... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next fridge door belongs to my friend Charlotte.

This is her grandson Cody
(or possibly his twin Casey)

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.

Read the forum that was banned by one reader's office computer because it has "sexual content." I must be having more fun than I thought!


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett


(on stage)

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page.
Pictures from our Family reunion are on my own Club Photo page.

That's it for today!



31 July 2001

On a warm summer's evening (or even a cool one), what better place to pass the time than sitting in a huge tent watching a theatrical performance.

Sacramento's Music Circus has been in operation for fifty years and is a local tradition. The idea was to erect a huge tent (since no barn was available) and put on a show, inviting "name" talent to take the lead role and filling in the rest with local performers.

In the years since we've lived in this area (some 30 of them now) a lot of not- quite- as- famous- as- they- once- were stars graced the stage of The Music Circus. People like Leslie Uggams, Harve Presnell, Ken Berry, Tom Poston, and Gordon MacRae when he was getting a bit long in the tooth.

Nowadays we seem to have dropped from the "B" list to the "C" list of "names." Not that the stars are any less talented. You couldn't ask for better than Ruth Williamson, who played the title role in last week's Mame. Tonight's "big name star" for Annie was Marcia Lewis Bryan. (Are you impressed?)

I stood in the courtyard during intermission and looked around me at all the other patrons. The wide-eyed kids, perhaps out with the parents for their first theatre experience. The ladies dressed to the nines. The gentlemen in their Sunday summer finery.

I thought of my cousin who is going to be bringing her granddaughter to see Annie later this week. It will be the granddaughter's first time seeing a live stage show and the grandparents want to make it special for her. They asked me where in the neighborhood they could take her for dinner. They've been planning this event for weeks.

I remember back to the days when it was a Big Deal to go to the theatre, when I got dressed up, had that feeling of anticipation and excitement and was transported someplace magical as the lights dimmed in the theatre.

A stage show still has the power to move me, but I've long since lost the "awe" of theatre that I once had. There's nothing magical about being behind the scenes, or seeing actors up close and personal. I know that the glitz that sparkles under the lights is just an illusion, and that you don't dare look too closely at the costumes that impressed you when you saw them on stage, or you'll see how shabby they often are.

When the lights go down, now I'm "working." Oh it's a cushy job, being a reviewer. I get the best seats for free and then they pay me to go home and write about what I've just seen.

Of course I'm not quite so facile with the reviews yet. I haven't been at this all that long and I still go through the tortures of the damned writing a review, even for a show that I know backwards and forwards, like The Music Man. But all in all, it's not a bad way to make a few bucks on the side.

But there are times when I wish I could be like my cousin--still awed by the magic, and excited about going out to the theatre.

I wish I could have the overwhelming thrill I had back in 1975 when I was invited to visit The Lamplighters office/warehouse. We'd been seeing Lamplighters shows for several years and each time it was another adventure, as we learned all of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, and grew to recognize familiar faces of the performers in the company.

But backstage. Behind the scenes. This was really exciting! I remember walking through the warehouse, catching glimpses of props or costumes I'd seen on stage before and just taking it all in in wide-eyed awe.

Of course by a month later when we were rummaging through garbage sacks of company history trying to piece together enough information to write a book, the magic had begun to dissipate a bit.

But there still was the night when we managed to get permission to watch a real live rehearsal. Creeping into the theatre, ever so quietly. Afraid we'd do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, disrupt the action on stage, make the director angry.

I remember that it was the opening of Act 2 of Die Fledermaus, in English translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin. "What a joy to be here, on this wonderful occasion..." the chorus sang over and over again as they tried to get the blocking right. I still think of the way I felt that night whenever I hear that song.

But you can't go home again. I've attended hundreds of rehearsals since that night, even ran parts of some rehearsals once when I was an assistant to the director for The Mikado back in 1986. I will never again huddle in a darkened theatre feeling so privileged to be able to watch a rehearsal.

And I'll never again eagerly count the days until I get to attend a real live stage production, or dress up in my finest clothes and plan to make an evening out of it by going to a nice restaurant for dinner beforehand. Nowadays, I'm lucky to grab a bite to eat and get shoes on before we hop in the car. "If this is Monday, it must be Annie."

But I can revisit that feeling when I look around me at a production like Annie and see all those little kids with stars in their eyes, totally engrossed in the story unfolding before them on the stage.

...and now I have to write my review. Only 4 stars this time--that's punishment for the ear-splitting "Tomorrow" that I can't get out of my brain.

One Year Ago:
(my tribute to the most remarkable woman I know)

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 7/30/01 by Bev Sykes