Classics Revisited: Dick Van Dyke’s Geffen Benefit

dick van dyke

Dick Van Dyke just keeps going. The legendary singer/comedian/dramatist who’s singularly lovable performances in Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and of course the Dick Van Dyke Show have been burned into a generation’s psyches, is still up-and-at-em at 84.

And just to prove it, he’s bringing his accapella vocal group The Vantastix to the Geffen Playhouse this weekend for a one-night-only benefit. Didn’t know Van Dyke had musical group? You’re not alone. But this kind of rare performance—a chance to see a legend up close in an intimate environment—really embodies one of the most special things about living in Los Angeles.

Of course they’ll be singing some of the songs you might expect—“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Put On A Happy Face,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and even a rare lyrical version of “Theme From Dick Van Dyke Show.” But their repertoire also includes “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” and even Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive.”

The group came of out a chance meeting between Van Dyke and group member Mike Mendyke, an admirer who knew Dick liked vocalizing. One thing led to another, and the quartet, which originally got together for fun, started performing. Says Dick, “These three guys walked into my life from out of nowhere and turned my Golden Years into pure platinum… If you can’t bend with the wind, go with the flow, you’re gonna miss some great adventures, my friends.”

True enough.

The performance, this Saturday August 14 at 8 PM, is a benefit for the Geffen Playhouse and Determined To Succeed, actor Hank Azaria’s educational outreach, and will include a champagne and dessert reception afterward.

Geffen Playhouse is located at 10886 Le Conte Avenue, Westwood Village, 310.208.5454