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PARAGON PARK, THE MUSICAL
5 August 2012
So here it is: the big day. The reason we have flown across the country.
It was really a pretty quiet day. Jeri went off to yoga and Phil to work. Walt tried to take Lester for a walk, but she planted her legs and refused to go. She seemed to spend her day moving from lying in front of one fan to another.
Sounded like a logical thing to me and I ended up taking not one, but two naps myself, the last of which was while Walt and Jeri took Lester to the Farmers Market and for a walk around Jamaica Pond. Walt came home drenched with sweat.
Around 5, we drove to Norwell, where the musical Jeri has orchestrated was playing. First we met our friends Dave and Diane for dinner. Diane is the older sister of one of Ned's best friends, Greg.
When we first entered the restaurant (Not Your Average Joe's in Norwell), there was a huge poster for Paragon Park just inside the front door, which was kind of cool. We found out later that if you were going to the show, you got a 15% discount on your dinner, which was even cooler.
We started with drinks and most of us ordered beer. I had a beer called "Dead Man," because I'd never tasted a dead man before (kinda tasty, actually).
Dave ordered blueberry beer, which came blueberries floating on top of it. Actually, the beer was like one of those Galileo thermometers, because the berries would slowly sink to the bottom of the glass and then bounce back up to the top again. Not sure the chemical action involved here.
Service was slow, but got right zippy when we let the waitress know we were going to the show. The waitress recommended the show highly, told us it was sold out, and said that people had been searching on Craig's list for tickets. While I would not embarrass Jeri by telling the waitress who she was, Diane did, but though she was impressed, it didn't get us a larger discount!
The theater was only 1 minute away and when we arrived, the lobby was full and there was a merry go round horse which was being raffled off to raise money for the theater group.
I walked into the theater and just swelled with pride when I saw the theater, the full seats, and the 20 piece orchestra. This was before a note of music had been played.
In this day of so much synthesized music in major productions, it was a real treat to hear a live orchestra. Jeri said she didn't want to play any of the songs for us before hand because she wanted us to hear it live. I can't explain how proud of her I was tonight. Reviewers almost never notice the person who does the orchestrations--I know I certainly do not. But one reviewer had singled her out for her "splendid" orchestrations. A well deserved notice, I think! (But then I'm allowed to be prejudiced.)
The show has a huge cast (about 40), lush costumes, amazing sets, hummable tunes, aerial acrobatics, and a merry-go-round that is assembled (several times) on stage, and works every time.
The show takes place over several decades in the history of a very popular amusement park near Boston and Jeri's orchestrations reflected the sound of those decades beautifully.
We met the composer and lyricist Adam Brooks and Zoe Bradford, who wrote the book along with Michael Hammond (whom I didn't meet) and Zoe could not stop raving about how brilliant a musician Jeri is. Naturally that warmed the cockles of this mother's heart.
When it was over, we tried to go back to Joe's for dessert so we could continue talking about the show, but it was after 11 p.m. and it was closed, so we said our good byes to Diane and Dave and we went our separate ways.
This was really a special day and how glad I am that we came here to see the show!