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Hollywood Fringe: Tony Danza's prison pen-pal was Tupac Shakur

Actor, comedian, and writer Steven Benaquist giving us a little Tony Danza in the Off-Ramp studio
Actor, comedian, and writer Steven Benaquist giving us a little Tony Danza in the Off-Ramp studio
John Rabe

Leather and lace.

Pepper and strawberries.

Two surprising pairings.

But possibly the most surprising pairing you'll ever come across is effervescent actor Tony Danza and gangster rapper Tupac Shakur. And just like - as Stevie Kicks showed us - leather and lace do go together, and a little pepper on your strawberries is delicious, Tony Danza actually made a pen pal of Tupac Shakur ... while Tupac was serving time.

Standup comedian, voiceover actor, and writer Steven Benaquist tells the story - with not a little comic embellishment - in "Tony Danza's Letterz 2 2Pac: an Evening with Tony Danza," as part of Hollywood Fringe. In the show, Benaquist plays both Danza and Danza playing Shakur.

He told Off-Ramp he went to a book signing at Skylight Books to see Danza, who offhandedly mentioned writing to Tupac in jail. "Danza should do that as a one-man show," Benaquist thought. When he didn't, Benaquist did, and gained new respect and insight into both men. He invents a lot in the show, but says some of the most far-out things turn out to be true - like that Tupac was in the Nutcracker when he was young.

It's at the Shepard Studio Theater at Complex Theatres at 6472 Santa Monica Blvd, Saturday, June 11; Sunday, June 12; Friday, June 17; and Saturday, June 18. Showtimes vary. Tickets are just $12.

Listen to the audio for samples from the show, and more stories from the most unlikely friendship since Nixon and Elvis.

By the way, Benequist voices Honeybear in Fishstick and Honeybear on the Dreamworks YouTube channel.

Fishstick and Honeybear



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