Elizabeth Taylor, a name synonymous with film, Hollywood, glamour, success, and scandal. A film legend and humanitarian, there is much more than meets the eye. Or what is printed in the tabloids.
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to announce the Chicago streaming premiere with KB Productions of Call Me Elizabeth, a one-woman show about the early life of Elizabeth Taylor, written by and starring Kayla Boye and directed by Erin Kraft.
Set in May 1961 at The Beverly Hills Hotel, the play is inspired by Taylor’s conversations with writer Max Lerner as they discuss plans for a biography. Taylor rediscovers her sense of self following her 1961 Academy Awards triumph and recovery from a nearly fatal battle with pneumonia.
Fresh off her triumph as Best Actress for “Butterfield 8” and recovery we first see Elizabeth addressing the biographer, telling them to call her “Elizabeth”, not “Liz” which is what the tabloids refer to her as. It is “vulgar” she says. Through the conversation, she wants to show the real her. The movie star leads us through her early life. The start of her career and feeling unable to leave acting. Her loves, reminiscing about her first marriage to Nicky Hilton as she grapples with being labeled a “homewrecker” for having married Eddie Fisher and what the future awaits her.
The creative team includes Kayla Boye (“Elizabeth Taylor”), Erin Kraft (director), Christopher Pazdernik (associate producer), Ryan Cassell (cinematographer), Ethan Deppe (composer), Bethany Thomas (vocalist) and Kàchí Mozie (production photographer).
“Like so many, I have long been fascinated with Elizabeth Taylor, a pop culture icon who continues to captivate more than a decade after her death,” said Boye. “In her youth, Taylor epitomized movie stardom, later becoming associated with her fabulous jewels, her popular perfumes and her activism in the fight against HIV/AIDS. But what is the story behind the image? How does a star develop into a legend, and how does that legacy sustain itself? With Call Me Elizabeth, I hope to pay tribute to the life of this extraordinary woman by exploring how the strength of her character enabled her to break barriers with unshakable bravery and with signature style.”
Although on the shorter side, the performance is the perfect amount of time to get a feel of what one of Hollywood’s biggest icons was like and felt behind the scenes. The play sheds light on her essence. Who Elizabeth really was. Perfect for a night in, don’t miss it!
The 70-minute production may be viewed on-demand April 23 – May 9. Tickets are on sale now for $25 per household from PorchlightMusicTheatre.org, with streaming available up to 72 hours after initial viewing. A portion of proceeds benefits Howard Brown Health and Brave Space Alliance in honor of Taylor’s advocacy and activism in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Photos by Kàchí Mozie