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NOTHING WHATEVER TO GRUMBLE AT
23 February 2013
A few weeks ago, when we were stuck on the roof of the garage for 2 hours after going to a Lamplighters show, I wrote an entry called "Plenty to Grumble At," which referred to a song in the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, Princess Ida. It wasn't an accurate quote, though. The real quote says that King Gama is upset because he has "nothing whatever to grumble at."
That's what I'm feeling like tonight. I have "nothing whatever to grumble at." But that's OK. I'm definitely not upset about it.
We went to see Urinetown at the Davis Musical Theater Company. We have been associated with DMTC since before there was a DMTC. Founder/manager/director Steve Isaacson directed a couple of shows that Paul and/or Jeri were in. After DMTC was established, Walt was their (I think) first set builder. In those days they didn't have a permanent home and were in a building that was in the same complex where Walt worked. so it was easy for him to build sets on his lunch hour and after work.
They later moved to a few other theaters, one of which was managed by Paul, and finally ended up with their own building, where they have been now for several years. If you want to see any of the big name musicals, just wait and sooner or later DMTC will be presenting it. It's California's longest-running, year-round, amateur musical theater company, now looking toward its 30th season.
I have been reviewing shows at DMTC for 13 years now, since I became a critic in 2000. The thing about DMTC, especially in the early years, was that the quality of the productions was quite uneven. You could see one that made you roll your eyes because it was almost painful to watch and then would come something like the first Evita that was so amazing your mouth hung open in astonishment.
The longer the company has gone on, the more shows were of the very, very good variety, though there are still a few shows here and there that require me to be very careful in how I word my reviews. I have always wanted to be supportive, but sometimes it's more difficult than other times.
I have no need to tiptoe around the review I will write about this show, however. Most people are probably not familiar with Urinetown, by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, but it is one of the funniest shows around.
It is set in some dystopian society where a drought has dried up all (or most of) the water and after a period called "the stink." Private toilets are unthinkable and all of your "elimination" must be done in public toilets, which are controlled by the UGC (Urine Good Company) which charges for use of its toilets...no pay, no pee. If caught urinating in a public place, you are arrested and hauled off to Urinetown (a euphemism for "death."). The show satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, bureaucracy, corporate management and municipal politics. It's the perfect show for Davis during a time when there is a hot debate going on about sustainable water. I also heard today that someone from the Department of Interior says that if the sequester goes forward, they will have to lock the public bathrooms in national parks. Perfect setting for Urinetown.
This was a great production, with strong leads, amazing choreography, and hilarious parodies of such shows as West Side Story, Les Miserables and Fiddler on the Roof. I loved it and it will be fun to write the review.
Earlier in the day, I went to lunch at Cindy's (my dentist) house. Cindy and I, along with four other women, all worked in a typing office for many years. Three of the women have moved away (one to Oregon, one to up state New York, and one to Maryland) but Cindy, Roberta and I remain. Roberta and I share a birthday and Cindy's is in late December, so we were celebrating our collective birthdays. The last time Cindy invited us to the house for a birthday celebration, she ended up being called away on a family emergency, leaving Roberta and me to serve ourselves and lock up when we left.
This time there was no emergency so the three of us had a leisurely (and delicious) lunch and got caught up on our lives. Seems like such a long time ago that we worked together ... it was. Cindy has been my dentist for about 20 years and she didn't even have an office when we worked together, and was working part time as a typist while she was building up her clientele! It was fun seeing them all again.
It is now 1 a.m. and I am working on a wedding cake for Peach's
daughter's wedding tomorrow. I would not have volunteered to make a cake if it
weren't that this is going to be a very small wedding (8 at the ceremony, at the facility
where Bob is, and 20 at the house afterwards). I am definitely out of practice but
both layers are now baked and frosted and I'm going to sleep for a couple of hours and
then decorate them. I'm very nervous about delivering the cake to the house.
The last time I drove a cake to Sacramento, the vibration of the car made the cake fall
apart. I'm praying that does not happen tomorrow and realizing that the reason I
have procrastinated so much about this cake is that fear of getting it to the wedding in
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