Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in “Over the Rainbow”

“Make ‘em Laugh!” salutes the great comics of Broadway and the Movies. From Bert Lahr to Nathan Lane, From Jimmy Durante and Groucho Marx to Zero Mostel, from Ray Bolger to Donald O’Connor, audiences have roared at the comics who tickled and entertained us on the Great White Way and the Silver Screen.

Richard Hanson returns to the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday (April 11) with a new program, “Make ‘em Laugh! The Funny Men of Broadway and Hollywood,”

Hanson is a professor emeritus of the University of Arizona’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. He created the school’s nationally known Musical Theatre Division. Hanson wowed ASA audiences last year and the year before with a salute to dance on Broadway and a look at musicals that brought controversial themes to mainstream theater-goers.

“The comics of Burlesque, Vaudeville and Broadway created characters that have become a part of our cultural heritage,” Hanson said. “Zero Mostel’s Tevye, Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion, Nathan Lane’s Max Bialystock, and Groucho Marx’s Captain Spaulding will live forever in the musical memories of generation after generation of theatre and movie goers.”

Richard Hanson

Hanson will also describe the magic that’s made when serendipity brings together the perfect clown and the perfect song: Ray Bolger and “If I Only Had A Brain,” Groucho Marx and “Lydia, The Tattooed Lady,” Paul Lynde and “Kids,” or Stanley Holloway and “Get Me To The Church On Time.”

“Make ‘em Laugh!” celebrates the klutzes, clowns and goofballs who made us laugh and forget the cares of the day. Hanson’s presentation lifts a dribble glass and toasts these wacky musical greats.

Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer

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April 11: A Tribute to the Funny Men of Broadway & Hollywood