I am surprised our Miss Clementine didn’t come in here while I was busy catching up and getting the Rose & Thorn Newsletter done.
“Miz Kathryn! Miz Kathryn! I’m here, but not for no long. I’m writing my memer-ors.”
Memer-ors? Oh, wait, you mean memoirs?
“Yep. I been thinking on it since you brung up all kinder things I forget on purpose or not. I hope you’ll ederate them, too. Since I got lots a mountain talk I can’t he’p but carry on my tongue. I know you’ll not ederate it too much, though, right?”
Well, Miss Clementine, I’ll be happy to edit your memoirs, and you are right, I will fix much of the, um, dialect, but I’ll leave some in, too, so your voice will still be there, nice and strong and all Miss Clementine.
“Why, thanky, Miz Kathryn. Now I gots to get flapping my wangs…I’m onto the part where I’m running through the woods.”
Running through the woods? Why?
“Hehehe. Tha’s for you to fine out when you ederate my mem…memewars. Tootles.”
Tootles, Miss Clementine.
We had a good review in The Guide! And, what I want to do is put the mention on all the cast and crew. You see, sometimes when people do reviews, they will mention a few cast members they particularly loved or that “stood out.” Well, I agree with them—Ian Olson, Suzanne Tinsley, and Margaret Evans were standouts. However, here is what I think about the cast and crew, who are also standouts, who made Bat Boy the Musical shine…and I’m not taking away from the aforementioned three, I’m just adding to them! Now, of course, this will make this post quite long, but I don’t care. I’m mentioning every cast person and the crew. They all deserve high praise.
Ian Olsen IS Bat Boy. This young talent struck me as gifted from the first time I saw him onstage in “You Can’t Take it With You.” I’ve seen him quickly grow as an actor. His singing voice surprises me, as I’ve rarely heard him sing. I expect him to succeed. I sure hope his dreams come true. Don’t let anything get in your way, Ian. He’s off to New York to the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts and Television—I expect good things to happen. I’m proud of him.
Mary Katherine Smith plays a spot on pert, pretty Shelley Parker. She moved about the stage gracefully, not only as the dancer she is, but also, with the very air of a young woman with ideas and dreams and opinions; at first perky and cute, and then finally, as a poised beautiful young woman in love…disastrously and creepily maybe, but in love. She can sing, too, with a high-sweet voice that cajoles the audience to sighs.
Suzanne Tinsley plays Meredith Parker so well, I could smell the yeast rising for the homemade bread that was surely in the oven. She was Donna Reed, Lassie’s owner’s mother, too—she was all those mothers of the 50’s with aprons and stiff hair and oven mitts and hopes for her family. Suzanne’s voice was clear and beautiful and in the finale, she made me want to cry. But, I also loved it when she was plotting to leave Dr. Parker, and earlier, the “Let me fix you a drink…” there were other lines she delivered straight that must have been hard not to guffaw over.
Charles Mills’s Dr. Thomas Parker is chilling, yet sadly poignant, too. Charles knows what he is doing on stage, and he does it well. His facial expressions, his flashing eyes, his timing—all show his many gifts and talents as an actor. He plays a good drunk too – and that’s not easy, for often it is over done. There is a moment of revelation when Dr. Parker meets Clementine’s eye and admits “this is all me…” and in that moment, I am so into the scene, I forget it is not real and Dr. Parker isn’t the real Dr. Parker-there are many moments like that. Charles is good at what he does and it shows.
Strother Stingley plays Sheriff Reynolds with that air of desperation versus strength and common sense—caught between his motivations, the town’s chaos, and his heart; but he doesn’t over-play it one bit. And, Strother’s strong sure singing voice seems without effort—it rumbles up from his very core and he makes it seem easy, and for him maybe it is. He stands the solid rock in a town gone mad, and he plays the part with quiet conviction, even if he’s worried about election coming-he is human, after all! Many times I’d see Strother come off stage as if he was not happy with his performance, and I’d always say, “Dang, that was good,” because it always was, and always will be. Like others in the cast, he’s a natural.
Allison Stinson as Mrs. Taylor (she also plays a funny townsperson in curlers and two canes) is hilarious. She plays the welfare mother who smokes cigs while pregnant, grabs up her children in horrific displays of “affection,” and is determined to make a jacket and a necklace from Bat Boy parts. She’s delightful and fun and I love watching her work. She’s able to shape-shift, turning herself into different characters with a flick of her brain-wrist.
Josh Merrell gives us tough leather jacketed Rick Taylor (as well as The Institute Man at the very end of the play, and the two are so far from each other, it always makes me laugh). He has the difficult job of singing while maneuvering the huge cage with Bat Boy in it, and then angrily jumping up and off the platform with a knife jabbed to Bat Boy, again, while singing in angry tones – I don’t know how he did it. All that moving and jumping and anger and all while singing! Dang! He has my respect. He, too, was often hard on himself, but he needed have been…he’s believable as Rick and that’s what the audience is looking for…another young talent I am proud too watch.
