Saturday, April 23, 2005

And just like that, here we are.

Despite a cold that hangs on with the tenacity of a psycho ex, I'm enjoying my stint as Crew Chief for G+D. Mainly I've just had to sit at the podium in the wings and listen on the headset for the scene changes. Of course, I already know all those cues, having been set monkey for several weeks. And then, with the constant game of crew roulette, we're frequently left one or two people short, which means that once again, I've been having to jump in and do the scene changes myself.

You know the old theater rule that a shitty dress rehearsal means a great opening night? If there's any sort of corollary for closing night, then tonight will be spectacular, because the penultimate show last night was a ragged success, an amazing disgrace that managed to fly despite the best efforts of everyone involved.

First, we started twenty minutes late. We're all used to holding the curtain if there's still a line outside, but at eight o'clock there were about sixty people outside, one person manning the box office, and more people still showing up. Hey, people, don't show up at eight o'clock for an eight o'clock show! Even if it is at the Metro! Oh, and if you DO feel the need to show up late, at least have the decency to laugh and applaud at the proper junctures, ya stingy bastards.

Anyway, once we finally got this party started, it seemed that at every turn something was trying to scuttle the ship; there was a surprise improv by Nathan Detroit (trying desperately to wring a laugh out of a line that no one EVER realizes is a joke), some verses switched in "Adelaide's Lament" (but, trooper that she is, she covered with nary a hitch). While moving a truck, I clocked one of the Hot Box Girls who was standing too close behind a curtain, then, in a fine example of instant karma, I got clocked by the exact same truck when I wasn't looking where I was going.

Plus, illness is eating through the cast like Washington's men at Valley Forge. I've been dealing with this cold for over a week now, so I've learned to guzzle OJ, suck on cough drops, and time my coughing fits so they're covered by applause. But the dressing rooms are sounding more and more like an asthmatics ward. Plus, they tell me that that smell backstage was Sky Masterson farting, but personally I think he may have died. Living people don't make that kind of stink.

Let me tell you a little story that's made this whole experience worth it:

There's a song called "More I Cannot Wish You," sung by Brother Abernathy to Sarah Brown after she thinks she's been suckered by Sky. Brother Abernathy is a fun supporting role; he's Sarah's surrogate father figure at the mission where she works, and is the only male character in the show who's not playing an angle--he's just a nice old fella, singing to Sarah how he wishes nothing more for her than to find someone who will treat her right. It's a nice, quiet moment amid all the big musical moments. And you couldn't ask for a better young ingenue than Laura, who plays Sarah; just turned 20, she has an amazing soprano voice, and that you-ripped-my-heart-out stare that girls that age pull off so convincingly.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Rodney, who plays Abernathy. Five years ago he played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Laura, then only 14, was the understudy for Hodel. They clicked, and in the last few years they've kept in touch, and done several more shows together. He's watched her grow up in theater, and he told me he feels like an uncle to her. When he sings "More I Cannot Wish You," it's not Arvide Abernathy singing to Sarah Brown, it's Rodney singing to Laura.

You can't manufacture moments like that. You can only hope to be lucky enough to be there when they happen.

I'm gonna miss this cast.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

it's called umcka and it is at most stores.

That and thera flu got me thru the day like noone's bidniz!!!

Just a thought.

This is right along with those, 'drink a lot of fluids and get your rest' lines that you hear everytime you cough around family or friends or anyone that think you have forgotten and not already tried that.
I've heard that stuff is good, Scott.

Rich... The phrase "Hot Box Girls" interests me...

Heh, you'd be even more interested if you met 'em. The only drawback is that Shelly's sister is one of them, and that's just weird. "Have you met my sister-in-law? She's a Hot Box Girl..."
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