On July 27, 2008, our very own web hostess, Toni Collins, attended the Westwood Presbyterian Church’s 23rd Annual Summer Mission Benefit Musicale. This important Los Angeles fundraiser has benefitted foster children, the homeless, and the Westside Food Bank for over two decades.
A talented cast entertained the benefactors in attendance for some two hours. Especially delightful was Karen Morrow, one of several guest stars who volunteered their time – and talent – for this worthy cause. Ms. Morrow dazzled the audience with her powerful voice and wonderful stage presence, playing the “older sister” who at long last finds love.
Karen Morrow’s presence at the benefit was a complete surprise to Toni, but our web hostess knew Karen’s name well. In 1967, Karen played the role of “Sydney” in the first revivals of "It’s a Bird It’s a Plane It’s Superman", staged in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.
While “Sydney” is an unknown to most Superman fans, the role is pivotal to the plot of "It’s a Bird It’s a Plane It’s Superman". Sydney not only sings the biggest hit from the show ("You’ve Got Possibilities"), but she falls in love with Clark Kent and unwittingly brings Clark into the clutches of her evil boss. And while Superman does confess his love for Lois Lane during the course of the musical, it’s Sydney who manages the most romance (“She doesn’t know who’s kissing her / It’s Superman”).
Karen Morrow and Bob Holiday remember each other well, and both were delighted to make indirect contact with each other. Ms. Morrow mentioned that she and the late Charles Nelson Reilly, who played mad scientist Dr. Abner Sedgwick, frequently reminisced about the two weeks they spent with Superman.
Reviews from 1967 were uncompromising in their praise of Karen Morrow. They declared her a master at deadpan delivery, a rousing singer, a dithering delight, and a fine comedienne.
Toni Collins can attest that, forty years later, Karen Morrow’s talents still shine just as brightly.