|Colby Theatre Groups||
My original title for this page was ‘Tales and Trips: A Theatre Blog’. That title proved too long and the bar just left “more…” in its place, leaving me wondering if anyone would look to see what “more…” had to offer, so I shortened the title to simply Theatre Blog. The following entry is exactly the type of story I want this page to be full of, for everyone to read, and for you to share your similar adventures!
I was fortunate enough to see ‘Memphis’ in 2009, with the original cast, before it took home the 2010 Tony for best musical. Before the first act concluded, I knew I had to see this show again! Last September when it was announced as part of the Pantages 2011-12 season and did not make the list for the theatres in our area, I had to get tickets. I couldn’t possibly be the only member of my household who had experienced this phenomenal show. Eleven months pass and it’s finally time to see the national tour of ‘Memphis’! One of my best friends had also moved to southern California, and she was able to join our evening at the theatre.
Another friend of ours once rented a room from Sally Struthers. John and I are are seeing Sally Struthers perform her new one woman show this weekend, so, via Facebook, our friend said to say hello to Sally for her if I had the opportunity.
Now you have the background, this is where the story really starts:
During the drive to LA, we were playing music and reminiscing about past shows we had seen. John saw Sally Struthers in a national tour of ‘Grease’ years ago and had the soundtrack, so we were playing it and I told John about a crazy dream I had, that we had met Sally Struthers and she ended up at our house making Sunday brunch...
It’s finally show time! The three of us, John, Jennifer and I, take our seats. I can’t wait to see the show again, and I can’t wait for John and Jennifer to experience it for the first time! Now, I have to admit, seeing original cast, I’m “Team Chad (Kimball)” all the way. Bryan Fenkart, now in the role of Huey, was going to have to win me over. Felicia Boswell, in the role of Felicia, originated by Montego Glover, steps into the role beautifully. I never once found myself comparing her performance to that of Ms. Glover. The show is every bit as moving, toe tapping and brilliant as it was on Broadway.
Intermission comes and we head to a lesser known bar in the lobby to get waters and chat about the show up to this point. That’s when John says, “That lady over there looks like Sally Struthers.” I turn, we make eye contact, and I reply “It is.” The debate about walking over and saying hello begins! John says “no,” Jennifer says “we only live once,” and is encouraging me to do it. I’m no stranger to saying hello to celebrities; they’re just people with better jobs than mine. I also won’t bother anyone either, and she was having a conversation with two other people. When I had my theatre career I was around celebrities all the time, maybe that has something to do with my ability to just talk to them like anyone else.
Intermission is coming to an end, the lights are flashing and we’re being instructed to head back to our seats. At this point, Sally Struthers is walking next to me, I simply turn to her and say, “Miss Struthers, I would never bother you on your night out at the theatre, but we have a mutual friend, and, oddly enough, just yesterday she said if I had the chance to please tell you she says hello.” She asked me who our friend was, I told her, and she seemed rather excited, as did one of the young men with her. She offered her hand, asking my name and asked me who Jennifer was (poor John had gone to the bathroom and missed all this). Sally Struthers was so sweet, introduced us to her friends and continued chatting with us in the Pantages lobby. When I told her I was seeing her show in Pleasanton the following Saturday, she got a comical, puzzled look on her face and said “Oh geeze, I’m so sorry. We’re still polishing it up.” I couldn’t help but laugh, I can’t believe a performer was giving me a pre-apology for her show! She continued to chat with us, and finally, not wanting to be the one responsible for Sally Struthers getting caught in a seating hold and missing the beginning of the second act, I told her exactly that, and said I was going to let her get back to her night, and politely excused us. I would have been so humiliated if our conversation made her miss the beginning of the second act! Oddly enough…as we’re walking back to our seats, she was actually seated in the row directly in front of us!
The second act was wonderful, and I was thrilled to have once again, experienced this brilliant show. Bryan Fenkart won me over with his portrayal of Huey. The entire cast did a phenomenal job. Fenkart’s interpretation of the 11th hour song, ‘Memphis Lives in Me’ is slightly different than Kimball’s, but he does an amazing job and makes the song, and the role, his own. When it comes to ‘Memphis’, I’m still “Team Chad,” but I’m also “Team Bryan,” because, it’s okay to root for two teams!
After the actor bows, and the audience is done dancing and applauding, the lights come up, and we’re waiting to exit our row, remember, Sally Struthers is in front of us, so we’re standing there next to her, I wasn’t going to say anything more so as not to bother her, she looks at me and says, “Goodnight, Steele.” What a class act. What an amazing night at the theatre!
We all have theatre stories! Why not share yours here! Tell us about a great, or terrible show you saw? Did you have an incredible, or not so incredible meeting with an actor? Mabye you need to vent about the person in front of you eating a hamburger? Perhaps just getting to the show was an adventure! Put it here! If you'd like to share an experience with us, just email it to me and I'll publish on the blog! I look forward to reading your words!