The old saying goes something like this: Do enough charity benefits and soon you’ll have enough material for your very own show.
OK, so it’s not an old saying, but it’s true. When they were living in Marin County, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker (known affectionately around here as the Tuckerberries) participated in many a Richmond/Ermet Help Is on the Way AIDS benefit.
In the 11 years they were Bay Area residents, Tucker and Eikenberry emceed the event, then began performing.
“We had a good time with it,” says Tucker, 63. “Then the musical director from those shows was down in Florida doing the condo circuit with Lucie Arnaz, and he mentioned to producers that the Tuckers have an act. The producers said, `We’ll book them,’ and the musical director called us and said, `Get an act!”’
The Tuckers did indeed get their act together. Between some of the musical material from the benefits and some of the material they developed lecturing about Eikenberry’s successful battle against breast cancer, there was, it turned out, more than an act.
With the help of a director — Richard Jay Alexander — the Tuckers have crafted what Eikenberry describes as a “book show with a story, 11 songs and more.”
The more includes film clips from the duo’s career, most notably their eight years on “LA Law,” and a cooking segment in which Tucker makes a sandwich onstage and shares it with the audience.
“Mike can’t go two hours without eating,” Eikenberry says about her husband of nearly 40 years.
The show is Life Is a Duet, and it has its Bay Area premiere Sunday, Nov.11 in the gorgeous jewel-box theater at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor museum.
After being Bay Area fixtures for more than a decade, the Tuckers have entered the next phase in their lives. They said goodbye to Mill Valley and moved back to New York, where they essentially began their careers in the early ’70s. They also bought a home in Italy’s Umbrian countryside.
Tucker has written a book about their idyllic Italian existence: Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine and Love in Italy (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24).
For their show, the spouses sing and tell stories. There are several numbers from I Do! I Do!, a musical about marriage, along with some Joni Mitchell tunes and “It’s an Art,” the waitress’ song from Working.
“There’s a lot of fun stuff,” Eikenberry says. “And some things that, we hope, will move people.”
“Yeah,” Tucker chimes in, “there won’t be a dry seat in the house.”
Eikenberry and Tucker’s “Life Is a Duet” plays at 7 p.m. Sunda,Nov.11 at the Florence Gould Theatre, Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, San Francisco. Tickets are $45. Call 415-927-4636 or visit www.bayareacabaret.org.