Going with the Flo 

It certainly is the story of a lovely lady this week as Florence Henderson takes the stage at The Rrazz Room. However, the tale begins long before Carol and Mike merged households in 1969 and “The Brady Bunch” entered the pop culture lexicon.

A Depression-era baby from Indiana, Henderson made her Broadway debut in 1952 where she caught the eye of Rodgers and Hammerstein who cast her in tours of “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma!”

She’s since touched just about every facet that an entertainment career can offer – from television and films to recordings, cookbooks and motivational speaking.

Her current offering –  “All the Lives of Me … A Musical Journey,” evolved somewhat organically.

She says, “I was doing a concert and noticed the audience seemed genuinely interested in what I had to share with them during the Q&A portion, so we started to outline a show with the help of the amazing Bruce Vilanch. We kept some things from the original concert and added other aspects of my life, as well as some additional musical numbers, and before we knew it we had a show!”

Could she be tempted back to the grind of either Broadway or a television series?

“Of course, with the right vehicle and conditions. I am far too young to start ruling opportunities out. I recently had a ball playing grandmother to Christina Applegate and mother to Jean Smart and Christine Ebersole in ‘Samantha Who?’ Basically, as long as I'm enjoying it, I'll do it.”

In 2008 Henderson was honored along with Carol Channing, Julie Newmar, Esther Williams, Angela Lansbury and others by the Smithsonian Museum for her status as a cultural icon.

“You know, when I first heard about that, all I could think was that they wanted to put me behind glass,” she laughs. “I was thrilled.  To be included in that remarkable line-up of ladies as a pop-culture icon is such as honor.”

“She was the mother we all wanted, including me,” says Henderson of the enduring popularity of Carol Brady. “She was also the mother women all wanted to be.”

Henderson doesn’t mind if people occasionally blur the line between her and the role. “I think we have to embrace our history and I'm certainly proud of the character. Yes, I think sometimes the public looks at me and thinks ‘Carol Brady’ and that is absolutely OK with me. The No. 1 request I get from people on the street is: ‘Can I have a hug?’  Isn't that a wonderful desire or emotion to elicit from the public?”

 

IF YOU GO

Florence Henderson
Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $40 to $47.50
Contact: (866) 468-3399; www.therrazzroom.com

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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