From Hart to heart … to Hart

There’ll be no onstage reunion with Robert Wagner when Stefanie Powers opens “Hart of My Heart” for two nights at The Rrazz Room this  weekend.

The Hart of the title is not a television character, but lyricist Lorenz Hart, first long-term writing partner of composer Richard Rodgers.

That Powers sings still surprises those who know her only as a glamorous society sleuth or from her campier early days as “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.”

Trained in music, Powers has graced stages around the world in musicals such as “Applause” and “The King and I.”

Most recently, she scored positive notices for her turn as Norma Desmond in a limited engagement of a more intimately scaled production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” at the Ogonquit Playhouse in Maine.

“Everyone commented — especially those that had seen many productions of the show — that it was the first time they were able to really watch the story and appreciate the score without it being overpowered by the physical production, without it feeling so over-sized,” Powers said.

The other major difference for Powers was in the interpretation of lead role. “I always thought Norma was not crazy in the beginning,” she said. “She’s arrogant, she’s eccentric, she’s a grande dame and she’s been living in a cocoon, but she’s not nuts until the end when she’s pushed over the edge. The director and the producers of this version agreed, so that was a very happy marriage.”

It’s not the first time Powers has encountered Desmond. She appeared as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in a staged reading of the Billy Wilder screenplay that featured Anjelica Huston and Sir Ben Kingsley. She was, of course, also the longtime companion of the original film’s Joe Gillis, actor William Holden.

Upon his death in 1981, she helped found and continues to lead the wildlife foundation that bears his name. “I don’t really measure the time I spend on the foundation,” Powers said. “It’s just a part of every day. It’s like brushing my teeth.”

This year, Powers is adding author to her lengthy list of credits. “One From the Hart” is her memoir, chronicling the experiences of Stefania Zofja Federkiewicz, from Hollywood child of Polish-American parents to internationally known star.

“I was born on the edge of the baby boom and grew up during an exceptional time,” she says of deciding to write the book. “It was a period of great societal change and everything was shiny-new and fun. I wanted to capture some of that.”

IF YOU GO
Stefanie Powers

Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday 
Tickets: $45
Contact: (866) 468-3399, www.therrazzroom.com

artsentertainmentNEPOther ArtsStefanie Powers

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