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6 August 2002

I suppose I will never be completely comfortable being a critic. For all sorts of reasons.

I'm never really sure of myself when reviewing straight drama. I do not have a theatre background, other than going to a lot of it, and I rarely went to anything but musicals. So I always feel out of my element when I write a drama review because I have nothing to draw from, nothing to make me sound like I know what I'm talking about. I re-read things I've written after they're published and they don't sound nearly as bad as they did when I was writing them, so maybe I'm managing to hold my own. But I'm always wondering when they're going to discover that I'm really a fraud.

However, with musical theatre, it's a whole 'nother ball game. I've seen a lot of musical theatre in my time. I saw musicals when I was in grammar school. I ushered for all the musicals that came through town when I was in college. (Got to see Mary Martin do Sound of Music, for example.) After college, we just attended a lot of musical theatre, got involved with theatre locally, worked on all aspects of production.

I could write a review of a Gilbert & Sullivan production without hardly pausing to think.

Most of the better known musicals present no problem either. I am familiar enough with the plot and the music and have seen enough productions that I can get a pretty good idea of the quality of the show and can put together a somewhat decent review.

I love the summer because I review at least one show a week, all at The Music Circus, where the fare is always a well-known musical and I can enjoy the show and then dash off a relatively intelligent sounding review and get to sleep before 1 a.m.

But there are always "those musicals" that are difficult. Not because of the show or my lack of expertise or anything like that. It's because they are so much a part of the history of this family.

Last season Music Circus presented The Music Man, surely one of the best known, beloved musicals of all time. Nothing but a good, toe-tapping time, bright colors on stage, lively choreography.

I'm sure I was the only person in the theatre with tears streaming down my face. Music Man, as I've written here before, is so closely connected to Paul in my mind. The first production of it that he did, Jeri played Amaryllis, the little girl taking piano lessons from Marian the Librarian. But Paul went on to do the show two more times, once again as Winthrop and then once as the teen aged Tommy Djilas. In one of his monologue shows, he did a big chunk of Harold Hill's "Trouble." I always hoped I'd see him actually play Harold Hill some day.

So it's hard for me to watch Music Man.

It's similarly hard for me to watch Oliver! in which Paul played the title character, David and Tom were orphans, and Jeri was Bette. So many happy memories, now tinged with sadness.

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is very hard. That was a totally kid-produced show with Paul again in the title role, Tom as Schroeder, David hugging his blanket as Linus. Jeri directed and choreographed it and Ned designed and ran the lights. A magical production, now, again, memories tinged with sadness.

Tonight I was at Music Circus to review Camelot. A delightful production and we smiled as we remembered that our exchange student for that year played a role in the production here.

davidcamelot.jpg (17906 bytes)It is only the last part of that show that is difficult. After Lancelot has rescued Guenivere from execution and the dream of Camelot is in shambles, a young boy meets King Arthur and tells him that he's come to join the knights of the round table. Arthur realizes that though his vision for Camelot has disappeared, the tales will live on through people, like young Tom of Warwick telling the stories to their descendants. He gives the charge to young Tom to run home and to spend the rest of his life talking about how "once there was a spot ...that was known as Camelot."

David played Tom of Warwick. It was a teeny role but one of my favorite newspaper photos is of David being knighted by King Arthur, played by an actor who would die of AIDS several years later. David's eyes are huge as he glances up into the King's face.

And so the end of Camelot, like the other musicals, is tinged with bittersweet memories. Good memories, but sad because of what is no more.

"I made it through without crying," Walt said as we walked out.

I guess that means we're continuing to adjust.

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Quote of the Day

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

- Unknown

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One Year Ago
Bev's Upcoming Adventures
in Pharmaceutical Land
As it did back then, tonight's production gave me a few clutches in the ol' solar plexus. To walk into the lobby and see a large photo of Paul, a write up about his career with Acme, and his death, the plaque for the scholarship that was named for him, then to walk out of the lobby into the courtyard where he and Audra were married 8 months before he died, and then leave the courtyard to walk past the tree that was planted in David's memory 5 years ago...well, it's just too much emotional overload all at once.

Two Years Ago
Netstock Day 3
I knew my foot would not be happy "wandering around" anywhere...and "Dr. Schalchlin" had yelled at me and told me to "get off the goddamn foot!" so, ever obedient (eventually), I suggested they drop me at the book store first and I would just wait for the group to join me.

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