Adrienne Mollette plays Ruthie Taylor and a townsperson (and young Meredith behind a screen where she “gives birth” to a Bat Baby and has to sing-scream “Killll iitttttt” for about three hours and all in tune-wow!, and later she bats away bats that attack her and makes it so real). Ruthie Taylor is bitten right off the bat (haw, so to speak), so she doesn’t get much on-stage time as Ruthie and too bad, since she plays the part so well. But I have to mention here Adrienne’s singing voice. My god—I stand right next to her on several occasions and I am blown away every time. Her voice is as clear as a mountain spring, sure and strong—it amazes me that much voice can come out of such a small person, such an unassuming person. It’s lovely, just lovely, just as she is. Many times she and I would only have to look at each other and we’d start laughing…ha.
Sean Bruce is just the right kind of jittery for Ron Taylor. Ron Taylor wants to get the Bat Boy! He wants to avenge something that happens (I can’t give it all away! We still have three shows!) But alas, ends up a crispy critter, and thus, Sean has to carry a concoction of goop in his mouth so that at the very right moment, he can spit out a bit so that it looks like smoke. How he does it without making a face at the nasty glopping there, I don’t know—well, I do know: talent! His energy in playing Ron Taylor is evident and I love watching him perform. He’s going to be an intern at Hart and I’m glad, he’ll do well.
Lorraine Conard is a Prim and Proper Lorraine. But, in real life, she’s nothing like her character, as the real Lorraine is personable and quick-witted and fun. Yet, when she puts on that gingham dress, with slip slowing, gloves and hat, her facial expression changes and there in front of me is this prissy piss pot, full of herself and all that she can do and will do and will accomplish for her little town. The real Lorraine has a singing gift as well…a unique strong beautiful voice, one that is pitch perfect and belies the twang she sports as townsperson Lorraine. Townsperson Lorraine pops over Clementine’s shoulder every so often and Clemmie wonders just where she came from…poof and there she is with that cute elfin face!
Kristen Pallotta is an exasperated, but Smart and well-groomed Mayor Maggie. With her Power Red ensemble, and Power Red lipstick, she weilds her gavel with intent. (Not to mention how strikingly pretty she looks ‘in real life’ in that red with that red lipstick and dark hair!) The townspeople aren’t always too bright, and aren’t always too keen on listening, yet, Mayor Maggie sets them straight, or at least tries to. But, what I always notice and love is the sardonic grin Kristen sports—not an obvious grin that distracts, but instead a grin her character would have, one that is all parts sarcasm, desperation, exasperation, and glee over her powerful position in town, for after all, she HAS gone to college! And, dang it if she can’t sing exceptionally well, too, with a clear beautiful voice. She’s the "straight (wo)man" for a bunch of "fools" at times and it’s cleverly done.
Tabitha Judy simpers in a perfect “dumb blond” as Daisy, the School Marm. I have to first mention Tabitha’s voice here, too, how strong and perfect and lovely it is. She has to sing solo during several key moments that call for Power, and you aren’t asked to do that if you can’t sing strong and well! And, I have to mention how so many of us followed Tabitha’s lead when it came to choreography. If we weren’t sure, then we asked her or just followed her lead. She somehow just “got it” from the beginning…dang! As Daisy, with her bouffant hairdo, she gives the townspeople that fawn in the dew look and tries to pretend she is as smart as the children she teaches. Tabitha is a school teacher in real life and quite smart, so the “Dumb Daisy” look is perfected through her acting.
Margaret Evans as the Reverend Hightower shines sun-bright (and she played the widder Dillon as Clementine’s friend and co-hort, too). She gives the audience just what they want and crave, not only with her amazing – an understatement – Power House Voice that can shake the rafters and send angels and gods and spirits home to roost just so they can hear it again, but, her depiction of the Reverend is funny and believable. She busts a move (haw!) on stage, and that move she does, haw haw! I have to try hard not to laugh. Her BBQ sauce entrance and exit is a classic. What a singing gift she has.
Jeff Ramsey, Tom Dewees, and Jack Webb play: Bud, Ned, and Roy respectively. I’m putting them together here because they all share one brain, well, at least their characters do. In real life, they are all three talented actors who hitched up my funny bone over and again – especially during Another Dead Cow. Jeff Ramsey and Jack Webb both had solo singing and both gave up some powerful notes there on stage-brava! As Bud, Jeff’s WVA twang was so hilarious; I had a hard time keeping a straight face when he’d belt out his lines, and he kept me laughing off stage too. Jack’s twang was no less funny, but I have to mention him here as the Doctor who “delivered” Meredith Parker’s “children” – he went from 1/3rd brained to smooth-talking country doctor without “batting”(heehee) an eye and his “smooth-talking” was a perfect foil as country doc. And, Tom as Ned—when he aimed that gun and steeled his eye on Bat Boy, well, I was there, I was in a small town, his posture, the look in his eye, all of it, spot on…he was not Tom, he was Ned through and through. YES! And when he says, “he’s killed my Gertie!” – I about lose it, but I have to keep a straight face at that moment…heehee.
