Hello, and welcome to my first “theater insider’s blog” for Grosse Pointe Patch. My friend, Cyndy Nehr (a regular here at Grosse Pointe Patch), asked me if I’d be interested in writing a backstage look at what really happens behind the scenes of a Grosse Pointe Theatre production.
Since I was keeping a journal already, I said, “Sure!”
So, some quick introductions, I’m a life-long GP’er. – born and raised. I’ve done theater all my life; either theater or sports takes up my time. Oh, and also being a husband and a father. Yeah, I should mention that . . .
But enough of the bio. Why am I writing now?
I’m playing the lead, Harold Hill, in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s current production of The Music Man, so this gives me a unique perspective to share with you some of the things going on behind the scenes.
For example, we spend two and a half months of rehearsals getting our show to where Don Bischoff, our director, wants it. Everything was cruising along fine until the opening performance, when three members of the cast come down with fevers and nasty colds. One of the afflicted: my leading lady, Jennifer Jones, who plays Marian (the Librarian).
But Jen is a professional and was able to sing through it, causing our assistant stage manager to comment, “I hate her! Even when she’s sick she sounds great!”
At intermission, my wife – also a theater lifer – came running back stage saying, “You can’t kiss her!” (Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen The Music Man before, or if you don’t realize that most musical-comedies have happy endings, then skip the next part.) But being a fool, and thinking you can’t skip the emotional high-point of the show, I kissed her. There was no way I could have Harold Hill lean in to Marian, look her passionately in the eyes and then suddenly reach down and shake her hand . . . no matter how lovingly. I just couldn’t justify it.
So, I took the risk and luckily, with about $40 worth of herbal remedies, I’ve staved off the cold. Quick, where’s some wood to knock on?
Will my good health continue to be the case? Well, be sure to come to the next performance and see if I kiss her or romantically shake her hand!
-- Tim (Harold)