Showbiz history in spotlight with Kiki Ebsen’s My Buddy: The Other Side of Oz at El Portal Theatre

 Kiki Ebsen has a serene vibe as a performer and a person. Yet she has an exciting story to tell, and she tells it well. An accomplished singer/songwriter, musician, and concert artist, Kiki has created an impressive cabaret show that celebrates her personal journey and the life of her legendary dad Buddy Ebsen. Kiki Ebsen’s My Buddy: The Other Side of Oz will play the Monroe Forum at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, Fridays at 8 pm, June 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2023.

Kiki Ebsen (photo by Cliff Lipson)

 “Buddy Ebsen’s life will unfold on stage. The audience will be inspired by his tenacity to make his mark in every area of show-business– that includes vaudeville, Broadway, movies, concerts, and TV. Dad also wrote several books, including his autobiography ‘The Other Side of Oz,’” Kiki proudly states. “My show will touch on all that, along with his struggles. I’ll feature the memorable songs from his life, a beautiful song he wrote ‘Missing You,’ and some of my own. All will celebrate dad in a very real way. Sometimes it will be lighthearted, sometimes dramatic.”

 Songs will include “If I Only Had A Brain,” from The Wizard of Oz, and folks will hear the almost tragic story behind Buddy being cast as the original Tin Man. Another highlight will be “Moon River,” a nod to the heartbreaking role he had opposite Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And of course there’s the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, the classic TV comedy that’s as timeless as its star Buddy Ebsen.

 Other songs will set the mood for a variety of his notable credits, such as Barnaby Jones, Davy Crockett, and Captain January with Shirley Temple. There will be great visuals along with personal father/daughter stories that cover Kiki’s family life. “He was very human, he suffered at times, and was turned down a lot at one point. Yet he looked forward and allowed his spirituality to come through his art. That’s what I absorbed from him.”

 “Early on, dad advised me to pursue a jazz career as a singer and musician. He told me ‘You have a gift for it. That is where you’ll find success.’ I eventually embraced the jazz world, but first I was sidetracked working with rock stars and bands,” Kiki said.

 Classically trained in every genre, Kiki has gone on the road as a singer and gifted keyboard player, supporting platinum artists, including Al Jarreau, Boz Scaggs, Christopher Cross, and touring with Tracy Chapman, where she met her husband, producer and sound engineer Steve Wallace. She has solo CDs to her credit, including the acclaimed “Cool Songs” Vol. 1 & 2, and “Scarecrow Sessions,” which she recorded to honor her dad.

 Kiki’s performance with her band will have great music and showcase her wonderful talent as a storyteller, with tales of old Hollywood and more. She says, “The show will be relatable to everyone no matter your background.”

 There will be surprises Kiki promises. “Things you didn’t know about Buddy Ebsen will be revealed. Dad’s accomplishments in such diverse areas are incredible. He was an artist, played the saxophone, an avid sailor who designed, built and raced catamarans. Dad once beat his friend James Arness in a race sailing around Hawaii. And he was still performing at age 95.”

 Kiki Ebsen’s My Buddy: The Other Side of Oz will play Fridays at 8 p.m., June 2, 9, 16, and 23, in the Monroe Forum at the historic El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in the NOHO Arts District, North Hollywood, CA.

 For tickets and information call 818-508-4200 or order online at

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.