Gene Kelly became one of America’s most famous and widely renowned performers, and he got his humble beginnings in East Liberty! The local legend would have been turning 96 on Saturday, August 23rd. To learn more about Genen Kelly and his influence in the Neighborhood, check out the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Read more in the Tribune Review.
1. Fred G. Baur says
My sister and I took tap lessons from Gene for three years at his studios in Squirrel Hill. At the end of each year, we all put on a “Kermes” at the Nixon. The finale of each show was for Gene to do a solo in a tux. I remember so well how he was overly occupied directing previous acts from the wings and his mother had to prod him to get dressed in time for his own number, following him around back stage and fighting to get him made-up and attired.
In all honesty, we preferred the days in which our lessons were given by brother Fred, rather than Gene, Gene being too much of a task master – which of course is why he became such a wonderful national figure.
Just before Gene left for Manahttan, leading to his role in Pal Joey, he decided to take his classes “on tour.” One stop was at the Enright in EL and my sister, Carolyn, and I were billed as “Kelly’s Brother and Sister Team.” The same Enright where Dick Powell had gotten his some start years before.
Great memories and it’s great to see Gene continuing to be remembered as the fabulous dancer, choreographer and director he was in Pittsburgh and internationally.
Fred G. Baur, born & raised in Highland Park; Fuylton & Peabody grad.
September 17th, 2008