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Christopher Plummer charms with 'A Word or Two'

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A Word or Two

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When I think of Christopher Plummer, I don't generally think of comedy, but in his one man-show will not only make you laugh, but also make you fall in love with "A Word or Two."

Written and arranged by Christopher Plummer with direction by two-time Tony Award-winning ("The Who's Tommy" and "Big River") Des Mc Anuff, this piece runs about an hour and 25 minutes (no intermission) and intertwines snippets of Plummer's life with the poetry and prose from writers such as A.A. Milne, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Ogden Nash and Shakespeare and more.

Robert Brill's set design includes a lectern, table with books on it and a chair, a director's chair, but is dominated by a swirling stairway of books. The path of the books ends within our sight, but with no particular destination--no door, no room. The books seem to become a jumping off point into one's imagination.

When Plummer last performed at the Ahmanson, it was in "Barrymore" in 1998. Plummer won a Tony for that role, his second. He had won in 1974 for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for "Cyrano." Plummer also has two Emmys--one as a lead actor in a limited series for "Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers" (1976) and for his voice work in the Family Channel series "Madeline" in 1994.

Plummer has a Golden Globe and Academy Award for supporting actor in "Beginners." At 80, he was the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.

Yet Plummer's life didn't begin under such a golden glow--he was born on Black Friday, 13 December 1929, when the stock market crashed. He tells us he was an only child, the Dutch Elm disease on his family tree. In time, his eyes were opened by world that, he tells us, "unlocked my imagination" and he declares "words would become my master" and he would become the "humble slave." Well, it's hard to be humble when you've won so many awards.

"A Word or Two," seduces us with words. Plummer is not only the master musician, but also a conductor, orchestrating this mix of master wordsmiths into a melody that should hopefully encourage anyone who hears it to read more.

"A Word or Two" continues at the Ahmanson until 9 February 2014. You might have seen Plummer on TV in "The Sound of Music" during its annual December broadcast. Plummer will appear on the 31 January 2014 on PBS in the 2012 adaptation of his Tony-award winning role, "Barrymore."

Tickets for “A Word or Two” are available by calling (213) 972-4400, visiting www.CenterTheatreGroup.org, or in person at the Center Theatre Group box office at the Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets range from $20 - $90 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.

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