Skip to main content

See also:

Mrs. Gene Kelly resurrects her dead and talented hubby in a stage show

Pat and Gene
Pat and Gene
Author's collection

Now we know why Gene Kelly's wife bought from us on eBay.
She wanted as many memories and memorabilia as possible.
She's coming to town to present Gene Kelly: The Legacy: An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly on Wednesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Byham Theater.
We're not sure why this wasn't scheduled at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater . . . their marquee features Gene and Billy's signatures in neon.
They could have used the business---when will that theater close?
“I am very happy to be bringing the show to Gene’s hometown of Pittsburgh,” says Mrs. Kelly, the actor's third wife who was 46 years his junior. “So much of who Gene was and what he accomplished is rooted here in his steel town upbringing and in the upheaval that he and his family experienced during the Great Depression. The theaters and movie houses that Gene frequented as a young boy (including The Byham in its previous incarnations) played an important role in his creative development, so it is an honor—and a kind of coming full circle—to bring his Legacy to the place where it all began.”
It is also, according to Kelly, an opportunity to show sides of her husband not well known by the public.
“Many people know and love the person they see up on the screen, but few know the many dimensions of the man and his work" she adds. "They do not know that he was fluent in French, was a Shabbos Goy who spoke Yiddish, studied economics, memorized and wrote poetry, frequently read a book a day, did The New York Times crossword puzzle in ink. That’s one of the things that is most rewarding for me about doing the showsharing the little lower layers that make Gene come to life for people in new and interesting ways. Gene was very guarded and revealed little about himself in interviews. That he let down his guard and entrusted me with his story was a great privilege.”
Patricia Kelly’s compelling presentation combines rare and familiar film clips, previously unreleased audio recordings,
She met him in 1985 in Washington, D.C., where she was the writer for a television special about The Smithsonian for which he was the host and narrator. Soon after, he invited her to California to write his memoir. They fell in love, married, and were together until his death in 1996.
And Pat is so much nicer (and less greedy) than Robyn Astaire.
Pat adds: "“Each time I do the show, I learn new things from the audience and am touched by the personal stories that people share with me when I greet them before and after. He inspired many; others tell of being moved by a particular number or describe the way Gene’s work affected them at a certain time in their lives. Some remember being introduced to Gene’s movies by a parent or grandparent, and, of course, there are many for whom he was a first ‘love’—a crush that, in some cases, has lasted for decades. So, in many ways, the experience is very reciprocal. People often ask me if it is difficult to do the show because it is so personal and emotional. In fact, sharing the stories helps to deal with the absence, as Gene remains current and continues to influence new generations.”
Tickets ($20-$40) are available at TrustArts.org or by calling 412-456-6666