For over a
decade, Gene Ganssle has worked in the
Valley as an actor, perfecting dozens of
voices and routines.
It is only now
that Ganssle has gotten a chance to really
let loose his talents in his first one-man
show, “And Away We Go.” The show, in which
Ganssle portrays the legendary comic Jackie
Gleason, is also his first time producing a
“I have a lot
of respect for these small theatre companies
that get started on a shoestring,” said
courageous and the ones that survive more
than two years, heroic."
just his voice, Ganssle has worked hard to
perfect other characteristics of Gleason
that will make people remember the icon,
such as donning a fat suit to resemble
Jackie’s body shape.
suit] about eight pounds dry,” Ganssle said.
“After an hour
it’s probably two to three pounds heavier.”
wrote the play, which runs from Sept. 23 to
Oct. 2, at Viad Tower’s Playhouse, 1850 N
Central Ave., Phoenix. Cannon and Ganssle
joined forces from their mutual admiration
still working on growing up, so we’re
willing to try anything. He’s an improv man
as well as a writer,” said Ganssle.
The show has
more meaning behind it than just honoring
the late Gleason. Half of the proceeds each
night will be donated to various
charititable organizations. Ganssle, who
volunteers for the same charities, has
handpicked each one. Without being able to
contribute to these charities, Ganssle
questions the show ever coming to fruition.
“I didn’t see
a real reason to do the show otherwise,”
said Ganssle. “Using my talents to give to
causes I care about is a dream come true.”
help the giving efforts of the play, Ganssle
has enlisted friends and family to work on
the production. With his wife running lights
and even his father in the mix, the show’s
costs are cut to help give more to the
members born too late to experience Gleason,
Ganssle says there’s still fun for all.
going to be a family show,” he says.
“There are a
lot of surprises people will discover about
Jackie. We will also use audience
participation for prizes and more.”
Tickets cost $20 and show
times can be found at the show’s website,