|Kurt Koehler Productions||
"One of the funniest shows I have ever seen! We laughed till we hurt."
Marc - Goldstar.com
"funny. there is not a dull moment",
"I haven't laughed this much since seeing "Chico's Angels." What's surprising is you apparently don't need to see the film prior as one of my guests hadn't and laughed all the way through. She streamed the film the next day on line and called to tell me she much preferred the play.
It's amazing the level that these actors commit to their characters to make parody come across as hilariously serious. Even the secondary roles grab onto their characters and make them so in your face; you can't help but even love the villains.
If you have not seen this show, put it on your list QUICK. It's a must see. Just make sure you pee before curtain or you may have an unintended accident during the show. You are forewarned."
Peter Fields - Goldstar.com
Oh 1985, you were a very good year. My family ran a dirt bike race track in Odessa Texas called “Roadrunner ” and we were there most weekends. We had an all-female team called “the BMX Darlings”. HOT!! I was a force to be reckoned with on those dirt whoop-dee-dos, anthills and hairpin turns… believe it! One of my favorite memories is watching my mom win a Mother’s Day bike race just months after she had given birth. Now that is girl POWER! We were not allowed to go see “The Legend of Billie Jean” because my mom thought it looked smutty. I think she noticed that Helen Slater wasn’t wearing a bra and that put the movie in the forbidden category. I loved Pat Benetar and watched the video for Invincible a million times which included clips from the movie (suck it Mom). I loved the Goonies too and imagined riding my bike with my brothers and sisters to find buried treasure (I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers so we were our own version of the Goonies). I was a mini-feminist even back then and loved the power that the women of the 80s were bringing. Thank you Lauper, Harry, Jett, Benetar and all you other 80’s ladies for inspiring me and so many others! We will be INVINCIBLE.
Oh, Summer of 1985, I remember you well! Crawling around on the ground, eating bugs out of the window sill, screaming to have my diapers changed... yes, it was my first summer living away from home at the beach! My friend Chris McCauley and I rented a house in Virginia Beach, VA between semesters (OF GRADE SCHOOL,OF COURSE), and scored jobs right by the shore. He became a waiter at a "fancy" hotel restaurant, and I, being too shy to be a server--I've since blossomed, in case you haven't noticed-- snagged a gig at a surf shop/T-shirt emporium. I recall living on a fairly steady diet of home-made banana daiquiris and Hardee's biscuits; slathering myself in Panama Jack tanning oil (FUCK SUNSCREEN) while sporting the latest Billabong or Quicksilver board shorts, and listening to Talking Heads and The B-52's non-stop. It was also the first, and last, summer I tried to learn to surf -- umm, that shit is HARD. ( I also had a mini-breakdown in August brought on by lack of nutrition and pent-up sexual frustration, and almost had to be hospitalized, but that's a story for another day. Come on, it wouldn't be The South if I didn't have a Blanche DuBois moment or three!) AND, OH, the movies!! We went to the movies constantly, and what a summer it was for flicks: Back to the Future, Cocoon, Prizzi's Honor, The Goonies, Weird Science, A View to a Kill, Return to Oz, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Clue, Jewel of the Nile and St. Elmo's Fire, just to name a few. Two very distinct movie memories I have from that summer include driving to Norfolk to see Blood Simple in the art house theatre there BY MYSELF--a first! -- and seeing (for the first of hundreds of times) one of my all time faves Pee Wee's Big Adventure with a high school wrestler co-worker buddy and an entire bottle of rum sneaked into the theatre in my Jams...that was quite a night. BUT somehow...I missed "The Legend of Billie Jean"! I was probably passed out behind the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster at Busch Gardens or somesuch when my friends hit that one. I did, of course see it years later, and even later than that, Christian Slater was coincidentally one of the first celebrities I met when I moved to Los Angeles. AND NOW Helen Slater and I have the same agent! For realz! Dreams come true, not free. Oh, Hollywood! Oh, one more thing: I was always a huge Pat Benatar fan, and was OBSESSED with the song "Invincible." I even remember saying to my loving, but very strait-laced grandmother that year at some point, as she was complaining about how "bold and wild kids were these days": "But, Grandmother, WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BE INNOCENT." Thank you, Pat and Billie!
1985. My freshman year at Castle High School in the one-traffic-light town of Newburgh, IN. Hair spray, sweater dresses, pep rallies, Swatch watches and braces. Good lord, I was a hot mess. I was in a singing group called "Broadway Babies" - we performed all over the city at such high-profile venues as the McCurdy Retirement Center and the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Schnucks grocery store off highway 66. "85 was the year I joined the thespian club and sang in my best cockney accent in MY FAIR LADY, dated a punk-rocker, and became a woman. Yep, I said it. Just like PUTTER. Hey, I was a year younger than my classmates and a late bloomer. I was far too dorky and straight-laced to sport the edgy Pat Benatar look that took schools by storm. Let's face it, I was a lot more like PUTTER... minus the child abuse, trailer park and juvenile delinquency. But no doubt, had BILLIE JEAN asked me to go on the run for justice, I would have.... I just would have called my mom & dad first.
