Palm: Patricia Ward Kelly Tributes Husband Gene Kelly

Palm: Patricia Ward Kelly Tributes Husband Gene Kelly

PWK_GKtL_Telluride“At 14, I discovered girls. At that time dancing was the only way you could put your arm around the girl. Dancing was courtship,” Gene Kelly

Thank heaven for little girls. Without them, we might have been denied the king of Hollywood musicals and such shoe-shaking marvels as “Singin’ in the Rain,” arguably the greatest dance film ever made.

Born August 23, 1912 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania into a working-class family, Gene Kelly was an American film actor, choreographer and director whose athletic style and classical ballet technique transformed the film musical. Kelly turned his back (gracefully of course) on European aesthetics of ballroom dancing on highly polished floors in tux and gown, choosing instead to blend solo dancing (often tricked out the street clothes of the common man), mass movement, and offbeat camera angles to tell the tale in his dazzlingly kinetic, unique idiom.

But truth be told, Kelly did not want to be a dancer. His boyhood dream was to play shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Learn more on Saturday, December 21, 7 p.m., when Telluride’s Palm Theatre welcomes Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly, to the stage to perform “Gene Kelly – The Legacy,  An Evening with Patricia Ward Kelly.” 

Kelly’s show features rare and familiar footage of the iconic entertainer, never-released audio recordings, memorabilia, and personal insights culled from hours of interviews with her husband, to showcase Kelly the man and his singular, very masculine approach to capturing dance on screen, an innovative style that remains fresh today.

Patricia Ward Kelly, a biographer and film historian, created the legacy tribute to honor her husband’s 100th birthday.

Boy met girl at the Smithsonian in 1985, when Gene Kelly was the host/narrator for a television special for which Patricia Ward was a writer. Soon after, Kelly invited his future wife to California to write his memoirs, a job that required recording his words nearly every day for over 10 years. The couple married in 1990 and was together until Kelly’s death in 1996.

Friday night, December 20, SPARKy Productions is hosting a cocktail party to kick off the weekend. Patricia Ward Kelly is the guest of honor. The price is $70 for cocktail party and show.

The price is $40 for cocktail party only. For cocktail party and show or cocktail party only, email

Tickets for the show only is $38 for adults; $22 for students and children. Go here to purchase or call 970-369-5669.

NOTE: On Wednesday, December 18, 7 p.m. the Palm Theatre features a special screening of  “Singin’ in the Rain.” Free to all. Patricia introducing and answering after.

To learn more about Gene Kelly and their relationship, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Patricia Ward Kelly.

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