Here’s a slice of life for you this Tuesday, October 4, 2016 (well, maybe it’s the whole loaf of bread):
Last week a nasty pinball of a cold ricocheted its way through Paramount’s Mamma Mia! cast causing a few of our super troupers to call in, heartsick, to miss their show. The company rallied around them one by one until their recovery (which mercifully was quick!), and the production didn’t miss a beat. Emergency rehearsals were called, and Stage Manager (Amber Johnson), Dance Captain (Aubrey Adams) and Conductor (Tom Vendafreddo) expertly adjusted staging, choreography and vocals leaving me starry-eyed in admiration how swift, ready and comprehensive everyone was on their game.
By Thursday evening one of our star players was hit, talented Kiersten Frumkin who is a knockout playing our beautiful “Sophie,” and it was up to her cover, Allyson Graves, to purpose all her hard work in understudy rehearsals and go on. It’s always kind of like a new opening night when an understudy goes on, and this part is huge. Well, there was that nervous energy, anticipation and electricity in the air again, and in the finest show business tradition, Ms. Graves was incandescent and confident and won over an audience who would never have guessed this was her first time out! That’s one of the greatest things this theatre life is all about. It’s not solely about how “the show must go on.” It’s about when there’s an unfortunate circumstance that could make for a difficult challenge there are individuals who are trained and gifted who can step up and make a difference with their heart in it. Not only did Allyson do herself proud, her work elevated and excited her fellow actors who were present for her in an extraordinary team effort. If the tables were turned, Kiersten would do the very same! It’s about a culture I like to think is particular to Chicago Theatre, how artists respect each other and support each other whether its needed or not, without a second thought; it just goes without sayin’. Out of bad things, good things can happen bringing out the best in everyone. We’re always ready to take care of each other. If only this was the way of the world…
God knows what bad times we are living through when one thinks of the gang violence, the daily shootings, hate speech and politics. There is something about the world of art and music that gives us a getaway, a respite, a needed tonic of joy and celebration. If ever there was a show that feels like a vacation for two hours, its Mamma Mia!. You’re on an idyllic Greek isle, full of beautiful, happy souls singing their hearts out to ABBA! We’re half way through the run as it closes Sunday, October 30. Take my advice, and be there. I’m still waking up almost every morning singing:
Waterloo-I was defeated you won the war.
Waterloo-promise to love you for evermore.
Waterloo-couldn’t escape if I wanted to.
Waterloo-knowing my fate is to be with you.
Waterloo-finally facing my Waterloo!
Not a bad thing; watching folks dancing up the aisles and out the theatre doors onto Galena Boulevard. Go see for yourself!
Love & thanks