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This Day in My History

A Broken Heart Still Beats
 Eyes on the Prize
2003:  Oh What a Beautiful Morning
2004:  Spring Love is in the Air



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She wonders if they'll laugh at the hospital when she tells them that the dog ate her lab request slip!

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21 February 2005

What a show....

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Gwyneth Brush, Stephen Peithman, Chris Lee, Martha Dickman, Bob Bowen,
Roy Spicer, Lenore Sebastian, Peter Shack (missing are Joe Alkire and Rebecca Plack)

Each year, a group of some of this town's most talented performers get together and donate their time and talents to present a musical review as a fund-raiser for Citizens Who Care, an organization which provides social support services to older adults and their family caregivers.  The organization provides in-home visits for families, allowing caregivers for older adults the opportunity to take a weekly break from caregiving; there is a convalescent hospital visiting program, bringing friendship to socially isolated older adults; and there is an activity program at the local senior center two Saturdays a month, which gives caregivers a five hour break.  It's a dedicated group of people and the performers who give of their time to raise money for this program are a likewise dedicated group.

Each year they choose the music of a specific composer and/or lyricist and present an entire evening of that person's music.  Stephen Peithman is the host of the weekly public radio program, Musical Stages, an hour-long program devoted to musical theatre, so he is uniquely qualified to put together the Citizens Who Care show, which combines a verbal history of the composer along with the songs.  The narrations are always witty and informative -- Steve is a great writer with a comedic flair, as well as a wealth of knowledge about the subject; he and I have collaborated on writing a couple of shows and that was some of the most fun I've had in theatre in this town.

In previous years the revue has focused on composers like Irving Berlin, Cander & Ebb,  Rogers & Hart, etc.  This year the spotlighted composer was Harold Arlen.  I'm trying to remember what Steve said Irving Berlin said at Arlen's funeral.  Something along the order of "He wasn't as well known as some of us, he was a better writer than most of us, and he will be missed by all of us."

Harold Arlen has been someone I've known forever, mostly because he wrote so many songs that Judy Garland recorded (and we all know I'm a Judy Garland fanatic, right?).  It was Harold Arlen who gave the world the likes of "The Man That Got Away," "Stormy Weather," "Blues in the Night," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and, of course, "Over the Rainbow."  So the evening was filled with familiar melodies, and some that were new to me.  One of the most surprising was a song called "Optimistic Voices," which you all know, but don't know you know.  Anybody who has seen "The Wizard of Oz," has heard the sprightly tune that is sung as Dorothy and her friends wake up in the field of poppies and head off down the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City.

You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the Sun, step into the light...

Steve discovered on a CD by Maureen McGovern that if you slow the tempo and sing it as a ballad, it is a beautiful, poignant song.  Sung by Roy Spicer, it was one of the high points of the evening for me.

However, not only was this show a walk down memory lane musically, each year when I attend this show, I just can't get away from Paul.  Memories of Paul flood over me from the moment I walk through the door.

For one thing, at the time of his death, Paul had been managing the theatre for several years.  The year of his death, the performers dedicated the show to him because they had worked with him on this show several times and appreciated his professionalism.

When I look up on stage, I see the woman who choreographed dances for the jazz choir Paul was in for 3 years; I see the woman who gave him voice lessons; I see a girl he went to school with (who was Maria in the production of West Side Story in which Paul played Riff--his first death scene); I see his boss of many years; I see people who watched him grow up.

As I look at this group while they perform, Paul is always with me in the audience.  In truth, this was not his favorite show--it wasn't is favorite kind of music.  But he loved all those performers, and they loved him, and it's a nice little trip down memory lane that we make each year.

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(photo by Peggy)

Click here for the Lawsuit Song of the Day
This is one of my personal favorites

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