Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thoroughly Modern Millie

The curtains have closed, the sets have been disassembled and the costumes are all sent back to the warehouse, but the "show glow" continues! It was soooo good.

B14 and I had such a great time rehearsing and performing in this show. When we signed up to audition, we both said that we just hoped that at the end, we wouldn't regret all the hours out of our summer. On the contrary, it seemed like no time at all! We had so much fun with the cast, with the directors, with the crazy-hard dancing challenges, and enjoying the humor and the talent of our leads. Then the delight of our audiences just capped it all off. Even the tougher critics raved about the high quality of the production--way beyond what they expected from community theater. Glory be to God!

I could write three or four posts describing all the great moments in this show. So much talent was evident in singing, dancing, acting, improv and comedy! But I will limit myself to describing the scenes that B14 and I were in. That's what Papa Rooster got pictures of at the dress rehearsal anyway. My only disappointment with his photos is that neither B14 nor I had all our accessories yet--he was so in love with his fedora!--and I had the cutest little side-hat for my brown dress, plus big gold earrings, a matching gold ring and necklace, and a gold headband with a tall black feather in it for my role as Zelda Fitzgerald, the flamboyant wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Let's just start with that scene, shall we? It's the one in which both B14 and I had lines. The scene took place at a party, where real characters from the 1920's dialogue with Muzzy, a (fictional) nightclub singer who has just returned from a world tour.

Here she is, talking to George Gershwin and his brother Ira. George has just admitted to her that his latest symphony is not coming along; he's frozen, stuck, blocked. Don't worry, she advises, inspiration comes when you least expect it.

She turns to her next guest, who is wearing a brilliant blue cape and declares, "Why, Dorothy Parker, you're just a rhapsody in blue!" George Gershwin then, is struck with inspiration...

...and rushes offstage to begin composing his most famous work! B14 got a big laugh from the crowd every night, for that moment.

After the show closed, a friend of B14's created this for him. That's the real George Gershwin on the left. Uncanny how much B14 resembles him in some ways, isn't it?
 Next, Muzzy speaks with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Congratulating her on her successful world tour, F. Scott declares, "Muzzy at the Palace!" "Buckingham," she affirms. "Muzzy at the Great Wall!" he proclaims. "And they're not kidding!" she replies. Then Zelda tries. "Muzzy at the Vatican!" There was a beat, then Muzzy says, "Tough house, Zelda." (And the timing worked out that for the last four shows, there was a silent beat in the music which coincided perfectly with the end of my line--so it really fell flat!)

After speaking with Muzzy, we went and joined in the party, waltzing along with some of the other guests.

Imagine a gold headband across my forehead with three tall black feathers there at my temple. Please. But isn't that dress gorgeous? I loved wearing it.
 The waltz changed to a tango, and at that point, because Zelda and F. Scott were known for their marital discord and she was emotionally unstable, the director had me give F. Scott a big shove and then storm across the stage in a huff, stiff-arming other dancers as needed, like B14 and his partner below. Here I am throwing up my arms in disgust as I cross the stage. It was one of those things you could easily miss, with lines and dancing going on at the same time, but it was fun to do as part of my character!

Another shot of my handsome son. It's not everyday he wears a tux and dances.

B14, where's your bow tie?? During performances, he wore one like Ira's and F. Scott's.
Another fun scene for us both was in the speakeasy, an establishment that illegally sold alcohol during Prohibition. While the bartender was handing out little champagne glasses to the other patrons, I swiped a bottle off the bar and came downstage to take some swigs and play with the bottle, acting drunk, until the moment when I handed it off to one of the dancers, when the bottle became a prop in the dance.

B14 learned a really hard choreographed dance for this scene, but he also got to partner dance with this cutie...

Hey, that's me in the background!
 ...who then decided to haul off and slap him!

Each night, for real, more or less.

But his favorite number--right up there with the difficult speakeasy dance--was "The Speed Test," in which he got to tap dance!

He's the one in the back.
 At the beginning of that scene, he had to push a Stenographer around the stage on a rolling desk for the carefully choreographed "Office Crossover." It was harder than it looks--and virtually impossible in tap shoes on a slick floor! He had to wear his Sunday dress shoes and then quick-change into his taps.

You  may think the girls had it easy, but their difficult task was to control their facial expressions during this number. I tried to take pictures at the first dress rehearsal. I couldn't zoom in enough to get any good ones, but the girls looked absolutely terrified!!

Are you getting the picture that this is a pretty zany office staff? Here we are getting into position for the ending pose of The Speed Test.

I was grateful that these boys never dropped me, even though we all swayed a bit at times! (B14 was down on one knee doing the same as these young men, on the other side of the stage.)

At the first weekend of rehearsals, the choreographer spent over six hours teaching us the steps to the opening number. It would take 10 minutes to teach a section that was only a few seconds worth of music! It was so fast, and there were no repeated sequences. I came home and posted on Facebook that my friends should all buy tickets to come witness the miracle that it would be if I ever learned the dance. ("I believe in miracles!" my sister-in-law commented encouragingly.) With hours of at-home practice--I have new muscles in my legs to prove it--the miracle did take place. Here's more evidence that indeed, my arms and legs are going the same direction as everyone else!

Oh, and you have to imagine the cutest little polka dotted hat--it matched my tie--perched jauntily on the side of my head.

Ending pose.  Yay, we made it!!!

I miss these people. We had so much fun with them! What a great experience. B14 and I are already wondering what next year's summer show will be??

1 comment:

Gena at ichoosejoy.org said...

We really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to watching the video!
Now I can look for the scenes you described!