Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Pal Izzy

I met Melanie Galle, the actress from My Pal Izzy, on the green lawn of fabulousness. She was handing out flyers to her show and when I told her I needed models for the Mennello Museum mural she was glad to help. She handed out more flyers and then met me to head across the street to the museum. As I sketched her outside she was enchanted with all the lizards that scurried among the leaves. She had a constant childish delight that made for a fun sketching experience.

Melanie channeled that delight in her performance as Rebecca Rosenstein, a childhood friend of Irving Berlin. She related details from Irving Berlin's early career as she also related details of her career as a show girl. She dressed conservatively in the beginning of the show, keeping herself wrapped in an elegant purple kimono. When she sang "If you don't want my Peaches" she let the kimono slip open showing her vibrant yellow dress. She shook her shoulders and sang, "you better stop shakin' my tree!" Most of the Irving Berlin songs had this fun playful spirit.

Dorothy Goetz was a young singer who approached Irving Berlin with the hopes of singing his next hit. Another singer was there and the two women brawled over the sheet music. Izzy quickly fell in love. His romance with Dorothy Goetz however ended tragically when Dorothy died when she was just 20 years old. In his grief he was unable to write. Friends finally pulled him aside to convince him that he had to go on. The song he wrote next, called "When I lost you" was heart wrenching.

My Pal Izzy was a a nostalgic look back at the heart felt joys and sorrow of a great songwriter. Melanie's well trained voice delivered the songs with warmth and humor. The performance combined fact and fiction to unravel the secrets of an amazing talent. The music is still fresh and vibrant today.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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