I know, I know. "more pictures. more pictures. wah wah wah".Well hold on - you're gonna get a bunch this time. So there.
Well - I told ya I had two hours to blog until we had to start gearing up to get to the airport (and giving Pack Leader time to do the traditional Pravda blog censorship :) :). BTW if you would ever like to receive the uncensored blog... tough crap. Rich would kill me.
So - we got through our first performance. Yee haw. And, the very next morning - before, mind you, the show had even officially OPENED, we started working on the next one... the war show. We actually had touched on a few things several days earlier that we knew Tim was going to have to do some heavy arranging on, so that he could get a head start. We had taken twenty minutes one day and picked out keys for things like "Apple Tree" which were going to be a lot of work for him. But - insanely - with time to even sit on our laurels, never mind rest on them (do you sit on a laurel? I mean laurel wreaths sit on your head, right...but then how do you REST on your laurels? Any ideas?) - we dove "Over There". I already had alluded to the fact that because I had realized after Jordan's arrival that he was more testoneron-ically-gifted than I had anticipated, I had reassigned a few 'boy misses girl' things to him. Also, we'd determined from "To Sir With Love" that Colleen was a whole lot better off with lyrical stuff than with brassy stuff. So, a Judy Garland number called "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm" was moved over to Katie. My favorite song in the entire universe, "London Pride" (which rapidly became the NEW Blame Canada - (in-or-out-in-or-out) was given to Jordan. I think everything else pretty much stayed the way I had originally assigned it. Even on the first day of rehearsal we realized that this show was gonna be tougher than the Movie Show. The movie show had a handful of four-part harmony numbers - and a hefty number of solos. The war show was predominantly group material - with a VAST amount of harmony. Plus the girls had to figure out a way to rearrange the Andrews Sisters stuff missing ONE part of the harmony. Which was not easy. We had our work cut out for us. And - on top of that - we were already - THEY were already feeling tired. And now the real marathon began. At least for the first two weeks they had been pretty free in the evenings. Now, they had to rehearse all day from 10-5:30 and then be back to do the show an hour later. It was a BIG load. And it wasn't like a normal rep schedule where someone who stars in one show usually plays a supporting role in the next one. So they don't get vocally overworked. This was just the four of them - and there was no way to hide. And no time to sleep.
Opening night - having had the Remax night under our belt - was actually a whole lot more enjoyable to do. Not just for us - but some new adjustments 'behind the scenes' helped a lot too. Opening night we'd had Janice and Bob and Aunt Cheryl and Margaret and Cindy all trying to help in the kitchen. And there's only so much help, it seems, Jean Anne can take. So we pared down the bodies in the serving area. And, above all, relocated Timmy. We moved the piano into the auditorium so that Tim could use his headphones and work while the crowd was eating before the show. This helped a whole lot with traffic-flow in and out of the room. They also learned to pour ice into the glasses in advance (although this took some futzing with - the first time we did it, we pre-poured a bunch of sodas as the doors opened - and by the time they were served the ice had melted too much). But eventually they figured out the right time ratio to have stuff pre-poured, which sped up the serving of soft drinks RAPIDLY.
I was assigned to help with beverages and stuff. So after Rich meeted and greeted - I would take their drink orders. Now - keep in mind I have never been a waiter in my life. I've helped Jean Anne cater - but I've never like TAKEN ORDERS and stuff. I knew that this was going to stress me out - but I thought I was keeping it pretty well under control. Apparently however, I went into hyperactive squirrel on speed mode. The first week we had to explain to people that we didn't have our liquor license yet and we were giving them free drinks as an apology. So while I thought I was warmly greeting people in a calm and casual fashion, apparently I was zooming up to them like Speedy Gonzales with wide-eyed terror and saying as rapdily as possible (like a stepford wife on fastforward)... "Good evening I'm afraid due to circumstances beyond our control there's been a slight delay in our liquor license as an apology we'd like to offer you complimentary beverages this evening I have coke diet coke sprite lemonade and water." (In one breath) and then would zoom over to the next table and with a robotic smile on my face say "Good evening I'm afraid due to circumstances beyond our control there's been a slight delay in our liquor license as an apology we'd like to offer you complimentary beverages this evening I have coke diet coke sprite lemonade and water." And then go to the table one foot away and say Good evening I'm afraid due to circumstances beyond our control there's been a slight delay in our liquor license as an apology we'd like to offer you complimentary beverages this evening I have coke diet coke sprite lemonade and water."
I have a certain number of skills. This is not one. So I was fired. Well - I was coerced into relinquishing my downstairs mealtime participation. Ok, after I spilled four chocolate mousses on the carpet I was fired. BUT Rich reasoned that I would be a whole lot more effective if I spent the time during the meal upstairs with my script and took the time to calm down and really relax with what I was saying.
Ok. yah it worked. After about the second performance I stayed upstairs during the meal with the actors and prepared. And it actually was a whole lot better for me. Because I was stressed out enough about being onstage... being stressed out about being a crappy waiter and THEN going right onstage was not an ideal combo. Lesson learned. I also got the chance to witness Tim take his daily power-nap before the show along with his highly-trained nap buddy:
And, the first time i saw this, I was rather jealous. My dog is two-timing me.