I really loved Pat Benatar - I was first and foremost a Debbie Harry/Blondie freak but Pat was on the same label (Chrysalis) as Blondie and also had the same producer for a lot of her stuff, Mike Chapman. I loved the Blondie sound and I, of course, loved the Pat Benatar sound - Pat really had the voice and was even tinier than Debbie. Amazing the power her voice had and still has although, to be snarky, Debbie's has aged much better. And Debbie actually wore the blazer over one-piece swim suit thing long before Pat, even though Pat worked that look more. And Pat didn't wear a black & white cut-out swim suit under her jacket - she wore a leotard straight out of, like, the Danskin store at the mall - and that, kids, is what makes one a punk and not just your run of the mill rock star. Not that I'm knocking Pat - again, she's one of my very faves and I'm loving singing all the songs that I know by heart that all these other kids in the cast have never heard of. How sad. You all know that "We Live For Love" was written about Linda Blair - Neil "Spider" Geraldo's girlfriend before marrying Pat. Linda rocked a lot of rock stars - but this show is all about Pat. Billie Jean is even wearing little Pat Benatar boots in the show - and that my friend is one of the things that Pat owns over any other pop/rock star - Pat Benatar Boots. They're not ankle boots or half boots or Catherine Deneuve in "The Hunger" opening scene boots - they're Pat Benatar Boots - and like her music they will rock forever!!!!! "Yeah-eah, ooh-ooh" One more thing for the kids - Pat was the Whitney Houston before Whitney came out about the time Pat's career waned - what is unique about Pat is that she just sang the notes and that was enough. Post Whitney Houston female power house singers (Ann Wilson not including) just sang AROUND the notes i.e. Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and all them ho's trying out for American Idol & other shit shows. That's annoying. If you're a really compelling singer (like Pat) you can get away with anything musically by just singing what's written and bringing your essence through your vocal tone - not by acrobatics. Ok, I'm done.
1985 was a big year for me. I was on the verge of being able to read, and I could almost tie my shoes! I already knew I was going to be a famous actress, but I've always had a psychic streak in me. This headshot is from later in the 80's when my Mom finally wised up and stopped getting me headshots at the passport photo center. My first ever headshot (not this one) was for my role as Young Florence in "Chess" and it featured my frizzy hair, my gap-toothed smile and stars in the background. I really stood out in the playbill. Being both a fan of "The Little Mermaid" and "LaVerne & Shirley," I couldn't believe I got cast in "Chess" alongside Jodi Benson and Eddie Mekka. Talk about a dream come true! But that was 1989. In 1985...honestly, I don't have many memories from 1985. I ate by myself in preschool and spent most days plotting how I was going to grab a trike from one of the five-year old guys who always hogged them, then speed off campus and not stop 'til I got to Mexico! I guess I had a little Billie Jean in me, come to think of it. I was blonde like Billie Jean, too. Just kidding. I look jaundiced when I'm blonde..which is why I need to stop writing this blog entry and get back to tanning my yellowish-white Irish skin for the show. See ya at the Cavern Club, y'all!Fair is Fair!
The first half of 1985 I was an intern at a theatre in Memphis, TN. We were housed in a run down pre-Civil War mansion that was falling apart. To spice that up a bit, an eccentric actor from the original DARK SHADOWS TV show would walk around the house in the middle of the night dressed in a tuxedo. Apparently he...well, thought he was a vampire. The 2nd half of the year I lived in Mobile, AL and toured in a musical about Wild Pecos Bill. But hold on to your spurs because, I was the pistol toting title character. LA folks under estimate my butchness. I didn’t get to the movies much that year but I had a boom box and I remember loving Pat Benatar’s INVINCIBLE...though for a long while I thought it was INVISIBLE, but I blame that on the cheap batteries. My thanks to Kurt Koehler and James Quinn for casting me in 13 roles in this production. I really don’t mind that I spend most of the show standing in my underwear backstage wondering what to put on next because that’s sort of what I do at home.
“Pat Benatar meets “Billie Jean” in a Basement – Invincible Rocks the ‘80s”
“Invincible is a Benatar bonanza!... Billie Jean is perfect here, but it's got enough going for it that we could see it in a bigger venue too. The movie's motto, may have been "Fair is fair," but at this androgynous '80s-themed spectacle, fair is fierce!”
Lina Lacaro - LA WEEKLY
“To all of us PAT BENATAR fans far and wide, WE BELONG at this show! Saw it last night – campy, hilarious FUN.”
Xaque Gruber - Venice Magazine
“The show was hilarious! Loved it!”
Maile Flanagan – Facebook Review
The first time I ever heard about “The Legend of Billie Jean” was from Kurt when he asked me to attend a reading. It had never crossed my radar screen. When it opened in 1985 and subsequently played thousands of times on MTV, I was living in Europe. I don’t remember if it ever reached European markets, but if it did, it probably played better because of dubbing or subtitles, the Europeans way of ‘fixing it in post.’ It took me three sessions to sit and watch the whole thing. All I could think of was how much cocaine, that ubiquitous show biz drug of the 80s, must have been on the set to come up with this vigilante movie. Visuals of children lining the walls of warehouses? And all of this over a scooter? I repeat, all of this over a scooter? Huh? I guess Billie Jean was never taught to pick her battles.
I love working on this show because, let’s face it, with such talented people, it really isn’t work. Being the ‘older’ person on stage (i.e., the one without hair coloring), I am not required to do much but make the 30/40 year olds look like teenagers by comparison and feed them straight lines, the few in the show. It is a joy to see what people do with the actual lines from the movie. It is so ripe with possibility. And of course, when everyone is laughing in rehearsal, you know the audience will as well.
Looking for THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN on DVD? I know it's been hard to find, since it's release on VHS in the 80's. Thanks to the Warner Brother's Archives you can now purchase the DVD (not sold in stores). Warner Archives releases sought after films on their web site www.wbshop.com. Sony and MGM have some missing gems that can also be found there.
Click the picture to be taken right to the site!