In three weeks, we’ll be presenting Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together at The Earlville Opera House. The dreams have started – where I’m onstage without a clue what to sing, the lights aren’t ready, and I’m in pajamas. (I hate pajamas, so that’s worse than being naked onstage.) Right on schedule.
22 years ago, I was in the booth at The Stanley Theater (Utica, NY). I was going to run followspot for a show that evening, but everyone was on dinner break. I’d just broken the cellophane on the cast recording of the 1993 Manhattan Theatre Club production of Putting It Together, starring Julie Andrews in her triumphant return to the New York stage after 30 years away. The entire run of the show had been sold out, but I’d heard the recording was incredible. I put on my headphones, pressed PLAY, and turned on my light. I pretended to follow the show as I listened. I may have thought, “Wouldn’t this be fun to produce?”
21 years later, I was directing a show called I Love You Because. One of the parts was played by a dynamite singer and dancer named Kat, who hadn’t even been born when I first heard the Sondheim piece. Another part was was played by Janet, whom I’d met when we both auditioned for and were rejected by another show. I definitely thought, “I need to find another musical for these women.”
Last summer, I directed Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic The Mikado at Earlville Opera House. When they hired me, they said the job didn’t pay; I suggested they might give me a weekend the following summer. They did.
Which brings us up to date. I’d planned to direct. The cast is five performers who sing the entire show. I figured, “How hard could it be to find three men to round out this cast?” As it turned out, pretty difficult. I was lucky when Jack and Nick, both seasoned performers, agreed to participate. But I didn’t have a third man. I did, however, have a friend who’d directed operas, and who wanted to work with me. And so Pat became the director and I rounded out the cast. Christine agreed to be our music director, and Mary agreed to be the orchestra. Susan, Sarah and Deb signed on as crew. Patti took over publicity because, well, it’s not my gift.
This is a great crew, they love theater, and they’re putting on a show for you over just one weekend, July 24-26. I hope you’ll join us.