Some Greeks Are Not In The Restaurant Business

Review by Willard Manus

Greg Lewis is a multi-talented man. As a teenager, he worked in vaudeville as a member of the Harmonicats, then he formed a comedy team with Gus Christy, appearing on such TV shows as Ed Sullivan and Hollywood Palace. Seguing into acting, he was featured in such movies as Frankie & Johnny and Princess Diaries, not to mention such plays as The Time of Your Life and Moment in the Sun. In 1999, he began writing a one-person show, Gregory, Gregory, which premiered at the Beverly Hills Playhouse (where he also teaches acting).

Lewis has continued to refine his solo show over the years, the latest version of which, SOME GREEKS ARE NOT IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS, is lighting up the local theatre scene. Lewis, as the title indicates, is of Greek descent; his father, a tough, uneducated but hard-working immigrant owned a small restaurant in Chicago which he expected to turn over to his son one day. When Lewis rejected the idea, making it clear that he'd rather play the harmonica than dish out mousaka, his father blew up and called him a criminal (in public, too).

Lewis spent a lifetime trying to cope with his father's disapproval, and to understand the man. SOME GREEKS deals with Lewis's complicated relationship to his philistine and judgmental patera, and describes in a touching way how he finally made his

peace with him. For the most part, though, Lewis's monologue is on the entertaining, light-hearted side, a look-back at some of his adventures--and misadventures--in showbusiness.

Lewis as writer shows a deft, comic touch throughout; the same can be said of Lewis as performer. With his round, hangdog expression, his assured delivery and timing, he commands the stage with ease, drawing laugh after laugh with his funny tales about vaudeville, the road, live television, fellow-performers, hecklers and Playboy bunnies. And every once in a while, as a change of pace, he puts a harmonica to his lips and plays a dazzling piece of music.

Simply but effectively staged by Robert Walden, lit skilfully by Kent Inasy, SOME GREEKS is an enjoyable one-man show. The Greek restaurant world's loss is our gain.

Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd. Call 310-358-9936 or visit The two remaining productions in the company's 2007 season are The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue by Neil Simon (Sept. 28-Nov. 4); and Baby, a musical by David Shire, Richard Maltby Jr. and Sybille Pearson (Nov. 9-Dec. 23).