Speaking of Timmy... I forgot to tell you some of our favorite Tim-isms. He just had this mild mannered habit of saying things that would completely crack us up. I think the all time favorite was one of the first rehearsals when he was apologizing for not being completely prepared and said "I don't mean to be church-jerking you".
Or at least that's what all FIVE OF US thought he said. Turns out he said "I don't mean to be tear-jerking you". But, for a moment there we all had very unfortunate images of altar boys.
Another time Colleen said 'what are we doing with this song?" and I joshingly said 'oh, you'll be doing it naked". And Tim, completely seriously said, "oh gee. I think I may have a hard time concentrating".
Anyway - as performances of the movie show progressed we learned some very interesting and sometimes surprising things. Or rather surprising to us. The Muppet Medley - which had been on the chopping block up until about a day before we opened - they loved. They thought it was adorable. We had been really worried about that one. The Bond medley, which Rich thought I was nuts to include - and was by far the longest sequence in the show - brought the house down every single night. I love Bond movies (weird, right? You wouldn't think). And I've always loved the music - and really wanted to do a medley of Bond stuff. But Rich didn't think this audience would know the songs - or really care about the material - and for something he wasn't sure about it was like TEN MINUTES long. Well - they loved it. LOVED it. I think it's because the part of the show where we had always said the actors had to have the most fun, and really be kind of over-the-top and really chew the scenery. And they did - and as a result they had the most fun they had all night - so the audience did too. I had made one mistake with the show, I think. I really wanted a boy to sing "I Will Always Love You" from the bodyguard because the song is so iconically associated with Whitney Houston's HUGE voice that i didn't want to make a girl try and compete with that memory. I figured if I put it in a new context and had a guy sing it really well - which Jordan did - they would respond more favorably. I was kinda wrong. He did a great job - and it sounded wonderful - but the audience loved the girls so much singing big loud stuff - and after they heard Katie blast Goldfinger - they felt a little cheated not to hear her sing it.
There was some stuff in my script that was debated for several days and eventually got adjusted to everyone's satisfaction. And I got steadily better as the days went on. Mostly...
But - after the first 'official' opening the actors had decided that they were going to be responsible for all three opening night parties. So that night we celebrated our first giant hurdle - and took some solace in the fact that at least we knew we weren't going to be run out of town anymore. The audiences were very happy - very - so now we just had to keep them that way for the rest of the summer. And so, for the first time in two weeks, we relaxed...
The next day we REALLY relaxed. Thank goodness it was our day off - desperately needed and it happened to be July Fourth. Which meant - you guessed it - Eckert food. Food Food Food Food. Margaret's fourth of july party is kind of infamous - and now I know why. She prepares for about two hundred people to show up. The entire garage is food. This day alone I am convinced I gained ten pounds. There were so many different kinds of cake it was criminal. I ate until I thought I was going to dieeeeeee. This was not helped much by the fact that there was a bouncy castle...
Are you kidding me? Eckert food? Winnie's ham salad (illegal as an addictive substance in 39 states)... cake cake cake... a bouncy castle. What's next a SNOWCONE MACHINE? ha. Oh wait...
And Uncle Stan playing accordian (and remarkably he happened to know almost every tune from the warshow - and irish lass Colleen joined him for a pretty great "tura lure" (no, Gallagher - I don't know how to spell that). And a raffle - in which Katie won a fetching cooler:
And a highly dubiously named Indiana pastime called the (and I am NOT making this up) The Corn-hole Toss. Where you try and get your ball into the opponents...cornhole. Yup.
Plus a big digging thingy which Aunt Cheryl was VERY excited to learn to drive...
And, of course, fireworks. And nothing thrills a director more than having Larry allow his actors to play with explosives...
And - there was someone who I could really relate too recently. One of Margaret and Larry's farm cats had recently had kittens. And one of them was the cutest...saddest little thing ever called Dizzy. He was called Dizzy cuz the poor little guy didn't was born with a problem in his Eustachian tubes and he had no balance. At all. He was just so sweet and determined to get around and kind of could only roll around to try and get where he was headed. It was sooo sad. I'm sad to say he didn't make to the end of the summer... but we won't forget him:
So - I hate to tell you - but my four hours of scheduled blogging are now up (actually I'm over by fifteen minues). But you got PICTURES right??? Are you happier now?
I do need to leave you with a very very very disturbing piece of news. It has come to my attention that there is a sworn enemy of all Huntingtonians and blog-lovers... (dum dum DUMMMM)
Yup - APPARENTLY there is an imposter PORK QUEEN!!!! (wait... try to breathe...do you need a paper bag...easy now). I KNOW. I was as incensed as you are. As I understand it - some whippersnapper, upstart, no account people in IOWA claim...CLAIM...that they have had a pork queen for, oh, like forty years. Poppycock I say. Pork Rinds! This Pork Queen is no more genuine than the bacon bits on your salad!! While we are in New York I am expecting all of you to engage in an aggressive letter-writing campaign to every person in Iowa demanding that this Piglet step down. And while you're at it - have her send us the tiara.
Anyway - I gotta go. The suitcases are on the bed and ready to be packed. Someone isn't thrilled we're leaving, however...
I did NOT put her there - and she was in that position literally two minutes after the suitcase went on the bed. xo Jo Jo.