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Monday, July 11, 2011

Now Ulla Dance... or Maybe Not...

Nothing can sooth one through a melancholy few days like visits from friends; Diane down from Washington State for a bit, and Lynda, another dear, local buddy who joined me at my house for a lovely chat over dinner Saturday afternoon. The only thing that even comes close enough to think about challenging comradely, is of course, a nice evening at the theater. Last night I ushered at the Sacramento Music Circus for the first play of the season, The Producers.

I've seen The Producers as the original non-musical movie & I've seen the musical movie & play previously, so I expected no surprises - Silly me! Last night was no production, it was a ticketed dress rehearsal, only the company's 8th rehearsal. It could have been subtitled, Anything Goes!, because the audience was warned the director could stop the production if any problems cropped up.

So, at one point, the director, shouted out for the action to stop. I figured the halt had something to do with the character Roger De Brie, an actor in drag, who looked like he'd been trying to hold up his silver lame clad bum - literally - for the entire scene. Turned out it was his microphone pack that was dragging, not his glittery rear end.

When De Brie left the stage for repairs, the actors playing Bialy and Bloom stood on stage, nothing to do - other than keep the audience in stitches with their off the cuff humor; awesome! For example, one of the stage's misbehaving microphones suddenly cracked like a cannon, Bialy feigned being shot in the chest, shouting, "I didn't know there was a critic in the house!"
Now Ulla Dance or maybe not!
The ad libbing made the dead time hilarious for all, the actors even cracking themselves up. But wait, there was more! When the Swedish bombshell 'Ulla' was doing her 'stoof", dancing, a leap onto a table top lead to her falling, sprawled on the floor, to everyone's shock. But she gamely got up, and finished dancing her scene. But later the director announced he wanted the actress to stay in a wheelchair for the remainder of the performance. So on stage rolled Ulla, pushed by a squatting assistant. ACTION!

'We're alone now', hesitantly announced Bloom to Ulla and her squatting assistant, to audience howls. Bloom and Ulla managed to dance (uh... wheel?) through their routine and I laughed at their improvisations until I very nearly did myself an injury. Talk about 'the show must go on'.
Die Storm Troopers tanz dance to Spring Time for Hitler
Later on, Ulla made her entrances, out of costume and with a huge pair of crutches - now that's a trooper! I think she was more bruised than anything and should be fine by showtime on Tuesday night - or so everyone hopes. A couple of more stops to the play lead to the director actually calling a halt to dismiss all of the live musicians, save for the piano, because of union rules. The final blow, and face it, the audience was getting a little sluggish, the director called off the dress rehearsal but we only missed maybe five minutes of the final number. Bravo! Valiant dress rehearsal if I ever saw one, and truth be told, that was my first ever.

Here's to hoping I get a chance to help out at one or more of the remaining Music Circus shows for the 2011 season. I was happy to sign myself up last night for an August performance of Defending the Caveman at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Hurrah!

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