“In a Booth at Chasen’s – The Real Life Romance of Ronald and Nancy Reagan”

John C. Kerklotz, American Happenings, Ron Dante, Ceil & Al Kasha and Cornwell Worthington, II Present: 

“In a Booth at Chasen’s – The Real Life Romance of Ronald and Nancy Reagan”

I walked into El Portal Theatre and was immediately amazed to see an original booth from the now long gone Hollywood Landmark, Chasen’s restaurant.  

That was the beginning of my magical journey back in time to 1949’s classic Hollywood, California.  

reagans booth

Nancy Davis had a blind date with Ronald Reagan at Chasen’s restaurant and from that moment this sweet and now legendary story unfolded.  Sam Bennett has written a realistic and very entertaining story that gives us a beautiful glimpse into the Reagan’s two-year courtship.  They had challenges similar to most relationships but they also had to deal with the gossipy tabloid press and rampant rumors of communism in the industry.  Theirs is a true love story over which people have marveled for more than six decades.  This play does an excellent job of wondering how a blind date changed history.   

Nancy Davis was played wonderfully by Kelley Corner who played Nancy as a strong woman within the 50s restraints. Her comedic timing was great with a beautiful operetta voice.

Brent Schindele played Ronald Reagan.  He was bigger than life, a true triple threat. He can sing, dance and act – a top theatre performer!

These two performers really held their own, it’s a two-person piece and a big musical so only experienced and talented performers could do it justice…and they truly did.


“In a Booth at Chasen’s” is seamlessly directed by Kay Cole who clearly knows how to direct and choreograph a musical.  There is some great film footage of the 1940s, 50s and 60s as a backdrop which really added so much to the performance and was a superb addition.  Music and lyrics by two-time Academy Award winner and Tony nominee, Al Kasha and Phil Swann, a former songwriter and producer for DreamWorks, took the play one step closer to a Broadway debut. The music and the lyrics gave us a true flavor of the times and carried the storyline very well.

I had a great time, my toes were tapping and the songs still zing in my head! The musicians were wonderful and took me right back to my childhood.  I love a good musical and “A Booth at Chasen’s” has all the best elements of a Broadway show.

Running from November 11 through November 25

Book by Sam Bennett

Music and Lyrics by Al Kasha and Phill Swann

Directed by Kay Cole

The El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA. 91601


Nancy – Kelley Dorney

Ron – Brent Schindele


Jonathan Tessero, Jake Anthony, Kim Richmond, Karen Zelazo, Joe Martone, Shane Harry, Stephen Charpie.

Tickets are available at www.InABoothAtChasens.com and by calling 818-508-4200.  

Now playing thru November 25.  Performances:  Thurs Nov 15 at 3p and 8p; Nov 16 at 8p; Sat, Nov 17 at 3p and 8p; Sun, Nov 18 at 3p and 7p; Wed, Nov 21 at 3p and 8p; Fri, Nov 23 at 8p; Sat, Nov 24 at 3p and 8p; Sun, Nov 25 at 3p and 7p

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.


  1. Nancy is played by Kelley Dorney not Kelley Corner.

    Thanks for the positive review, Just needed a proof read to catch the name being incorrect in description. Cast listing is correct.