Thursday, July 4, 2013

Showtime! A Tale of Two Shows

Guest blog today by hubby, who was involved in shows presented at Cain Park, Cleveland Heights, OH and at Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA. He loved the shows so much that he bought the LPs, pictured here.

Annie Get Your Gun had already been a Broadway hit and a blockbuster movie when it was announced for a summer run in Cain Park, minutes from where hubby and family lived in suburban Cleveland Heights. Here's his memory of working that show as a high school student apprenticing with the crew:

"For Annie, I ran a follow-spot from a 20-ft-high brick tower beside the stage. During the action, Annie Oakley and her beau, Frank Butler, are sailing back from Europe. They get hungry, so Annie shoots into the sky (from center stage). Waiting up on the tower, I throw down a prop stuffed seagull. The audience couldn't see me up on the tower and it seemed like a bit of magic when the bird landed on the stage at Annie's feet. (The night it accidentally landed in the orchestra pit, the conductor handed it up to her.)

"On the last night of the run, an "accomplice" and I cleaned out the theater's prop room and brought all kinds of things up to the tower. When Annie raised her rifle and shot, we threw down six or eight different stuffed animals--a pig, a skunk, even a couple of birds. One of the actors took this in stride, ad-libbing, "That's some fine shootin', Annie!" as Annie and the others cracked up.

Years later, he played Lutz, the prince's valet, the only non-singing role in a Berkshire Community College production of Romberg's The Student Prince.

The director cast hubby as the valet because he looked more mature than the college students playing the other roles. And he had a beard (still does, matter of fact), which was important to the serious look of the character.

Leaving the cast party on closing night, hubby and his ex-wife met a woman who stopped them and commented, "I've never been kissed by a man with a beard." Hubby, being very obliging, leaned over to kiss her cheek...but she grabbed him, pulled him close, and kissed him full on the lips. The kiss went on and on and on. Finally he managed to break away. On the way out, his wife asked in an acerbic tone, "Who was that?" Hubby answered truthfully, "I've never seen her before in my life." Wife had the last word: "She seemed to know you!"

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