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George Christy Talks About Patricia Morison, John Bowab, ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ and more

Patricia Morison, the great star of stage and screen, celebrated her 103rd birthday at John Bowab’s luxurious apartment this week. John has hosted more than 20 birthday parties for her.
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“Patricia, bless her, is amazing … full of that fighting Irish spirit at 103,” says her friend, producer and director John Bowab, who met her in the long ago.

On March 19, host John invited more than 50 adoring chums to toast Patricia Morison’s birthday.

A beloved Broadway and Hollywood film star, Patricia’s exciting breakthrough occurred when she stared in Kiss Me, Kate, appearing opposite Alfred Drake, along with Lisa Kirk (in another breakthrough role) and Herold Lang. 

Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, the rollicking musical comedy was adapted by Bella and Samuel Spewack with music and lyrics by the indefatigable Cole Porter.  

Opening in December 1948 at the New Century Theatre in Manhattan, Kiss Me, Kate set records with 1,077 performances through July 1951.  

Cole Porter’s lively score includes Why Can’t You Behave?, Too Darn Hot, Always True To You In My Fashion, So In Love, Wunderbar, and others.

Embraced by friends at John’s celebration in his luxurious West Hollywood penthouse, Patricia was warmly remembered for her fabulous performances, notably as the  feisty Kate on the Broadway stage.   A grand dame with talent to burn.

John’s hosted more than 20 birthday evenings for this great friend. 

“Very convenient these days, since Patricia lives downstairs.”  

He’s thrilled with the countless loyalists who come to see her year ’round, several from out of town.

“Visiting New Yorkers cheer her up about their times together in the theater.   As we know, New York friends are as good as they come.  Loyal to the core, especially actors.”

Bill Jones of Carousel Caterers arrived from Palm Springs to organize the party that included those popular Beverly Hills realtors, Elgart Aster and Paul Swerdlove.  Two days later they departed for the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans, now running a quarter of a century in tribute of the great American playwrite’s life.  

“We initially attended twelve years ago, and once you’ve been to this captivating city and participate in this special weekend, you crave going back.” 

Lodging, as they did, at the Soniat House on Chartres Street in the French Quarter with its 33 stylish accommodations is, as they say, among the best in town. Soniat House has welcomed such particular guests as Paul Newman and Lilian Hellman.

Quintessentially New Orleanian, the décor remains reminiscent of the South’s monorial grandeur.

Breakfast at the Soniat House remains a treat.  Whether in one’s room or in the enchanting courtyard.  Fresh orange juice, chicory coffee, homemade biscuits (previously served on a napkin covering a hot brick to retain heat), along with a side of delicious strawberry jam that will make you smile. 

The strawberries are grown in nearby Ponchatoula, the strawberry capitol of Louisiana.  

Soniat House is owned by those worldly tastemakers, Frances and Rodney Smith, who treasure their antiques that comprise much of the decor.  

If only … if only in an ideal world we could visit more often, and bask in the generous friendship of Frances and Rodney … we’d feel blessed.

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