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This Day in My History


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BUSMAN'S HOLIDAY

14 November 2004

As Roz and I found our way to the 5th row and sat down, I turned to her and said "the nicest thing about tonight is that I can just sit down and enjoy the show and don't have to go home and review it tonight."

So here I am, at 1 a.m., reviewing the show.

It had been a quiet day. We sat and talked until nearly noon and then decided that we should go out to get something to eat.

While Roz got ready to go, I wandered around in the back yard and took a few photos. It's November, so we are way past peak color, but it was still pretty.

We drove to a sandwich place for lunch, then to the supermarket. Roz is still getting used to not having Stan around. He always did the shopping for them, clipping coupons, devouring the ads to know where to get the best bargains. She says that she's having to learn all over again not only how to shop for one, but how to shop period.

The afternoon passed quietly. I sat and finished my book while Roz napped and then at 5, her son Gary, his wife Michelle and their two kids, Jack (age 9) and Abby (7) picked us up to go to dinner.

The first two restaurants we tried had long waiting lists, so we ended up at an Italian bistro place where I had a great chicken caesar salad, and then we were off to Baltimore, about half an hour's drive away.

Our destination was The Ward Center for the Arts at St. Paul's School, which two of Roz's grandhildren attend. We were there to see Elise "Lisie" as the Baker's wife in Into the Woods.

Now, I think it's fair to say that Sondheim is not high on the list of composers that any high school drama teacher would choose for a school production. It's very difficult music, it's more wordy than most usual high school fare, and it has to be very well done, or it's a disaster.

This is a school that is obviously very serious about its productions. Just walking into the theatre you could tell that. It was beautiful and probably sat about 300 people. The stage had huge trees on either side and a grove of smaller trees in back--that was just for starters.

The tech alone for this show was outstanding, including a tree with a tall branch over the stage where people would sit, and an incredible stone tower for Rapunzel.

The costumes looked professional quality--sometimes that's just the magic of seeing something on the stage, but I suspect that these costume would hold up under closer scrutiny.

You could not, of course, take photos during the show, but they did have a projection on the screen during intermission and this gives you a bit of an idea of the quality of the costumes and sets.

But this was all just the trappings. The real amazement were the performances. I won't lie and say they were uniformly excellent. They weren't--these are high school kids after all. But the bulk of the principals were amazing. Little Red Riding Hood was cute and sparkling. Cinderella had a great voice and was just beautiful. The baker was great. The two princes had wonderful timing and played off each other beautifully. The witch was fantastic.

And of course, Lisie was terrific. Her grandfather performed for 65 years; this afternoon I watched a video of her mother doing the Narrator in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the apple obviously does not fall far from the tree. Lisie was professional, she had great timing, she had a wonderful voice, and she was a delight to watch.

Afterwards was the requisite "meet and greet" and many hugs were exchanged and then all the actors turned back into high school kids eager to get to their cast party.

The rest of us piled back in the car and came on home, entertained all the way by 9 year old Jack and his amazing stream of consciousness. This kid is going to be president of the United States some day, if we ever get the Bush family out of office.

So it was a lovely day. So nice to be here. So nice to get a chance to see this show, and such a delight to find it so professionally done.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

 

 

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