From here to Broadway
Each Wednesday morning, the “Steel Magnolias” and I meet at the Through A Child’s Eyes Studio in Weed Heights for a dance class. They love the music I play, and use dancing to stay in good physical condition. The big news is, however, we are doing a show tomorrow. A rehearsal is called for 2 p.m. today. Performing is not something we do very often, so this rehearsal is absolutely necessary. The counts in Doris Day’s song, “A Guy, is a Guy,” are very tricky. If you get lost, you’re doomed.
Maria arrives first. Her car alarm goes berserk, and can be heard in Wabuska. She disappears. By 2:30, all six dancers arrive. We only have the use of the stage for a half hour.
“OK, we all stand right here, and as soon as the front curtain opens, I walk onstage with a chair, dust it off, and sit down. Then you immediately march out, in single file, hands clasp in front of you, looking very proper. That’s when Karen, the sound person, cues our music. For now, I’ll use my boom box,” I announce sternly. It’s better for me to be tough now, than risk indecision tomorrow. The flaw in my plan is that two of the ladies rehearsing today, won’t be here tomorrow. Blocking the number is very important, however.
It’s the next day, and it’s almost show time. The Yerington Middle School Gym is jammed, for the once a year event. The “Through a Child’s Eyes” recital is about to begin. You can feel the electricity in the auditorium. We quietly sneak in a short rehearsal on stage, behind the front curtain.
The show begins. We wait patiently to be told when to go on stage. We’re third in the program. “Lets do the crossover once more,” I say. “Ron, it’s going to be OK, just relax,” Chris says. I sit down.
“You’re up next,” Kristine, the stage manager says. We creep quietly on stage. The front curtain opens. I walk on stage, set my chair in place, dust it off, and sit down. The “Steel Magnolias” march on, and line up behind me. The music starts.
Catastrophe strikes! The first four counts of music are missing. Eyes glaze over, chaos ensues. Our routine has gone amok. The situation can only get worse.
I spring from my chair, race to the front of the stage and shout, “Karen we’re missing the first four counts! (long pause) “You’re absolutely right, Ron, why don’t you go offstage, and come on again?” “We couldn’t possibly. We’re much too worn out,” I answer (in jest), and sit down. The ladies regain their composure.
This time the number is flawless. The ladies strut around me, one at a time, acting wickedly funny. Spontaneously, I jump from my chair and improvise some snappy moves. The audience loves it. At the end, the ladies cluster around me, and the audience erupts into thunderous applause.
Think about it; Today Yerington, tomorrow Broadway! Hey, why not? It’s never too late.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.