The Elizabeth of the title “Call Me Elizabeth” is Elizabeth Taylor. Please, don’t call her Liz.
Considered at the height of her fame to be one of the world’s great international beauties, the violet-eyed legend became as famous for her personal life as she did for her achievements on screen, television and stage.
A child star at age 12 (in National Velvet), she was the virgin bride of hotel heir Nicky Hilton at 18 (she quipped that she was the only virgin in Hollywood) but would marry three more times within a decade: to dashing British actor Michael Wilding, to whom she bore two sons; to producer Mike Todd, who died tragically in a plane crash, and who may have been her truest love; and to immensely popular crooner Eddie Fisher.
It’s at this point in her history that “Call Me Elizabeth” picks up her narrative. It’s 1961, and Ms. Taylor is being interviewed by renowned journalist Max Lerner (one of her flings). Having previously received three Oscar® nominations (for Raintree County; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Suddenly, Last Summer), this is the year she will win the gold statue, for Butterfield 8. She’ll become the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, as well as one of its most controversial. While the general public’s obsession with the private lives of celebrities has nowhere nearly approached the dimensions that we see today, there was nonetheless enough interest in the lives of the stars to sustain a collection of gossip columns, movie magazines, and publications called scandal sheets (e.g., Confidential). Elizabeth has been called a homewrecker for allegedly derailing Fisher’s earlier marriage to Debbie Reynolds. Taylor’s fame as a performing artist is outshining the career of her singer-husband. Her marriage to Fisher is now clearly also on shaky ground. The focus of the media on her not-so-private-any-more life is overshadowing her achievements on screen. 1961 is also the year she will bounce back from a life-threatening illness. A tracheotomy will leave a scar on her neck. Her illness is one factor causing the delay of the start of production of her next feature, Cleopatra. Her co-stars will be Rex Harrison and Richard Burton.
Kayla Boye is the writer and star of “Call Me Elizabeth”. Ms. Boye bears a significant physical resemblance to the young Elizabeth Taylor, enough so that her likeness will sufficiently convince you that Kayla is the actress to play the part. Her extensive theatrical credits are weighted heavily in the area of musical comedy, including roles in Holiday Inn, Can Can, Anything Goes, Chicago, Mary Poppins, South Pacific, and much more. The Chicago-based artist is a graduate of Youngstown State University.
Erin Kraft directs. Also Chicago-based, she received a Master’s Degree from the Theatre School at De Paul University after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree at USC. Her directorial credits include In a Word, Undo, It’s a Wonderful Life, Always….Patsy Cline, The Secret Garden, Smudge, and much more.
“Call Me Elizabeth” debuted online during the pandemic lockdown and had its live premiere at Hollywood Fringe Festival and traveled to Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“You’re in for a real treat with this superb show.”— Ed Fringe Review
Elizabeth Taylor continued to engage in scandalous romances, to the extent that some people considered boycotting the movie Cleopatra in protest. The New Yorker memorably published a one-sentence review of the film, “Oh, go ahead and see it.”
Kayla Boye is a charismatic beauty who effectively evokes one of the most iconic, legendary figures in Hollywood history in Call Me Elizabeth. Go ahead and see it.
“Call Me Elizabeth” opens February 10 and plays through February 19, 2023 at Sierra Madre Playhouse located at 87 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre , CA 91024. There is free parking available in lots behind the Playhouse and across the street, as well as street parking. There are several dining establishments just yards from the Playhouse. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $45. Seniors (65+) $40. Youth (21 and under) $25 and discounted teen tickets (13-19) are available at $5 through the TeenTix Pass program. Visit SierraMadrePlayhouse.org or call (626) 355-4318.