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      One of the huge perks of community theatre is the vast number of people with whom one can rub elbows. A musical offers a grand opportunity since there are usually so many in the cast. Everyone was a joy.

      A few folks were new to me; they may have been in an HG show before but not one that I directed. Nikki York was one. She played Gooch, and her performance was as funny as the sound of the character's name. I had seen Nikki in a few short plays in the HG Women's Project and I was delighted when I saw her walk in for auditions.  When I asked her to read Mame's line she sounded like a confident Mame. Then she read for Vera and she had a completely different voice of the fading actress. I thought, wow, this woman has a good idea of character and is not afraid to explore.

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      My good intention was to write a blog throughout the process of producing MAME. So much for good intentions. Once the process begins I always seem to let just about everything else slide. I remember years ago a woman who was in a number of plays announced that bills simply do not get paid when she was participating in a production. They do have a tendency to demand attention.

      So, we have completed our run of the musical; and it has been a glorious adventure. I don't like having to transport paint and set pieces and lumber and costumes over to Straughn, but in the end it's all worth it. Much of the wonder and wonderfulness of a production is how well the cast interacts and functions, and this cast was luminescent. Really. It was a large cast and not a diva among them. If there were complaints or gripes I never heard them. Everyone seemed to help and respect the other members of the cast and crew. This dynamic goes a long way to making a production delightful.

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      What the heck is the Shaw Festival? I'm writing this on the bus on the way back from the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. There are so many elements of this trip that are on the 'pro” side of the ledger.

      Let's see. As I said, I'm writing this on the bus. BIG pro here: I don't have to drive! We take a coach from Benedict's Bus Service. I just have to get myself to Benedicts in the morning and then I can sleep, read, talk, blog on my new lap-top, listen to music. I don't have to worry about parking or keep my eyes on the road. Big pro.

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      I've been diagnosed with Lyme disease. It's been a fairly long time in coming—the diagnosis—but not nearly as long as others that I know of who have waited for years trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with them. So I guess I'm lucky.

      As I walked to the Infectious Disease department of the Strong Memorial Hospital, I had to pass a number of other departments. The waiting rooms/reception areas were bright and open and sun-lit. The people behind the counters were all helpful and communicative. But the people sitting in the waiting area  arrested my attention.. A look of despair, of sadness, of weariness. A look devoid of hope.

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      We're offering a chance to hear 50 young people doing something creative, constructive, positive. Today at 2:30 at Steadman Theatre the four HG Children and Youth Choirs will sing a whole host of songs, the result of 9 months of focused often exhilarating work. Each of the song titles contains a person's name.

      The noteworthy persons in these titles range from folk characters like Old Dan Tucker and Old MacDonald, to Biblical characters like Moses and Daniel, to whimsical persons whom we know nothing about except in their song—people like Joan and Johnny and Tom.

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