Today in My History

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2001:  Affair to Remember
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2003:  These Boots Were Made for Walkin'
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23 April, 2018

When I first started being a critic for the Davis Enterprise, back in 2000, I didn't review a lot because I was sharing the task with another critic.  Sometimes I reviewed a show over a weekend, sometimes I would go a couple of weeks between shows.  When the other critic retired, I got a little busier.  Sometimes I had a show every week to review.  On very busy weekends, I had two shows to review.  But that didn't happen very often.

Over time, we added more theaters to the list of places where I reviewed and more often than not I was now doing two shows a weekend.

Then I got hired by the Sacramento News and Review, which reviews a few more places than I do for the Enterprise.  There are four of us to divide the riches and sometimes I would write two reviews for the same show.  I was kind of hurt once to read a comment on a review I had written which said that it was the same as the review in the other paper.  I work very hard NOT to plagiarize myself and try to find a way to say the same thing in a different way.

But with now critic for two papers, occasionally I find myself doing three shows on a weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Depending on the kind and quality of the show, this can either be a lot of fun, or a real drag.  Two shows that I have to "think" about to cover the message, back to back, are exhausting!

This weekend, I outdid myself.  I had FOUR shows to see.  Now, in truth, I only had to review three of them but still four shows in a weekend (two in one day) is a lot.

But it was musical weekend and great fun.  It started on Friday with a production of Hairspray

What a perfect show for the 19th anniversary of Paul's death.  The plan was to take flowers to the cemetery and then have our usual sushi before the show, but the sushi place was mobbed with a 20 minute wait for a table, so we ended up getting pizza.

But the solemnity (ok--it's rarely "solemn") of the date was quickly swept away by the pure joy of this production.  The girl who played Tracy Turnblad, who loves music, especially music of the "negroes" and wants to make every day "negro day" on the Corny Collins show was irresistible.  Tracy and her mother Edna (a gender bending role) made the show a delight, and the whole thing was so energetic and fun that we left the theater humming the finale ("You can't stop the beat") and chattered all the way home about various things that we enjoyed about the show.  That rarely happens.

Saturday's Man of La Mancha was a more somber musical with its light moments.  It's the story of the playwright Cervantes held in a prison with his sidekick Sancho Panza while awaiting interrogation by the Inquisition. I never think of Sancho Panza without thinking of our friend Stan Morrow, an actor in Annapolis, MD.  I had never met Stan, but met his wife Roz at an Experiment in International Living meeting in San Francisco and we became great friends.  When we went to another meeting in Vermont, Stan was coming and I was eager to meet him.  I knew he had played Sancho Panza and when I was sitting alone in the cafeteria and this short, squat, bald man walked into the room, I knew instantly that it was Stan.  It was.  We were fortunate to see him perform a couple of times and were saddened to learn of his death several years ago.

Man of La Mancha is funny, it's dark, and this was a good production which, while we didn't go home humming the score, was still enjoyable.  And one of my favorite local actors was in it, which is always fun.

On Sunday it was a matinee of Guys and Dolls here in town.

There were some really fun things about this show, particularly the girl in pink, a newcomer to the theater company, who was absolutely PERFECT as Miss Adelaide, "the famous fiancee," who has been engaged to Nathan Detroit (on the right--another of our favorites) for 14 years.

We left the theater at 5 and raced home to feed the dog, pick up my folding chair and head to the Oddfellows Hall for the second in the 3-film Hitchcock festival.

This is a movie I had seen before, but forgot how the bad guy gets his comeuppance.  At the previous movie we were neophytes and noticed that the regulars brought their own chairs.  We had to sit on the folding chairs provided and it killed my back so I was delighted to settle into my own comfortable chair, until, as Walt described him, "the biggest man in Davis" came and sat in front of me!  He literally blocked 3/4 of the screen, but I was able to move my chair to the side and that was fine.  The movie was great fun and we will go back next week when they are showing 3 episodes from Hitchcock's TV show.

So when my mother asks me tomorrow what I have been doing, I'll have lots to tell her, though she won't understand at all.


Man of La Mancha

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