I just got home from our last cast party. What a wonderful run! Back on March 21, I predicted in this blog that this show would be a really hard one to walk away from. And it really is. But the show is over and it seems to me that a show based largely on a famous movie ought to have credits, right?
There are some serious unsung heroes behind the crazy, improbable success of New Line's Return to the Forbidden Planet.
First, there's Vicki and Ann, the box office and house managers, respectively. They're the ones who have to put up with the mean patrons when we sell out. Believe me, people can be total pricks when a show is sold out. Tonight, this one woman was complaining that we were sold out at 7:55. She kept whining that she had called earlier and "they" (in other words, I) said there were still tickets available. Well, we explained, there were, at 7:00, but not at 7:55. She was a real bitch. Ann and Vicki also had to field the complaints when the AC was out for a show and a half. These ladies are the ones on the front lines, and I'm sure glad they're between me and lots of problems.
Then there's Trish. She's usually our stage manager and lighting tech, but because of a new job, she couldn't work on this show. (She'll be back for Spelling Bee.) We sure did miss her. I got so used to having her there to take care of things! She kept her finger in the pie a little by doing props this time. Although there were only four props. But shit y'all, did you see that awesome giant space wrench???
I have to mention my friend Pat Edmonds, the mad genius. She makes a living creating craftsy stuff for arts and crafts fairs. But because she has to serve her client base, most of what she makes is Very Cute. So she loves it when I call her and ask for a bat baby and a life-size severed cow head (for Bat Boy), a raven puppet (for Robber Bridegroom), an American flag with a giant pot leaf on it (for Johnny Appleweed), and this time, two six-foot long tentacles belonging to the Id Monster.
"What does an Id Monster look like?" she asked. "How should I know?" I replied.
And there's Melissa who ran lights and Robert who designed and ran the sound. They were on the J-O-B every night. We literally could not have done this show without them. Robert's only a senior in high school, but he really is a total pro.
And then of course our brilliant, funny designers. Betsy and Thommy did an amazing job with the costumes. So clever, so original, so funny. They totally meshed with the cartoon world of this show. It's rare that costumes are actually funny, but these sure were. I think my favorite details were the CDs on Miranda's Act II dress, and the whole Ariel the Robot costume -- a laundry basket, giant combs, desk trays, and SLINKYs!
Hans likewise created the funniest lighting design I think I've ever seen. You don't expect lighting to be funny, but this really was, and it added so much to the style and energy of the show. Bravo, dude! Peter Sargent told me you were really good, and you really are.
And Dave and Jeff, who created the wonderful playground of a set. I've never seen actors have so much fun using a set. They just loved it. Again, exactly right in tone and style. And really, really funny. Some nights, people in the audience actually had their pictures taken on the set after the show. It was decked out with pill bottles, phone handsets, smoke alarms, telephone routers, a video game joystick, all manner of silly but perfect crap that always made me think of the salt and pepper shakers Dr. McCoy used as medical instruments on the original Star Trek. Home run, boys.
And last, the real magic in this show, The New Line Band -- Petersen on piano, Renard on guitar, Strathman on reeds, Dave on bass, and Schurk on drums. They've played so many shows together, they have become an incredibly tight band. And for this show, one new bandie, Patrick, who did a terrific job on rhythm guitar. Thanks for the referral, Tawaine.
Thanks to everyone who brought this fucked up gem to life. What a joyful, wonderful experience it has been. I can't imagine a cast and staff more perfectly suited for their roles and for this show. I'll gush about the playful, fearless cast later when I'm less tired and stoned.
Live Long and Prospero!