An Evening with Kelsey Grammar: Aldwych Theatre, London, 2019
I went to see An Evening with Kelsey Grammer at the Aldwych Theatre, London in June 2019. A true comedy hero, I have been an enormous fan of classic US sitcoms Cheers and Frasier since they began both of which have made a household name of Grammar playing Dr Frasier Crane. Indeed, he has played the character for an amazing 20 years with enormous worldwide success. He was interviewed with great wit, confidence and ease by comedian and Talk Radio host Iain Lee whose birthday it was revealed. Grammer burst into excited glee answering every question that was put to him by the jovial interviewer and then from the audience.
There were so many great stories from the actor like when Mike Nichols, the famous TV sitcom and film director who was directing Grammer in a Broadway play refused point blank to release him so that he could audition for Cheers. Nicholls kept refusing until he relented and when they met 35 years later, Nicholls had told Grammar he had guessed he was wrong!
Another gem was when Grammar was auditioning for Frasier and he had to read some scenes with Ted Danson and Shelley Long (Sam and Diane) as the character was brought into season 3 to rock the romantic boat of the two leads. Grammer recalled that when he read the initial scenes, he had gotten no laughs whatsoever and crestfallen he got up and walked out of the room. After meeting up with a friend to drown his sorrows, when he got back to his hotel there was messages waiting for him that had been put in his room. When he got to his room (and Grammer was teary eyed when he said this), there was a bottle of champagne on the table with the note – ‘Welcome to Cheers!‘
The interview covered the actor’s poignant early years, theatre work (in London starring in a theatrical version of the film Big Fish in 2017 and in 2019 starring in The Man From La Mancha which also featured Nicholas Lyndhurst); other television work (The Simpsons Sideshow Bob, Boss) and even a possibly return for Frasier.
Grammer is a consummate actor and a very funny, warm and engaging man. I was only gutted that sitting at the back of the theatre, I couldn’t get to ask the great man a question and hadn’t realised that there was a meet and greet afterwards (hence alas no photo). Nevertheless, it was a great night, an excellent birthday present for the interviewer and a wonderful gift for the audience. It was just a shame it had to end, and Richard had to leave the building.