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Scion of the silver screen

Carey Harrison reminisces about Hollywood & Broadway stars this Sunday in Rhinebeck

by Paul Smart
January 06, 2011 10:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sir Rex Harrison with His son, Carey.
Sir Rex Harrison with His son, Carey.
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Carey Harrison of Woodstock is a great bear of a man with one of those voices that stops you in your tracks. He could read a computer manual and make it sound like John Milton’s poetry. He could send you to Hell and make you feel like you were in ascendance to Heaven.

Carey Harrison also comes by his voice – and the erudition to lend it real effectiveness – through one of the great cultural legacies of our time: He’s the great British actor Rex Harrison’s son – Rex of My Fair Lady fame. Rex of Blithe Spirit and other Noel Coward masterworks. Rex of Unconditionally Yours, if that Preston Sturges ribcage-rocker’s familiar to you.

This Sunday, January 9, Carey Harrison talks about his Papa, as well as a good bit about his beloved mother Lili Palmer, also a great actress, in a one-time-only engagement at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. It’s being billed as “Behind the Scenes in the Golden Age of Hollywood: Tales of the Great Movie Stars,” and starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 9. In addition to memories of sir Rex Harrison, Carey will weave tales about the making of Cleopatra, about Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Noel Coward, David Niven, Burton and Taylor, Charlton Heston, Julie Andrews and others whom he observed as a kid.

“It began in 1949 when, aged 5, I had to be removed from the Broadway theater where my father was playing Henry VIII in the original production of Anne of the Thousand Days – a play in which the king, later played onscreen by Richard Burton, slaps Anne Boleyn,” Harrison reads, at one point. “I was carried out, screaming, ‘Daddy slapped that woman!’”

The younger Harrison is himself an acclaimed actor, director and playwright whose plays have been seen in more than 30 countries and broadcast in the US on Masterpiece Theatre. In conjunction with the Woodstock Players, with whom he has recently revived the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, he’ll be putting on a production of his own Magus in Rhinebeck come February 4 through 6.

For this Sunday’s 3 p.m. performance/talk, make it to the Center early. It’s located at 661 Route 308, three miles east of the village center in Rhinebeck. Or get reservations (or further information) by either calling (845) 876-3080 or visiting www.centerforperformingarts.org.

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