While raising children, Denise Meagher, a returning area native, became a published freelance writer, voice over talent and enthusiastic community theatre participant. She loves reading, writing, traveling, time with friends and most of her family and empty-nesting with husband, Ted.
Thursday evening, March 11, 2010.
It's palpable. Nervous excitement permeates the theatre. In the green room and back stage where the actors and crew reside I know voices are warming up, props are being set, someone is likely experiencing a last minute wardrobe malfunction.
"Does anyone have a safety pin?!" Or, tape, hairspray, cough drop, Tylenol?
Some people are drinking something warm to soothe their throats; no, not that - maybe later. Some are stretching muscles, shushing, hugging, praying, going over dance steps and/or lines, fixing their wigs and makeup; perhaps setting the curtains, desperately painting a set piece, or, getting a last minute pep talk from the Director or Stage Manager.
The box office is humming. The light and sound people are busy, busy, busy. The audience is buzzing. I'm listening to it all - the wonderful sound and heartbeat of live theatre.
"Break a leg!" Places! Lights dim. The show is about to start; the brief moment when the audience collectively holds their breath. Bye, Bye Birdie begins.
It's, "One of the most enduring, best-loved musicals in the American Theatre canon," says Bryce Lord, Director. It's also an, "opportunity to showcase fresh young talent while taking us back to 'a simpler time' when Ed Sullivan ruled the airwaves, TV dinners were wrapped in tin foil and father knew best."
"However, Birdie isn't a story about simply recreating these memories. It's more about change than reliving the past. Children grow up. Our heroes turn out to be not so heroic after all. Times change."
This show is also laugh-out-loud funny. And while this wasn't Opening Night, it's perhaps even more important. It's the Preview.
Preview nights are made up of those 'saints' we call family and friends; the ones who support us during the crazy weeks and countless hours of the rehearsal process. They help us run our lines, listen to us sing that dang song again, run kids to the theatre and sit for hours, buy tickets for one or more performances, help us paint and build, bring us much appreciated and quickly consumed sustenance for the double duty days and so much more. By this particular evening, one that precedes every show, everyone who's involved is beyond exhausted; because the last week and a half of rehearsal - tech week, (Hell Week) on through opening night - is grueling to say the least.
On these Preview Nights it's our way of giving back to those same family and friends saying, "Thanks! We couldn't do this without you!" For me, this Preview was a little like a family reunion as I watched many I know and have worked with bring out their best and deliver it on a platter of fun.
If you need a break from the weather, the kids, grandkids, the in-laws, your spouse; whatever, come to WCT weekends through March 28, 2010.
As Cindy Liburdi, Board Director implores, "Let the magic of live theatre transport you. The music, the sets, the costumes, the actors, the singing and dancing, the hairdos and makeup and of course the audience, are all part of the magic."
Come; be a part of the magic that is live theatre and say, "Hello," to a good Bye! We couldn't do this without you!