Lewis Grizzard In His Own Words Tribute Show Is Jan. 26 At Tivoli

Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Bill Oberst Jr. as Lewis Grizzard in a one-man tribute show will be at the Tivoli Jan. 26.
Bill Oberst Jr. as Lewis Grizzard in a one-man tribute show will be at the Tivoli Jan. 26.

Veteran stage and screen actor Bill Oberst, Jr. commemorates Southern writer and humorist Lewis Grizzard in this one-man tribute show. Like Mark Twain before him, Grizzard used the scenes of his youth to weave tales that told the truth, even if they weren’t always fact. 

Actor Bill Oberst's portrayal of Lewis Grizzard is authorized by the late humorist's family and is the closest thing to seeing the late great spokesman of the south onstage again since Grizzard's death at age 47. Lewis Grizzard: in His Own Words has toured to 14 states in over 700 sold-out performances across the south. The show is presented in two acts and runs 90 minutes.  

Mr. Grizzard’s widow Dedra still remembers the moment she first saw Bill Oberst, Jr. as her late husband. “When he looked down over those glasses and the audience laughed, it really was like seeing a ghost.” she says. Yet Mrs. Grizzard was skeptical. A tribute show with an actor playing Mr. Grizzard had not been her idea, but hers was the final word. “After the show so many people came up and thanked me. So I decided that maybe we could do this in a way that honored Lewis’s memory, which was the most important thing to me. I told Bill ‘Let’s just try it and see what happens.” Twelve hundred performances later, the show is still going strong.

Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words, with Oberst in the role he originated, will play Chattanooga’s Tivoli Theatre for one performance only, on Saturday, Jan. 26. Show time is 7 p.m.  Mr. Grizzard played the Tivoli several times before his death in 1994, and he recorded two of his three hit comedy albums there: On The Road With Lewis Grizzard, Addicted To Love and Don't Believe Ida Told That.

This two-act performance features Mr. Grizzard’s best-loved stories and jokes, along with some poignant and funny readings from his books and newspaper columns. Mr. Grizzard was the most widely syndicated columnist in America for 15 years until his death at age 47 in 1994, appearing in 450 daily newspapers. He famously refused to use a computer and wrote on a manual typewriter, saying, “I like to by-God hear some noise when I type.”

 Mr. Grizzard wrote early each morning at his Atlanta breakfast table, agonizing over each word and going through countless drafts and cigarettes before calling his secretary at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to dictate the finished result. He once turned in an entire manuscript to Random House with no ‘e’s in it because his ancient Royal typewriter’s ‘e’ key had snapped off. Mr. Gizzard told the publisher, “Wherever you see a blank space, just put an ‘e’ in there.”

Mr. Grizzard’s 18 best-selling books include five Number One bestsellers on the New York Times’ bestseller list: Elvis Is Dead And I Don’t Feel So Good Myself, My Daddy Was A Pistol And I’m A Son-Of-A-Gun, Shoot Low Boys - They’re Riding Shetland Ponies, When My Love Returns From The Ladies Room Will I Be Too Old To Care? and Don’t Bend Over In The Garden Granny - You Know Them Taters Got Eyes.

Mr. Oberst Jr. lives in Los Angeles these days doing film and TV work. On stage the actor wears Mr. Gizzard’s own Gucci loafers and his favorite golf shirt. “Over 1,200 shows and I can count on my fingers the number of those that weren’t sold out,” says Mr. Oberst, “It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Lewis. The whole experience has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I just hope when I get to heaven he’s not mad at me for wearing his shoes.”

All seats are reserved at $26.50 plus convenience fees. $21 for groups of 10+. Tickets are available now at Memorial Auditorium box office, online at ChattanoogaOnStage.com, and by phone at 642-8497.


Dale Ann Bradley To Perform At MACC Oct. 10

Award winning bluegrass vocalist Dale Ann Bradley will perform at the Mountain Arts Community Center on Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 andmay be purchased at the MACC in advance - cash or check only.  Review for Dale Ann Bradley: Dale Ann Bradley is a five-time “IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year” winner and has recorded solo albums and has done collaborations ... (click for more)

3 Upcoming Plays At The Colonnade Include Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

Here are the upcoming productions at the Colonnade: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Back Alley Productions, directed by Kaylee Smith.   Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee Oct. 25 at 1 p.m.   Goodnight Moon The Musical by Storyteller Productions, directed by Roy Denton.  Nov. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.  ... (click for more)

Youth Pleads Guilty In 2011 Club Fathom Shootings; Rakestraw Gets 3 Years In Prison

A teen who was 15 at the time nine people were shot outside Club Fathom downtown on Christmas Eve 2011 pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault on Tuesday. Brandon Lebron Rakestraw, who is now 18, appeared before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole. He received a three-year prison term to serve. Rakestraw has been in jail for 10 months. Prosecutor Jason Demastus ... (click for more)

Erlanger Finishes Fiscal Year With $18 Million Profit

After a major loss the year before, Erlanger Health System finished the fiscal year with an $18 million profit, officials announced Monday night. It was well ahead of the $2 million gain that Erlanger had budgeted for, and far better than last year's $8 million loss. The profit was boosted by a first-time $19,587,000 from a Public Hospital Supplemental payment and essential ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Apollos Hester’s Way

East View High was trailing at halftime by a pair of touchdowns in last Friday night’s game against unbeaten Vandegrift. But the players at the Georgetown, Texas, school each have a sticker on the back of their helmets that says “TPW” which is a constant reminder that “Tough People Win.” Then there is “attitude” and that is where running back Apollos Hester steps in. In what ... (click for more)