4

From M*A*S*H To 42nd Street In The Park, With Loretta Swit

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

There will be crazy good tapping going on at Miller Outdoor Theatre July 9-14 when another summer of free performances kicks off with the musical 42nd Street courtesy of Theatre Under the Stars -- at least that's what Loretta Swit promises.

Swit herself won't be doing any of the dancing. But the actress, known mostly for her Emmy-award-winning TV role as Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on M*A*S*H, will be singing and delivering the lines of prima donna Dorothy Brock.

The story is set on Broadway in the Great Depression so it should have a certain resonance  today. Small town girl Peggy Sawyer (played by Shannon M. O"Bryan who has performed the role on Broadway and on the road) replaces the star on opening night. The musical includes "Lullaby of Broadway," "We're in the Money," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and "42nd Street."

"This is a prima donna with a heart," Swit says enthusiastically. "She has been in the business for a long time. The Depression makes for desperate characters."

"She's a diva. She deserves the star on her door. That's not a bad thing."

 

Swit says her Dorothy Brock character makes a series of misjudgments about other people's actions in the play. Eventually, she comes to reallize these mistakes and resolves them.

Swit says this is the first time she's taken on this particular role, but it isn't the first time she has sung in public or acted on stage. In fact, she began her career on stage and although she started in non-singing roles, she's had plenty of singing parts along the way of her lengthy career.

Swit was born in November 1937 which would make her 71 now. Asked how she gets along with younger members of the troupe, she says just fine, pointing out that she has "a wonderful ingenue who trips me and I break my ankle." They're so friendly off stage, that Swit says she has trouble sometimes remembering to yell at O'Bryan.

Asked if anyone ever calls her "Hot Lips," Swit says no -- but it's not that they don't remember her part from the series that ran from 1972 to 1983. "The series and the characters are so loved that more often than not it's 'Miss Swit' or 'Major Houlihan,"  she says.

Free performances of 42nd Street at Miller Outdoor  Theatre, 100 Concert Drive, will be every evening July 9-14 at 8:15 p.m. Free tickets for the covered seats are available on the day of the performance between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Miller Theatre Box Office. Any tickets remaining will be given out one hour before curtain. No tickets? Bring a blanket and enjoy the show from the theatre's lawn.  

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.