Show Recap

I have recently been involved in a wonderful and frightening experience that is going to come to an end on Sunday. It started out when I auditioned for Don’t Dress for Dinner at Waukesha Civic Theatre on January 12th. I had thought it would be fun to do because I had performed a small scene from the show at the WCT Season Preview Party last June and it seemed like it was a really funny show. Things didn’t work out and I wasn’t cast but it wasn’t the end of the world. I knew that there would be other shows coming up. I was a little disappointed because the cast that had been put together was excellent. I knew most of them and would have enjoyed working with them.

As luck would have it, I received an email from the director on February 16th, informing me that one of the actors had left the show and asked if I would be willing to fill in for the part of Robert (the role I had played at the Preview). That was like asking me if I would be willing to breathe. The cast had only been rehearsing for a week so I wasn’t too far behind. It was only after I accepted the role that I realized what I had done. Robert is a principal role and he just happens to be on stage for almost the entire show. Prior to this experience, I played only character parts with very little time on stage and a nominal number of lines to learn. My family will confirm that I spent the next several weeks freaking out day and night. Kristi, A.J., and Erin did a fabulous job of supporting me through all the craziness. Although I’m sure there were times when they wanted to launch me out the window.

Now I’m not going to say everything was sunshine and roses all of the time during the rehearsals and the shows but I have to admit that this probably the best cast and crew that I have had the opportunity to work with. Although I don’t have nearly the same amount experience as the rest of them, they never treated me like anything but an equal. They were very supportive as I came up to speed.

Bernard is played by Mark Neufang. Oddly enough, Mark has been involved in all of my theatrical firsts. The first time I helped out on show, I was A.J.’s dresser in Lost In Yonkers. Mark played A.J.’s Uncle Louie in that show. When I finally got cast in my first show, Arsenic and Old Lace (I played Officer Klein), Mark was there playing Mortimer Brewster. And now Mark is involved in my first show as a principal character. Mark is great as Bernard. I can’t imagine bantering with anyone else on stage. I am afraid he is going to get me with those ice tongs one of these times.

Bernard’s wife, Jacqueline, is played by Donna Daniels. I have wanted to perform with Donna ever since I auditioned with her for Over the Tavern last year. A.J. did get that opportunity when she played his Mom in that show. Donna is a terrific actress and a good friend. Kristi saw the show on Saturday and told me that watching Donna’s facial expressions was one of the best parts of the show. I would agree. She is so connected to her character that it is fun to watch. I hope to be half that good some day.

Bernard’ mistress, Suzanne, is played by Ruth Arnell. Ruth and I had the opportunity to work together in The Importance of Being Earnest a couple of years ago. Ruth was Gwendolyn Fairfax and I was Lane, the butler. Of my fifteen lines in that show, eight of them were “Yes, sir!” Ruth’s portrayal of Suzanne is spot on. I’m so glad we have had a chance to work together again.

The cook, Suzette, is played by Chelsey Peterson. Chelsey is the one person in the cast that I had never met before. I have to say that her comedic timing is impeccable. If anyone deserves to be called the star of this show, it is her. From the moment she comes on stage, the audience falls in love with her. The physical things she and I do on stage are so funny that it makes me want to laugh.

Suzette’s husband, George, is played by Scott Fudali. I have always known Scott as a very talented lighting designer. Now I can see that he is also a talented actor. As George enters, the script says “George is big!” Scott makes the menacing husband completely believable. And I love it when he lifts me off the ground in a bear hug.

The show is directed by Mark E. Schuster. It was nice working with Mark because he didn’t micro-manage the process. He let the actors do their stuff and only tweaked things here and there. What is amazing is that the things he had me change always get a fantastic reaction from the audience. Things I didn’t realize would be funny are hilarious because of his suggestions. I am appreciative to him for giving me a chance on this show. It has been an amazing experience.

While I probably won’t be reduced to a blubbering mess on Sunday after the show closes, I have to admit that this show will definitely hold a special place in my theatre memories. I can’t imagine having a better time with a finer group of people. The nice thing about community theatre in this area is that it very likely that I will get a chance to work with many of them again… just not all at one time.

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6 Responses to “Show Recap”

  1. behnnie Says:

    Take note, WF: THIS is a review. Perhaps a bit biased… but a review nonetheless! ;D

    • Kurt Says:

      It was really meant to capture how much have enjoyed working on this show but I guess it is also a one-sided review of sorts too! Go figure.

  2. kristi Says:

    open auditions are announced for the role of husband and father! Beginning next Monday, we’ll be casting someone with a sense of humor, who can be present among us and join the fun that is our family; requires ability to help a genius 7th grader occasionally w/ math, watch a beautiful daughter dance, and occasionally repair something that gets broken around the house, in a timely manner….no reading from the script or singing is required.

    • Kurt Says:

      Do I need to provide a headshot? Or will flowers for the director work instead? I can’t wait to see if I get the part.

  3. Dramagoon Jr. Says:

    I must say, this was quite the show. You did a fantastic job, as did the rest of the cast. I thought it was hilarious, and I’m kinda sad I only got to see it once. Great job!

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