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24 April 2017

It's over.  Another three show weekend.

This one was not as heavy as the last one was.  This one was fun.

The first show The Music Man, which we saw on the 21st, ironically one day after Paul's anniversary.  As I have said before, this was Paul's first "big" show.  He played Winthrop (the Ronnie Howard part) and Jeri was Amaryllis, the girl who plays the piano (she did her own piano).  For some reason, it's "Wells Fargo Wagon" which gets me every time, not "Gary Indiana," which is Winthrop's big solo.

The summer after he did Music Man here in Davis, Paul did it at a big amphitheater in Oakland and won "best child performer" that year.  Then a few years later, he played the role of Tommy Djilas, the "bad kid" from the wrong side of the tracks.  I had hoped he would live long enough to play Harold Hill, but at least he did a version of "Trouble" in his last monologue show, just a short time before he died.  He was obviously not destined to play Mayor Shinn, I guess.

The production we saw was not great, but good and fun to see.  As expected, I cried during "Wells Fargo Wagon." Their Marion was fanTAStic, Harold was good.  They did some interesting casting, such as casting an African American woman as Marian's mother but she had a wonderful Irish accent and you forgot the color difference.  Also, in the role of Harold's old buddy, Marcelus, they cast a woman and called her Marcella.  She was good, but the part really needs a chubby man in the role.  And one of my favorite gags is then Charlie, the anvil salesman drops his case and everyone laughs because it makes such a heavy clunk.  He didn't drop the case this time.

All things considered, this was a nice show to see when we saw it.

Then we saw The Donner Party: the Musical (yes, really!) last night.  The authors Eric Rockwell (music) and Margaret Rose (book and lyrics) have written a beautiful show which is both tragic and in spots surprisingly funny (such as a song about 3 wives complaining about their husbands).  The opening number was so gorgeous I had to turn to walt and say "WOW!"

But then it went on and on and on through 19 songs, many of which had the feel of the emotional impact of a finale, but no, it wasn't a finale.  There was another one to come.  In my review I wrote that by the end of Act 1 we were literally feeling the pain and discomfort of the Donner Party itself (though at least we weren't starving).  I hope they are able to tighten it up a bit because when it is good, it is fabulous.  I would love to give it 5 stars, but only gave it 4 beause of the length. 

Every performer in the 16 member cast was excellent, including the four children, especially the one who played Virginia Reed, oldest daughter of the Reed family.  The grandma, the first to die on the road, was played by an actress who could have played Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.

I'm wondering how many in the opening night audience were browsing Googls this morning.  I found a great site on the survivors of the trek.  There were 83 member who started out, and 45 survived to get to Fort Sutter, just a stone's throw from the theater where the show was premiering.

I was not the only person to ask if they were serving spare ribs and/or lady fingers at the opening night party.  Someone said they were just serving finger food.  Everybody's a comedian these days.

And then today it was a matinee.  This time Peter Pan at the Davis Musical Theater Company.  DMTC is in ts 32nd season and Steve (founder and company Pooh Bah) reminded Walt that this show was DMTC's very first production and that on opening night during Act 1, Walt was backstage still building the set for Act 3.

This was a good production, with sets better than the average DMTC set, excellent choreography and a Peter Pan who was amazing.

The only problem with it, and I'm surprised none of the critics of professional version have mentioned it, in these politically correct days.  When they do Annie Get Your Gun these days, they remove or greatly pare down the Indian parts. There were no "Won Ton Yee" girls in The Music Man on Friday, but instead they had a patriotic tableau.  And yet Peter Pan is rife with stereotypical Hollywood Indians, scantily clad and complete with the expected yells and feathers in the head.  I'm surprised no Native Americans have protested.  But the best choreography of the show is the Indians and it would be impossible to do Peter Pan without Indians, who have an integral part of the plot.

But my long weekend is over and I have no show now until Friday.  Yay!


The Donner Party, before it all went wrong

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