Tell us about something you have done on a stage

Have we not all known the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd at some point in our lives? The show must go on, so I will let you entertain me.

When I was in second or third grade, I played the role of Mopsy in our school production of Peter Rabbit, and sang a solo. I’m pretty sure it was precious. I remember I hopped out of one of my bunny feet, and couldn’t get it back until I crossed the stage later in the show and hopped back in.

When I was eleven, I was in our state’s pre-teen pageant. Being fairly talent-free as far as anything an audience might expect a pageant girl to do, I opted to read a poem that I wrote myself. It was called, “The Rich Man’s Death” (cringe factor nine). I didn’t win

In the seventh grade play, I had the part of detective Pierre Duvall. I don’t remember much about the role, but it had me exclaiming a lot. “Mon Dieu!” “Sacré bleu!”

That was merely a setup for my starring roles later on, such as the time I was on stage in front of an auditorium full of medical students, for an hour-long lecture on the pathology of the penis.*

*I drew the short end of the stick when it came to handing out departmental lecture assignments, There were some cool Kodachrome slides, though.

That was deliberate, wasn’t it?

In 8th grade I was Sir Roderick Ruddigore in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore.

“When the night wind howls…”

I got to play the spoiled brat lead in “Ladies First” (a skit based on a poem by Shel Silverstein. The older amongst us will remember it from “Free to be You and Me”)at a Girl Scout jamboree. Boy did I ham it up.

I went onstage at a hypnotist / comedy show and did a “strip tease”, complete with letting audience members in the first row put dollar bills (napkins) in my “g-string”. Boy did I ham it up.

When i was ~12 or 13, when i was at an all boys school, i played a sister or a cousin or an aunt in HMS Pinafore. Fortunately i was learning the violin and was in the orchestra for subsequent
productions.

When I was a sophomore in high school, the spring musical was to be Oliver! I loved the show and I knew all the music by heart. I also knew I’d never get to be Nancy, but I decided to audition for Bett. And I stunk - I knew I was awful as I was trying out and I credit the drama teacher/director for not cringing to my face. I never even bothered to check the cast list after - I knew. And I never auditioned for anything ever again.

But, for our Senior Follies, I played my accordion! It was 1972 and All In the Family was huge, and someone (several someones?) wrote a play that centered around all the characters. Two of our teachers played Archie and Edith, and students did the rest. At some point, Archie was talking about how tough it was during the depression and the scene shifted to a soup kitchen. At that point, the “Salvation Army Band”, with me and my accordion, marched down the aisle from the back of the auditorium to the stage, singing Bringing in the Sheaves. It was especially hilarious (and difficult) because one of the girls deliberately did a horrible harmony on the chorus - we barely got thru without collapsing in laughter.

Once on stage, there was some dialog, then the band sang a song about waiting in line for soup, to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, which I played.

I’m spending my nights in a flop house
I’m spending my days on the streets
I’m looking for work and I find none
I wish I had something to eat
Sooooup, soooooup
They give me a bowl of soup, of soup
Sooooup, soooooup
They give me a bowl of soup.

And I can’t believe I still remember that almost 50 years later, but I can’t remember why I walked into the kitchen…

I was a poker player in a 6th grade play who was supposed to be shot and fall to the floor, and be dragged offstage. The nervous lead actor skipped a whole section of lines and then shot me; I gaped at him in complete surprise, and then did a slow roll to the floor, which got a huge laugh. So, not on purpose, but my one moment in the sun.

[I’ve given a lot of talks/presentations from stages, but meh, not counting those]

When I was around 10, I was in a school patriotic pageant that probably was part of the general Bicentennial celebrations in 1976. My part was to go up on stage, complete with tri-cornered hat and pants that ended at the knee with stockings that my mom fashioned for me, and recite from memory the poem Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

If you’re not familiar with the poem, check it out at the link above-- it is one long-ass poem, and I managed to memorize the whole thing and recite it flawlessly (though probably said in a monotone, no-sense-of-pacing little kid voice. Fortunately no recording survives).

I was so proud of myself I used to give unrequested encores to family at holidays. Once even on the bus in a summer day camp program I asked and got permission to recite it to everybody. God, the other kids must have thought I was a pompous ass.

