-time Academy Award winner (Mister Roberts and Save the Tiger) and the Golden Age of Hollywood. It is a wonderful, touching, very personal portrait of one of our favorite actors written and presented with great love by his multi-talented son.
In A Twist of Lemmon, Chris Lemmon shares family tales and anecdotes from and about his dad. Chris, who bears a strong physical resemblance to his dad, uniquely presents the program entirely in the voice of his Dad with perfect spot-on physical mannerisms (in so doing displays his own first rate acting and musical talents).
Twist, as you would expect, is filled with stories of movie stars and directors who were Jack’s close friends like Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Marilyn Monroe, John Ford and Jimmy Cagney, plus a special tribute to his best friend Walter Matthau. Audience favorites are the stories of Jack’s casting in Mister Roberts and the making of Some Like It Hot with the tardy Marilyn Monroe (Chris delivers Joe E. Brown’s climactic “Nobody’s perfect” line from Some Like It Hot perfectly) …plus the professional “marriage” of Lemmon and Matthau starting with The Odd Couple. They teamed in a series of box office winners. To Chris Matthau was Uncle Waltz.
Twist is based on Chris Lemmon’s book A Twist of Lemmon which, of course, tells the story of his dad who starred in over 60 films. He was the first actor to win both an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Mister Roberts), and Best Actor (Save the Tiger).
The program’s warmest moments are when Chris discusses the impact of his parents’ divorce (he was only three). Each remarried (his step-father was Cliff Robertson), with the result his memories of his father are based more on specific activities like fishing in Alaska, golfing at Pebble Beach and sharing a love of the piano. As Chris states, Jack made a concerted effort to remain a part of his son’s life. “I adored and idolized Pop,” and “I know he never doubted that I loved him,” Chris says. “He was a great father and a man who was a hell of a lot of fun to be with. I miss him an awful lot, So for 90 minutes every night, I get to be on stage with him. That’s the way it feels to me. I even call out to him. I say, ‘Pop, here we go’ right before I come on. Then I say ‘Magic Time,’ which was his line. Then I go out there and I just have a ball for 90 minutes. It’s so much fun.” Said Chris.
You can experience part of the fun by seeing this truly wonderful tribute by a son for his father. Remember you only have today at 2pm and 7pm.
Bickford theatre at the Morris Museum 6 Normandy Heights Road Morristown, NJ 0796