Today in My History
The Further Adventures of Thelma and Louise
Cast (updated 7/16)
NO LITTLE MAIDS
October 26, 2020
The Champagne Gala is the Lamplighters biggest fund raiser of the year. We were at the very first Gala, in 1967, when several funny skits were put on and champagne had been donated so we drank a lot after the show, standing in the rows with the performers.
The show was such a success that it became an annual event, the format remaining pretty much the same until 1983 when David Witmer, who worked in the office, suggested that we base a Gala on soap operas and call it Major General Hospital. Prior to that, the Galas consisted only on songs from shows that had been performed that year. Gilbert, the musical director, insisted that the chorus couldn't learn new words and new musical numbers, but David and I convinced him to try. It was a resounding success. We even got a review in the San Francisco Chronicle, which rarely reviewed the Lamplighters.
For the next three years, Gilbert and I, with help from a couple of other people, wrote new galas and had a wonderful time doing it. Gilbert got to do what he'd always wanted to do -- a parody of Wagner's Ring cycle.
When Gilbert died in 1986, we didn't know what we were going to do, but the people who had helped us took over and since 1986 the shows have gotten better and better, with amazingly talented people rewriting lyrics and writing the stories.
But this is coronavirus year and we are all supposed to be masking and social distancing and theaters are closed. But the Lamplighters decided to do a show anyway. It was streamed on YouTube today. I don't know how long it took them to do it, but it was...amazing. Lots of scenes in front of green screens so there were wonderful backgrounds when projected. Almost everyone was in his or her own screen and they managed to get them together technologically. The show itself was fun, the the technology involved in putting it together was even more amazing.
There were three short stories, the first of which was based on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and told the story of a Mrs. Murgatroyd and how she became a comedienne and ultimately ended up on the "Art Sullivan" TV show. We didn't know anybody in the cast except for Rick Williams, who played a bad comedian,
and Jonathan Spencer, one of the writers, who played Art Sulllivan himself (upper left picture)
Act 2 was based on Pride and Prejudice.
In this act two of the people were able to be in the same screen because they are married, Barbara Heroux (writer and director), and her husband Bill Neely.
Barbara has been writing galas since she helped with Gilbert and me. She is phenomenal.
After Act two there was a lovely dedication to John Ziaja, long time baritone, who died last year. His wife, Jean, who also performed with the company died several years ago. It was a beautiful tribute.
The final act was a salute to The Good Place and was perhaps my favorite of the three.
The whole show was just wonderful, but I missed "Three Little Maids," which we have tried to work into every gala since 1983. But without the Three Little Maids, it still was terrific. And I think that in the above picture, each of those four actors is being filmed by him/herself.
I was telling Walt that it seems so strange that when we first went to the Lamplighters they were in a broken down theater with two pianos for accompaniment. We have seen them to better theaters, to adding a full orchestra, to taking shows all over the place, and now to streaming on line, where we can sit at home and watch from our living room. We've been Lamplighters for a very long time!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7521