Musical Post-Mortem

While they are still fresh, I wanted to jot down some end-of-show thoughts after the Stardust Christmas Blizzard. (And possibly concoct a brilliant title for a new all-singing crime show.)

Best vocal mix to combat dry-mouth: Hot water, pineapple juice, and –if you’re feeling it—a light hit of spiced rum.

My skin and hair need a break—no make-up for as long as I can stand it (excluding mascara, naturally) and no teasing, spraying, or heat-styling for my poor hair whatsoever, nada, none, period!

“Mele Kalikimaka” is still my favorite non-religious Christmas song! I’m not even jealous I didn’t get to sing it… was just happy to hear it every night from backstage.

When I grinned like an idiot through “Rock Around the Clock,” and when I laughed out loud and interrupted my own singing at the same place every night in “Jailhouse Rock,” it was real. It was genuinely felt, and I had so much fun. Every stinking time.

It was also real when I cried at the same place on all but about 6 nights in the whole run. Sometimes you are in exactly the place you need to be to deal with your own life.

This was possibly the best-natured cast I’ve had the pleasure to work with. To a man, they were positive, considerate, dependable, drama-free, and just up for playing. It’s such a gift to just fully enjoy the people you will live with for such a long run.

I can’t say how wonderful it was to have LittleBird come to a couple rehearsals with me, and then be able to sit in the audience and see me “make believe” on a grand scale. I grew up in the back of poetry readings, and though I would never have been able to define it as a kid, I know now that being in the places your parents love is so valuable. You see what is important to them, you see them at their best and most vulnerable, at their most carefree, working hard, and enjoying the work. You see the people they choose to surround themselves with, and you learn how to listen and react, and communicate with adults.

I maintain: Dancing in shows is always the best fitness program for me… especially when I spend so much time in the car to get to the show that I have no time for working out. This go-round, I lost 5 pounds, just dancing in the 2nd act. (Even though it took me an unreasonably long amount of time to get the timing right on this ONE dance move, that was of-course captured on film. Sigh.)

It’s so good to have that moment where you realize exactly what your role is in the show. Not the named character, “Ellen,” or even the basic descriptor, “the former cast-member who returns to the club unexpectedly and in need of help.” I mean to know exactly WHY you are there, for the other characters, and for the audience. For me, in this show, it was my mission to provide weighty, emotional ballast. We joked about my having some “Debbie Downer lines” in the midst of all the feel-good merriment… but that’s what needed to happen, to remind the audience that these are real people with real problems, to give them someone to worry about and rejoice with when it turns out alright.

Went through 4 pairs of nylons, 2 bright red shellac manicures, 1 full can of hair spray, 2 hair nets, 2 pairs of insoles, 1 small bottle of spiced rum, lots of cayenne pepper-laced “magic potion,” and God only knows how many blonde hairpins.

I was ready to send the show off in style. The long run went by so quickly, for all the reasons stated above, but I am ready to have my evenings back with my family, get back to the band, and start working on other projects again. This was a rough run, with overlap from the Husband’s last show, and a truly astoundingly complicated web of childcare to get through it. But it was needed. It had been too long, and I’m so thankful my family saw it as a needed thing and just made it work.

It’s so good to be reminded, again, always, that live theatre refreshes and invigorates me for what comes next.

*All pictures but the obvious hair-selfie by Harlequin Productions.


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