Saturday, April 17, 2010

Show #19 "Flower Drum Song" at Tacoma Musical Playhouse

"52 Shows in 52 Weeks" is my on-line diary of support for live theatre in the Seattle/Tacoma region. And for this occasional actor, what better way to show that support than to participate in one of the shows myself?

Last evening, the Tacoma Musical Playhouse was filled to capacity for the opening of the rarely-produced Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, "Flower Drum Song." Asian-American playwright David Henry Hwang has lovingly updated this story while incorporating almost all the beautiful songs from the original show.

Judging from the reaction from the gushing members of TMP's audience, I guess we were a hit.

Or should I say, "they" were a hit (meaning the FDS cast and crew)? I won't exactly include myself in this equation...not yet. You see, I spent most of the show backstage carefully watching the actress playing the role of Madame Rita Liang. Oh yes, I made an occasional appearance in a crowd scene, and even got in a few spoken lines during a moment taking place in a fortune cookie factory.

But, the rest of the time, I was studying. Why?

I must study Madame Liang. On closing weekend of this show, I will be replacing the actress in that role.

Am I ready? Can I do it? You bet. I must admit, I am a bit nervous about singing those solos, but as an actor, I am more than ready to put on that character and make those scenes come alive.

But, in the meantime, I will remain in the background, watching (yes, watching, so this show DOES count toward my 52) and studying.

Madame Liang has a line in act 2 when she is reminiscing about her days in Hollywood. "They called me the Queen of the Oriental Crowd Scenes!" she exclaims. For weeks 1-3 of this show, that's me.

But on Saturday and Sunday of week 4, watch out. I get to try Rita Liang on for size. So far, I haven't even had a single rehearsal to run through this part. But I'm ready. And from what I can see, Rita Liang and I will fit together nicely.

And it won't even take a hundred million miracles to do that...just preparation and hard work. That's what's happening everyday.

Graphics courtesy of Jessilyn Carver

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