Airplane! ’s Robert Hays Gets Serious at the Greek Theatre

Thirty-two years later, the classic 1980 comedy Airplane! still follows actor Robert Hays wherever he goes. And surely, he must be fine with that.

The movie was front and center in a recent Hays profile piece in The Desert Sun and again last night when the actor was introduced at EEK! at the Greek by event maestro Arthur B. Rubinstein. Hays was there, post-Intermission, to read Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” to original, musical accompaniment.

And what a great job the actor did, with a full moon shining above center stage. Beamed out on the Greek Theatre’s stage-flanking giant screens in spooky black and white, Hays put the full force of his dramatic training into Poe’s first-person narrative about a man whose guilt over a murder leads him to upset a carefully conceived plan. Earlier in the evening’s program, actress Anne-Marie Johnson (In The Heat of the Night, That’s So Raven) applied an equally sonorous spin to the Mary Howitt poem “The Spider and the Fly.”

This is the second annual staging of the EEK! event by Rubinstein and his Silver Lake-Los Feliz ensemble Symphony in the Glen. It’s a wonderful school-centric celebration, with a Coburn School choir joining in last night for a couple of numbers, various school groups in the audience and a costume contest held beforehand in the courtyard plaza.

For next year’s double slot of famously scary short stories, Rubinstein is calling for email submissions from the public. Those responsible for next year’s winning entries will be rewarded with a free table of seats at the 2013 EEK! concert.