Musical Memories

By Jana Rivera

IN A WORLD where theatre-goers are often more aware of the actions of their fellow patrons than the actors on stage, Pamela Ross is turning heads. In her one-woman show, Goodbye, Harry, now playing at Invisible Theatre, she insists on an attentive audience straight off.

"Hello," she greets us...and then actually waits for a response. She speaks as if the audience is filled with old friends, and carries the warmth of that feeling throughout the piece. She even pauses to say "bless you" when a man in the front row sneezes.

You may remember Ross from her 1994 concert and theatrical performance, Carreño; or from I, Clara, another solo dramatic work. Both pieces, written and performed by Ross, pay homage to women artists (pianists).

Now Ross is back with another one-woman show combining piano concert and theatrical monologue, based on another historical figure--Harry Ross.

"Who the hell is Harry Ross?" you ask.

OK, maybe he's not so historical. Harry Ross is Pamela Ross' father, and Goodbye, Harry is her tribute to him.

If you're wondering what could possibly entice you to spend two hours listening to some woman talk about her father, stay tuned.

For starters, Ross' tribute to her father transcends her own personal experience to apply to all father/daughter relationships. Not that we all had a relationship like hers, or even a father like hers, though by the end of the evening we might wish we had. But this sentimental journey provides a stimulus for reflection on parenting and childhood and the reasons we grow up to be the people we do.

pix Secondly, she tells her story with charm and humor, which she apparently inherited from Harry. "I don't trust anything that sweats through its tongue," he once told Pamela, referring to her poodle.

Harry seemed to be at once an ordinary and an extraordinary man--by day, an ordinary Long Island dentist, by night a jazz musician, classical pianist and visual artist with an extraordinary flair for humor and life.

And if you're still unconvinced, in the midst of her memories of Harry, Pamela, a concert pianist in her own right (she has performed under the baton of Arthur Fiedler, Jorge Mester and Gustav Meier), tickles the keys and entertains us with Harry's favorites--everything from boogie-woogie to classical, from Zez Confrey to Frédéric Chopin, from George Gershwin to Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Now I know I've admitted my musical ignorance in the past, but trust me, this is good stuff.

Goodbye, Harry continues with performances Tuesday through Sunday through February 11 at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave., at Drachman Street. The Tuesday, February 6, performance will be in Spanish. Tickets are $12 and $15. Call 882-9721 for reservations and information. TW

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