Today I can recite only the first two stanzas from memory.

My first elementary school had a big annual “circus” event where all the students were given a role, like clown or an animal or some other performer, and we got costumes and performed in the all-purpose room for everyone’s parents. I was in kindergarten and they made me the lion tamer. This is my only memory of that school.

I think I’ve only been on a stage twice in my life. The first time was when I was 5. It was at the high school my aunt went to. Her home-ec sewing class had a style show. She made her entire outfit and one for me. So I was in the style show with her. I still have the outfit she made me 55 years ago!

The second was when I went up to receive my high school diploma.

I’m not one for doing anything in front of a crowd.

Did some school-based am-dram, culminating in a tolerable performance as Mr Bumble in Oliver!. I even fell down a flight off steps on stage surprisingly funnily (on purpose).

Decided acting was not for me and stuck to music. Have done pretty well at that, though. Including an appearance in this.

I was one of the deck electricians, putting moving lights in place and then striking them for various acts/sequences for the Empty Vee Video Music Awards at the Palms Casino back in 2007.

In the 4th grade, I played the role of “Porter” in Macbeth. After these many long years, I shall now once again reprise my role.

Ahem

“We were out carousing until very late.”

Thank you and join me in 2033 for my 50 year anniversary show. I also played Rosencrantz in a 5th grade production of Hamlet but you’ll all have to wait on that one.

I really can’t tell about many of the things I’ve done on stage and still guarantee my anonymity here, but I can say that in high school I played the rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof. A memorable moment from the experience was when there was a wedding scene and two processions were supposed to descend down the aisles past the audience; one for the bride and one for the groom. The bride descended as planned…the groom, however, had not and there we were at the altar waiting. An eternity passed - must have been nearly 20-30 seconds - and I made a decision that I would start ad libbing and devised a plan shooting entirely from the hip that I would explain how two separate ceremonies would be held, one for the bride and one for the groom. I had gotten about two seconds into my impromptu exposition, when lo and behold the groom FINALLY started down the aisle! Fortunately, I had not actually gotten far enough into the explanation where I’d committed to the ‘separate ceremony’ parts and instead opted to ham-handedly segue back into the regular dialogue…never was I so relieved.

I was an attention whore all through school – did too many plays, concerts, talent shows, what have you to count. Started playing music around town when I got out of high school. I got hired to play at a Boy Scout camporee. By showtime, it was dark and they led me to this trailer with a fold out stage with lots of very bright lights; I couldn’t see into the audience at all. I finished the first song and this ROAR of applause went up. I found out later I was playing to about 9,000 Scouts and -masters! “Holy $#!t” is right!

Not on stage, but I was on screen with Ray McKinnon in Reprisal, who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon. Two degrees, baby!

I started thinking about it, and I’ve been “on the stage” a lot in my life. Heh, exciting things like the quarterly recital my accordion teacher had for all his students at the Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club (still love that building). I had the lead in the play my Girl Scout troop did for a Parks & Recreation activity. Each small park in Culver City did a play. We won the best acting award!

I danced with the Lariats at the Veteran’s Auditorium (where they filmed the reunion in Grosse Point Blank).

I did a couple of speech competitions – got second place with my Cremation of Sam McGee.

My G.S. troop also did a fashion show, but that only required not tripping over my own two feet.

Oh, and my accordion teach also picked a number of us for a competition at the Long Beach Pike. We also got second place there (one kid was late on a switch change) for playing Going Home. We did an exhibition for the same group in Santa Barbara for the Las Floristas (or something like that) Fiesta. Best part of that is we got a ride on a yacht afterward – very, very cool.

I’ve been on various stages throughout my life.

One of the earliest was a Sunday school Hanukkah musical about the ingredients in a latke. I was Mr. Potato, and sang a love song to Miss Egg Yoke, based on Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Tit-Willow”.

After that, I played violin in many productions and concerts, culminating in my senior solo. I even played on TV a couple of times.

I won an oratorical contest in high school, and also played the male lead in “Ramona”.

More recently, I’ve been in our local Gay Men’s Chorus. I haven’t sung any solos, but I’ve been in many dance numbers.

Gotten out of town?

(someone had to say it.)