Last Wednesday night, Barbara Beckley got a familiar feeling of relief, as the Colony Theatre's production of "Falling for Make Believe" successfully completed its first preview performance at the 270-seat nonprofit Burbank venue. The usual suspense in the weeks leading up to that first night was now behind the theater's artistic director, even as another worry was always nearby.
"Once a show is running, we all breathe a little bit," says Beckley, who has been with the Colony for more than 37 years. "The hard part is getting it going. Any theater person will tell you that."
The new show is an original play written by Mark Saltzman originating at the Colony: a musical biography of the lyricist Lorenz Hart, composer of the standards "My Funny Valentine," "Manhattan" and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," among dozens of other instantly recognizable songs co-authored with Richard Rodgers.
"This is the first time his real story has been told," she says of Hart, a closeted gay man in the 1930s and '40s, a man who possessed great gifts, but who suffered from depression and alcoholism before dying at age 48 from exposure. "It explores that side of his life, and it's done very tastefully."