May 22, 2018
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Man of many ‘Hats’ taking stage in benefit show

By Dale McGarrigle, BDN Staff

Steve Robbins hopes his latest theatrical venture will benefit many.

The inveterate ham is offering his new one-man show, “Talking Through His Hats,” to area nonprofit groups, to help them raise money during this slumping economy.

The revue also helps Robbins with the voices in his head.

“I have about 30 of them, but fortunately they all like me there,” he said in a recent interview.

The Bangor resident draws the characters from his show literally from around the world.

“We’ve been everywhere, except the two poles and Russia, and have found that there’s funny people all over the world,” he explained.

The 59-year theater veteran, who turns 63 today, has his comedy in the bag, in this case, a bag full of hats that he brings onstage with him.

“I have people come up onstage and pick out hats,” he said. “Then I’ll become the characters associated with those hats, and tell those characters’ stories. So no two shows will be the same.”

Robbins said the style of the hour-long “Talking Through His Hats” would be a combination of Myron Cohen, Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams. He said the material would be “not blue, but a little ribald. I wouldn’t bring grade-schoolers or your cousin, the nun.”

The show came out of a recent visit Robbins paid to his old theater buddy, Allen Fish, now living in Naples, Fla.

While there, he met Herbie, an old Jewish theater agent from New York, who would put together variety shows with some of the talent that had retired to that area. Robbins developed his act on the spot.

“I’ve always had these stories, and I have this facility for character accents,” he recalled. “So I went to the Salvation Army and got a bunch of hats.”

Robbins, who ran an advertising and marketing company for 36 years until embarking on semiretirement last year, also provides a marketing guide to help the sponsoring agency sell tickets.

Robbins’ first show in this area is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at The Grand in Ellsworth, where he has acted in such productions as “Anything Goes,” “Hello, Dolly,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Camelot” and “My Fair Lady.”

“I’ve done shows at The Grand for 30 years, and it’s just the perfect little theater,” he said. “This is my personal payback to a place that’s been very good to me.”

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