Then there is my Clementine character and I’m glad I was privileged to be in this play with this fine cast and the crew: Clementine will stay with me a long time. She’s going to become stories…yes.
Anne Rhymer is a genius as our music director, and as Conductor/keyboard. She gathered us up like chicks and turned us into …Swans! Wait, swans can’t sing well, but you get the idea—she is quite good at what she does and we’re lucky to have her. She encouraged me more than once, bless her. And, she gave pep talks to the cast. Bravo, Anne!
Our fantastic orchestra: Kristen Dominquez on keyboard II, Tom Leiner Lead Guitar, Tom Chadoin Bass Guitar, Dave Bruce Drums (we had a guest drummer one night who came in and did very well, too, but I don’t know his/her name!).
Our costumer, the gifted Mary Olsen – ohhh, she deserves applause. We all looked so good – good meaning we all looked ridiculous, but that was good! She’s very very very good at what she does, and I don’t know how she keeps up with it all. Dang. (And not many know she’s an incredible writer, too – I know, because I’ve edited some of her essays.)
Sherry Gaddis-Dewees, as stage manager, kept us in ship shape top form and kept all us rowdies in line – kept our props propped, too. We misbehaved at times, and she gave us the Evil Eye of Doom! What would we do without her? She helped me unzip and zip one night when there was no one else, *whew*. And, to hear “Ten minutes…” (and the answering “thank you ten minutes…”) Then she’d say, “Places everyone!” and her voice sent all the excitement and stomach wibbles to us, but, her presence was sure and strong and stabilizing.
Jean Fullbright, assistant stage manager, who smiled every day and I liked that. Who had to pick up our grad gowns when we had to hurriedly throw them even when we didn’t want to because it was rude, but we had to…she never complained, not once!
Christy Bishop made our lighting SHINE forth in the darkness …haha! But she did…This play had many lighting cues that had to be perfect and she did them perfectly. And she was always happy, always excited, and if she wasn’t, I never saw it. Christy has a mischievous face, as if she is up to something and I like looking at that face…I like mischievous.
Lori Robinson and Rachel Swanson—Kudos for the sound, for there were many cues that depended on sound, too…brava! Well Done! And, one night Rachel had to fill in for Lori and she did a stand up job! Yes! You Go Rachel!
And Beth Swanson—our hair and makeup stylist…oh oh oh what would we have done without her? She coifed us, wigged us, joked with us, made us laugh. She’s one of a kind. She rushed between the women and the men, much in demand, but never cranky *laugh!* She nicknamed me “Chester…” for reasons I won’t explain but which you may figure out, teehee…She made magic with hair.
Our choreographer, James Bradley – my god, he took the most raggle-taggle of people, some of whom (like me!) had never danced on stage, or never thought they would, or didn’t want to, or had two left feet, or brain burps, or clumsies, or whatever, and he took us and made us look GOOD! Wow. How did he do that? Somehow, it all worked, and he is responsible for it. I love his posture, too – okay, well, that sounds funny, but I mean, I hate bad posture – people slump too much, and James’s posture is a beautiful thing. He was always calm too, even when he’d look at us as if to say, “What the hell was THAT?” *laughing*
Finally: Mark Jones, our Director. What can I say that I haven’t already? But, hell, he made this play WORK. He gave us free reign on things that made our characters who they are, he trusted us to give them life, he motivated us. He is gifted, talented, wonderful – I love you Mark! I hope he goes far. I hope he is “discovered…” I hope his light shines and shines…he loves this business and its shows in everything he does, whether it’s singing, acting, or directing. He’s going to direct On Golden Pond next – On Golden Pond! I mean…wow. I’ve said it before, but again I’ll say: his enthusiasm, his energy, his creative spark makes the play work. Brava, Mark…
To all: “Brava brava! Standing Ovation from Kat…*clap clap clap clap* MUWAH!*
I must mention here: Story and book are by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming. Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe. And, of course: Weekly World News for giving us Bat Boy!
There. That’s it. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. Next performances are this weekend: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday- April 4, 5, 6. I still have time to play good ole Clementine and to watch al these talents, and to listen to them, too…ah! It’s not over yet!
Theater link for the day: JOHN & JEN, Melodie and Mark Jones were interviewed for a podcast called, YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD STAGE, http://www.neighborhoodstage.com/index.cfm
It’s episode 3.14. Check it out!