|Who Are 'Edna and the Jailhouse Ho's?'|
This should be the last post about this subject for quite a while.
I have been very lucky to have taken part in some exceptional theatrical projects over the last (indecipherable noise) years. Sometimes, everything falls into place very neatly and easily and a show comes together and it's a success. Occasionally, it fails despite appearing to be poised for success. Sometimes, it's obviously a disaster from the first read-through and it crashes and burns like the Hindenburg. You don't invite people to see it. You don't talk about it. You don't post pictures on Facebook.
Rarer still, are the times when what appears to be an unmitigated failure suddenly and magically comes together in an insanely short amount of time, ending up in something that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Such was the case with Hairspray. Early on, there were scheduling issues. Some bars were set to high and others too low. Roles were left un-cast. There were changes being made to things already covered, while tons of material remained uncovered. I had serious reservations. Things did not improve and I grew frustrated and I wasn't always quiet about being so and soon found many other cast-members felt the same way. And it wasn't as if there was one person in particular to blame. It just wasn't working on a whole lot of levels.
Then, something happened in the last week of rehearsal:
I have no idea how what happened with Hairspray happened. The odds seemed so stacked against it. But last Friday night, a very loud and enthusiastic full house gave us an exhilarating curtain call. And it just got better and better. The following night, we had a full-house standing ovation. And again on Sunday! It was crack for the newbies. Hell, it was crack for Uncle P. Yesterday afternoon was good, and we got a full standing O from a just slightly less-than full house. Then came last night's "off" performance. Everyone had at least two things go flunky. I had three, including a wardrobe issue (my slipper fell off); a prop issue (I had a problem hopping up onto the hot dog cart) and a lyric issue in the finale. Most of the audience still stood, though. At least I didn't get stuck in the can:
|Maybe I Should Do "Dirty Blonde" Next|
Today's closing matinee (and I HATE closing on a matinee) saw yet another SRO crowd. Emotions were running high. Many of the younger cast members were down after last night or tired or both. The hot tea with lemon and honey was flowing. There was a palpable frisson in the air. Clicks and flashes abounded backstage as people used their phones and cameras to document the day. Hugs and kisses and love abounding, we went to 'places' not knowing quite what to expect. What we got was pure theatre nirvana, fueled by another adoring crowd who (well, those who could - it was a Sunday matinee, afterall) rose to their feet and danced right along with us during curtain call.
Like many actors, my theatrical career had it's start(at an early age) in Musical Theatre. One of my early ventures on stage was playing Prince Charming in a French-language version of Cindrion, complete with the Disney songs sung in French by an off-stage chorus in the 7th Grade. Effin' crack, bitches! You never lose the taste for that particular high. I know several of you reading this know exactly what I'm talking about. We're addicts, plain and simple.I wish I had pictures from those early years. I'm very glad I have them from more recent shows.
I couldn't be happier to end this show on the high I had hoped it was going to be, long before the auditions had been announced. Below are some pictures of today's love-fest from backstage. They belong to the very talented Megan Sherrow who played Penny Pingleton. You'll quickly figure out who she is.
|The World's Saddest Prostitute|
|The Turnblads +1|
|Seaweed and Amber, Sittin in a Tree...|
|Wigless and Wigged Out|
|The 'Corniest' Smile, Ever|
|'Everything Floats Down Here"|
|"Are You Sure You Aren't Faster than a Speeding Bullet?"|
|"Mama, I'm a Pretty Girl!"|
I am thrilled that this amazing and talented cast pulled together and delivered an exceptionally well-received show that entertained its audiences and satiated its cast's needs for validation.
I'm tired beyond tired, but all the pain and aggravation have proven worth it. It's really nice to be wrong, sometimes.
A few weeks rest and then on to Jeffrey, whose cast will (I am happy to report), include two very talented young men from this cast; one of whom is pictured above. I'll let you guess.