SoM closes

January 5, 2010

I’d hoped to have time to blog while the show was running, but I spent my time actually doing the show instead! It’s now over—Sunday afternoon was our closing show—and I find myself sad because of it. While I appreciate the swathes of free time that have opened up in my schedule, I miss the camaraderie of working towards a shared goal.

The run of the show was great fun. We had terrific audiences—very warm and appreciative. Backstage was fun, too, though we always had to be mindful to keep the noise down! Mary, Philippa, Phil, and I made up the “adults’ table” out in the stairwell off stage right during the party scene, swapping stories and trying not to laugh while we waited for our next cue.

I ended up grateful for my nun’s habit because it kept me warm! The weather was frigid and, with two outside entrances/exits, I appreciated the scads of wool! People loved my party dress; the little girls in the cast would tell me so with their eyes shining.

One day/night stands out in particular for me: my birthday. I was standing in the wings before the evening show, talking to my sister who was 200 miles away. It was a bit of a lonely birthday (I turned 42) but I was very glad to have the show to fill the time. I don’t know why that image sticks with me so clearly, but I can practically feel the cell phone in my hand now.

Presents were abundant throughout the run. We had yellow roses and pink carnations on opening night. Lynne Schwartzberg (or “Cookie Lynne,” as Esther called her) kept us stocked up on incredible sugar creations throughout. Philippa gave everyone tiny plastic “flying nuns.” Caroline Dowd-Higgins handmade photo greeting cards for us and gave us them along with cookies from Vienna (she played the baroness from Vienna). Mary gave all the nuns candles as a memento of our pyrotechnics. Nick, who played Friedrich, gave everyone a can of Vienna sausage and a bit of Swiss chocolate along with a clever Von Trapp limerick he invented. Philippa very kindly gave me a cool little handmade dish for a birthday present. Perhaps the cleverest gift was from the ever-gracious Melissa Bohun, who made candies that looked like stained glass window panes. She delivered them in “brown paper packages tied up with string.” What a generous company!

We struck the set Sunday night, carrying big pieces of wood through the freezing wind from one building to the next, taking down lights, and stuffing a piece of pizza in where we could! I feel sorry for the Cardinal staff that has to go through all the costumes and debris to organize everything!

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to perform in this show. I hope to be able to do another Cardinal show in future. The show was good, the experience rewarding, and the people outstanding. I am thankful.

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SoM opening night!

December 23, 2009

Woot! Just home from an exhilarating opening night of Sound of Music. While the show was fun, the best part was the audience! We could feel the warmth and appreciation even through the downstage monitor speakers. Everyone was upbeat and happy, givin’ it all back to this loving crowd. Backstage, we kept crying out, “We love this audience!”

Mother Abbess gave all her nuns yellow roses for the opening, and Esther, our indomitable choreographer, left us pink carnations with a wonderful note. Phillippa, our sister nun, gave each of us three teeny plastic flying nuns that look like they have superpowers. Well, let’s face it, if you were both a nun and a being capable of flying, you’d have to be a superhero!

I remain terrified of the runway (the 3′ wide arc that reaches out beyond the stage) but have determined to conquer my terror sometime before the show is over.

This show has given me so many reasons to think of my Aunt Dolores, who died several years ago. She was Sister Dolores Marie McLaughlin and she was an inspiration and a friend.

She would have loved to have known that I was playing a nun again (I played Maria in high school). If only there were some way to make these things happen faster in life, so that so many who have passed beyond the Veil could still take part—in a corporeal way!

I think of my grandparents and certain aunts and uncles, imagining what it would be like to have them in the audience. It would be such a joy.

With family so far away (or so dead!), I rely primarily on friends to fill that emotional need for someone in the audience to connect with. When they are able to come, there’s no easy way to link up with them afterwards—the Bus-Chum has no green room.

I think it’s so important to have a way to link back up with the audience after a show. They are often hungry to close the loop and give back some love with compliments and kudos. And then you shine it right back with thanks, and it all becomes a big love fest!

The theme of this post seems to be all about love and longing, doesn’t it? I believe Four Things In The World, and one of them is that “love is the best thing.” Take it as you will, but I believe, love is the best thing. May you find it and keep it with you and yours.


Oliver!

November 23, 2008

Widow Corney. Also choral co-director. I had mono, so much of the production is/was a blur. My favorite performance story of all time: I blanked the lyrics during performance and sang “vas-uh-veh shuh foo luh hang oo ra la” instead. Only the choral director knew the difference. Highland Theatre Company.


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

November 23, 2008

Chorus member (on purpose) They really, really wanted me for lead but I was too chicken to tell them that I wanted the carefree life of a chorus girl one last time. I told them I couldn’t dance. While dancing was not my strong suit, I could certainly carry the role. But  just kept lying until they gave up. My voice coach gave me a wicked tongue-lashing, including the sage advice, “If anyone asks you if you can do something, you say ‘yes’!!” Boy, was she mad. No idea why I didn’t just tell them the truth.

No idea whose production this was, but it may’ve been done in Merrillville, IN. It definitely didn’t include Gregg Ladd.


My Fair Lady

November 23, 2008

Eliza Doolittle. Highland Theatre Company with assists from the Gregg Ladd company.

What a terrific show. “When musicals were musicals.” Though one of our directors briefly considered changing the ending so that when Higgins says, “Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?”, she would smile and get them for him. The cries of “Outrage!” and “Blasphemy!” made the director come to his senses.

In addition to playing the lead, I helped with marketing and did much of the costuming for the Ascot scene. I still remember the fumes as the divine Devonne and I blockaded ourselves in my garage and then spray-painted the hats black, white, and silver. We eventually coughed and hacked our way to the side door to avoid asphyxiation.

Chuckles made my stunning red and black dress for the ascot, cunningly fitting a Cool Whip container in the top of the hat to give it shape and sturdiness.

This was also where I met my first soulmate, a dashing and romantic soul who made me a better person. He would appear from nowhere, grab me by the waist, and whirl me into a flying waltz. <sigh> What more could a 17-year-old want? (Or any-year-old, come to think of it….)


Pippin

November 23, 2008

The Leading Player. Highland Theatre Company. I would (almost) kill to play this part again. I loved it at the time but wasn’t old enough to understand its depth.

This show introduced me to the vagaries of critics. One who reviewed the show named every male leading character but didn’t mention me at all. He mentioned Dave Vail, a chorus member, and didn’t mention me, the (say it with me) “Leading Player.”  Turned out (I discovered later) that the reviewer was a closeted gay, which explained a lot.


Working

November 23, 2008

The Waitress. Main Square Players. If I Could’ve Been was my big show-stopper. When I’m depressed I think it’s the soundtrack to my life. Woe. Be. I.