Tonight was the first musical of the Davis Musical Theater Company for which I hold a season's ticket. My musical play buddy Cornetta also has a season's ticket and tonight, spot on schedule, I headed to her home in Sacramento to pick her up. I've dropped her off at home a couple of times after our ushering duties, for example when we saw the Music Circus production of Aida in July.
Our drives are nothing if not NOISY. Post-musicals as we barrel down the freeway, we can't help but sing our very-nearly-musical hearts ♥ out. So I've been by Cornetta's place a couple of times. Anyway, tonight I was spot on time, driving along Highway 99 and I suddenly realized I had no clue which freeway exit would lead me to 42nd, 43rd, 44th or whatever-the-hell street she lives on; no clue whatsoever.
Oh... a half dozen exits later, I realized I had NO clue where the ef I was. I got on the cell phone to Cornetta. No answer. I was supposed to by then have been on the street by her house honking my Honda horn, pissing of Cornetta's neighbors. No dice. A few more freeway exits - still, no dice. Finally I parked on some unknown street and called, and called and called - no answer. Had no clue if I was even calling the correct phone number.
I was in full self-pity mode. Why had I not made note of the directions to Cornetta's? I keep a little paper pad in my car that I jot location directions and even the hours kept by my favorite shops and such. Why the ef hadn't I made note of Cornetta's?
Now it was so late that even if I found her house we would not make the play. 'What an idiot I am', thought I was overwhelmed with self-incrimination. 'Now Cornetta will think I'm some sort of flake! And why-the-ef doesn't she call to find out why I'm not honking outside her front door?'
Awash with feelings of failure, I slowing aimed the Honda homeward. I was not going to the play by myself - I didn't deserve to see it after screwing up my promise to pick Cornetta up.
'Ring!' Cell phone - actually it plays Hedwig's Theme.
Turns out Cornetta was yaking on the phone with a buddy all the while patiently wondering where the ef Claire had got to. With directions I was over to Cornetta's spit-spot and we raced off to Davis. I realized all the driving around had nearly emptied my gas tank so I had to stop for a re-fill. By now we would be lucky to get in the first act and I could not stop appologizing. Cornetta, bless her heart, was totally ok with all this and forgave me over and over as I whinged and whined.
Ok, guess what? We got to the theater just as the play, West Side Story, began. We hadn't missed a beat. It was a true miracle of the sort that normally requires honking great hosts of angels fluttering around, molting feathers and blowing celestial horns.
And how was the play? Excellent! Herein lay the second miracle of the evening. The guy who played Tony sang 'Something's Coming' - it was so-so at best. Cornetta and I both felt like it was going to be a long evening. It was only after Maria lifted an angelic voice trilling to the heavens, to be joined by Tony's lower tones that Tony's voice shifted somehow. It was as if Maria's voice picked up Tony's voice, dusted it, dressed it up and polished it off. Is that clear? It was like their voices/ their souls - to use the overused expression - completed each other.
Honestly, your jaw would have dropped at the difference in Tony's voice!
Add to the above that Tony could dance! There were a few dance scenes to the musical and most of the cast's hoofing was only so-so. The Davis productions are only cast the plays a short while before opening - two months tops. But the guy who played Tony had it down - he danced with skill and from his heart. Cornetta and I were highly impressed, moved even, by the sight of Tony & Maria swaying to a brush of soft notes.
Suffice to say, we enjoyed the play immensely and both of us were choked up by the ending scene where Tony bites the big one and Maria knees over his body. Richard and Natalie could not have done it any better.