Give My Regards to Broadway
Well, the holidays are over. It is said that now, we will
suffer the ďpost-holiday blues.Ē
Iím not blue; are you?
If anything, I am exhausted. I look forward to dull,
dreary January. I look forward to snowy, or icy, days when one simply must
not leave the house. My social calendar is completely clear for January.
How, you might wonder, can a single woman with one living
relative possibly be exhausted? Well, hereís a brief recap of my holiday
This year (or was it last?), it began in September. We
have a theater troupe here in Bath, the Mountain Valley Players. We put on a
show in mid-April, and another in mid-November. We held auditions for our
fall show Aug. 31, and began rehearsing right after Labor Day. We rehearse
every Sunday, until the week before the show. Then, weíre at it every night
until the curtain opens Friday.
I sing in every show. I sing what I love, Broadway show
tunes. I have discovered how to channel Ethel Merman, Kate Smith, Peggy Lee
ó anyone with a not-too-near soprano voice who can belt out a tune. I make
up for in volume what I cannot achieve in the high ranges of the scale.
Putting on a production is intense, nerve-wracking work.
For months, you mutter to yourself that you canít wait till this cursed show
is over. Until the curtain closes on opening night. Then, by golly, the most
fabulously wonderful and warm feeling overcomes you and youíre ready to do
it again. And again.
This past holiday season, it was a good thing I felt that
way. I also joined the Alleghany Highlands Chorale. Singing in a chorale is,
I quickly learned, a whole ínother ball game. These folks are trained and
talented, and they instantly recognize a quarter- from an eighth-note. I
like to find my own tempo. And key. I also learned that thereís no place in
a chorale for a Broadway belter. If you canít hear the singer in front of
and behind and next to you, youíre singing too loudly. Oops.
While rehearsing for the stage show, I was also rehearsing
for the chorale concert. Thatís a lot of singing, day in and day out. I am
an innate singer and hummer ó itís fortunate that I live alone, or Iíd
surely drive some poor fellow bonkers with the belting and humming and
snatches of tunes night and day.
Speaking of ďNight and Day,Ē thatís a favorite song I did
for a show at The Homestead in the few days between the play and the chorale
concert. What was I thinking, I kept wondering to myself. I guess Iím just a
girl who canít say no. Oops. Another song to hum all afternoon.
Some enchanted evening, when I get the blues in the night,
I whistle a happy tune and, suddenly, everythingís coming up roses. Oops.
I muttered to myself after the show and the hotel gig and
the chorale that I did not care if I ever again wore red lipstick and nail
polish, stockings, high heels, or a fancy gown.
Who am I kidding? Ever since I learned to tie my shoes, I
longed for high heels. I loved evening gowns, and couldnít wait to wear
them. I lived for the chance to dress up. Across from my desk are two photos
my mother took when I was four years old. In the first, I am wearing what
looks like a black velvet evening gown and pearls. I am ecstatic. In the
second, rear view, one can see nothing but my underpants and sturdy brown
oxfords. Even then, I was all about the show.
Many children have imaginary friends. I spent my childhood
in front of an imaginary audience. Instead of going out to play, Iíd go down
to the basement. There, I had a big box full of glittery, glamorous
costumes. They were cast-offs from my cousin, who was lucky enough to live
in a town where she could take tap-dancing lessons. Oh, how I yearned to tap
Instead, Iíd put on shows and make up my own tap dances.
And Iíd belt out tunes as loudly as a little girl can.
That little girl couldnít decide if she wanted to be a
reporter or an entertainer when she grew up. Funny how fate has a way of
deciding things for you. Que sera, sera. Oops.