Linda Purl and Kevin Spirtas belt out classics from Great American Songbook 

An image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers adorns the poster for “Rhapsody in Two,” the show starring Linda Purl and Kevin Spirtas this weekend at the Rrazz Room.

While she’s always ready and willing to sing the praises — and the songs — of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and the Gershwins, Purl is feeling very un-Ginger as she is healing from a broken ankle.

“I did a spectacular somersault and shattered it,” she says of the tumble she took last month. The accident hasn’t kept her down, though. Images of her toes peeking out of her cast against various theatrical backgrounds have become an amusing photo essay on her Facebook page the last few weeks.

Purl is best known for “Matlock” with Andy Griffith, and Spirtas made a mark as Dr. Craig Wesley on “Days of Our Lives” while also standing by for Hugh Jackman in Broadway’s “The Boy From Oz.”

“I’d always known of Linda, but it wasn’t until we worked on a musical version of ‘Camille’ by our friend Ron Abel that I got to know her and to love her,” says Spirtas. “We really click on a professional and life-force level.”

“Kevin and I are both nostalgia hounds,” says Purl. “The era we cover in this show was a time when they were writing songs that told stories, which I think appeals to us as actors as much as singers.”

Purl offers thanks to Michael Feinstein for nurturing interest in the genre they cover — generally called the Great American Songbook — that continues into this century.

“I can’t think of anyone who has done more than Michael for this art form,” she says. “He’s created an appetite for it among younger generations.”

One of the many benefits Purl sees in this is engagement of modern arrangers in classic material. “We have some really fun, hip and joyous takes on the songs that are respectful of a song’s history but not restricted by it.”

Recently Spirtas has added producer to his set of hyphenations. He is currently behind the scenes on “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” which opens the week after he returns to New York.

“I was helping a friend produce a one-day reading of his play that just happened to star Meryl Streep and her children. From there people just kept calling. I’ve learned that if you’re in this business long enough and you love what you’re doing it keeps presenting new opportunities to you.”


Linda Purl and Kevin Spirtas

Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, 8 p.m. Monday

Tickets: $35 to $40

Contact: (800) 380-3095,

About The Author

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol is the editor at BAYSTAGES, the creative director at VIA MEDIA, and a lifelong arts supporter. Diva wrangler, cinefiler, and occasional saloon singer, he has been touching showbiz all his life. (So far no restraining orders have been issued!)... more
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