Today in My History

2000:   Computer Crash
The Mama Caper--Part II
Jockette on the Road Again
Wake Up, Honey
Pruning by God

2005:  Oh Baby, You Sure Got an Ugly Butt
2006: Know What I Mean, Jellybean
2007: Good Stuff / Bad Stuff

2008: Nicki Flunks "Placement"
2009: The Lord's Day
2010: Like Mother Used to Make
2011: We Must Get Together Sometime

2012: Such a Deal
For the Birds
2014: Sunday Stealing
2015  Nail Biting
2016: #6050
2017: Unusual Things
Now Yer Cookin'
2019: Saturday Nine
The Zoo

Books Read in 2021
 Updated 9/27
"Teacher" by
Alec Clayton

Theater Reviews
Updated 9/27
Singin' in the Rain
Mary Poppins

My family

Bev's 65 x 365

Books Read in 2021
Books Read in 2020

Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

Cast (updated 7/16)

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piņata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?

mail to Walt / mail to Bev


19 October 2021

In 1966, The Lamplighters needed money.  They got this idea to create a "gala," with songs from the repertoire for that year done in funny scenes.  Act 2 was Act 2 of Die Fledermaus, with "imported opera singers" singing arias from the shows for that year.  It was something that nobody had seen before and critics raved about it.  A winery donated champagne and following the performance was an "all you can drink" reception. 

The Gala was such a success  that it became a yearly part of the repertoire, though in following years the Lamplighters bought their own champagne.  I went home pretty drunk from many of the early Galas until they started monitoring how much champagne people drank.

The music always came from what was sung that year and a story was woven around the songs that were sung.

In 1983, David Witmer, who worked in the office, suggested that it might be funny to base a Gala on soap operas.  He was a soap opera buff and had great ideas.  He and I also suggested that we use the entire G&S repertoire, not just the shows performed that current year.  Gilbert swore that would not be possible, but we convinced him and so Major General Hospital was born.  We decided to rewrite some lyrics and of the 32 numbers in the show, 10 had completely rewritten lyrics and others had minor changes.  It was a tremendous success. 

One of the critics wrote, one of the funniest things this side of a Monty Python film.  Missing "Major General Hospital" is worse than having missed "King Kong" when you were a kid.

It opened the door to do completely different Galas. Before he died, we wrote The Devil and Reginald Bunthorne, A Star Is Born (my suggestion!), How the Grouch Stole Christmas and The Phantom of the Operetta, a take-off of Wagner's Ring cycle, which Gilbert had always wanted to write.

Gilbert died in July of 1986 and the Gala was scheduled for November, so we had to get a committee working on it.  Several other authors had been contributing for years and so it was easy to get Barbara Heroux to take over and the result was very good...and the Galas continued to grow.  New people joined the committee and over the years, the shows have mostly gotten better and better.  I stayed on the committee for a couple of years after Gilbert died, but I no longer worked in the office and discovered you really need to be a part of the day to day activities to be effective, so I stopped participating.

There was no Gala in 2020, of course, but there was one this year, only it was not only going to be in the theater, but also streaming, for people who didn't want to go out to the theater.  We had not been to San Francisco in more than a year and a half and while I was willing to watch the show on YouTube, Walt wanted to go and see our friends, so we drove to the city.

We were about 20 minutes down the highway in bumper to bumper traffic when Walt realized he had left his bum bag (with the tickets and his proof of vaccination) at home, so we turned around and headed back.  I was actually glad we were heading back because I'd forgotten my hearing aids, and I figured I would need them.

Walt dropped me off at the theater and went to park the car.  I got into my seat just as the overture started.  Walt didn't get there for 15 minutes.  How was the show?  I don't have a clue.  The sets were great, the special effects to make it seem like they were on a moving train were amazing.  But even with my hearing aids turned all the way up, I missed most of the dialog and still don't know exactly what the plot was.  It looked good and the voices were great.  Fortunately the theater has supertitles so at least I could read the lyrics to the songs.

                                                                  Photo by Jen Kiernan

There was only one person in the cast, our friend Jonathan Spencer, who spoke loudly enough that I heard almost everything he said.  I didn't hear anything any actress said, though we loved the lyrics to "Three Little Maids" from Mikado.  This is a number that has been in every gala and this year the lyrics were "too middle aged for school are we..."

                                                 Photo from Kathi Brotemarkle

The second act was a tribute  to Alex Trebek and I could follow the Jeopardy game, but don't understand why the loser was actually the winner.  How I long to read a script!

One of the things I've loved about Galas during the years was watching people I consider friends in them.  This cast had only two friends in it and one name I knew, but didn't really have any friendship with.  All the rest were new names -- good performers, but it wasn't the same as the Gala usually is.

When the show was over, we visited with a few friends.  There was no champagne poured, but the company did give everyone a small bottle of champagne and a cookie to take home with them.

Walt went and got the car, while I waited in the building -- it was raining!!! -- when was the last time we saw it rain???

We stopped at Denny's for dinner (best fried onion rings ever) and then headed home.  I collapsed in the recliner and didn't even turn on the TV.  I was asleep by 10 and I actually slept all night until 6 a.m.

It was a fun day but, all things considered, I kind of wish we had streamed the show.  I might have been able to understand the plot!



with Willa and Henry Anderson.
I think.


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