Swing Your Razor High

April 27, 2009

Yesterday Herbie and I, our friend Abner and his new lady friend Daisy went to see “Sweeney Todd” at Theater Works in Peoria.  Yes, the one I unsuccessfully auditioned for in January.  But I can say, without bitterness, that the production was terribly creepy, which is a compliment for this particular show!

My old friend Fred played the foppishly evil Beadle, and a host of other spectacularly-voiced actors did great justice to Sondheim’s challenging score.  Standouts included Tracy Payne as Mrs. Lovett (a role made famous by Angela Lansbury), Ken Goodenberger as devil-incarnate Judge Turpin, and whichever female ensemble player was flawlessly hitting those impossibly high notes.  The lighting hit the perfect mood of a London filled with despair and dark alleys, and the two-tiered set design made the action flow easily, although there were times I was worried that little Chelsea Groen as Johanna was going to fall off her shaky second-story bedroom set, which would have given poor vengeance-filled Sweeney a whole new set of problems.  I thought Sweeney himself could have used a little more intensity, but he sounded great and looked like someone I’d run away from screaming if I encountered him on a dark London street.

After the show, our foursome went for post-theatre drinks at Corbin’s.  We sat on the patio and starting chowing down on artichoke dip, when Abner realized that his neighbors were sitting at the table next to us.  He went over to say hello, and as we eavesdropped, it became clear who was dining with the neighbors:  Mr. B, the artistic director of Phoenix Theatre, one of the big-time professional theaters in town.  Abner didn’t know him personally, so he couldn’t quite call me over, but he did point me out and mention that I was in “Kiss Me Kate” recently.  I waved and grinned, and then fidgeted in my seat for the rest of dinner, wondering if I should go over and chat him up.  Because, when you’re a sort-of aspiring actress and the Big Cheese of a local theater sits down 25 feet away, shouldn’t you DO SOMETHING?

But I didn’t.  Even Herbie seemed ambivalent, and what would I have said?  No idea.  But I was left with the nagging feeling that I missed an opportunity.  Maybe the problem is that I don’t really know if I am an aspiring actress.  I don’t know what comes next, or what I really want, so I certainly don’t know how to shmooze Mr. B.

Maybe I should just console myself knowing that he enjoyed his martini without being hassled by yet another annoying actress who really needs her roots retouched.

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