A Lucy Lawless Musical Theatre Subsite - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
5th Avenue Theatre in Collaboration with
The Seattle Men's Chorus
Presents The "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" Musical
Photo contributed by firstname.lastname@example.org
with Lucy Lawless as Dorothy
May 13-15, 2005 - 5 performances in
Review by KT
First, it's very strange to be at a con not in L.A. But very good to me because I personally have always enjoyed Seattle. I like old American cities very much, those cities that grew up before the horseless carriage came into general use. I like that those cities are compact, filled with walking people and buzzing with life. I do not see this in either Burbank or Pasadena.
The hall is quite a bit smaller than Burbank so the con has a nice intimate feel. There is also a very relaxed and informal feeling compared to the LA cons. I think the crowd being smaller, plus so many usual faces being present and greeting each other with great surprise and delight with multiple variations of 'Woah! I didn't know YOU were coming!" (since it's a new place and who knew how many of the LA con folks would be there?), plus the fact that there weren't any guest stars today, created a more laid back and easy-going atmosphere.
The main event of the con today was really Lucy's evening show. We started around 3:30 with a "Music Video Salute" which featured bunches of fighting female sci-fi characters. Of which I recognized three-Sigourney from Alien, Angeline Jolie from what I assume was Tomb Raider and I think about three seconds of Buffy. Oh, and of course there was some Xena and just un petite soupcon of Gabrielle. So actually, I recognized five of the characters and then belatedly realized that the yellow outfit somersaulting around I had seen in ads for Kill Bill. And it wasn't somersaulting around by itself--someone was inside it whom I assume was Uma Thurman. So I "got" six, but there were many more characters but I had no idea of who they were. I also didn't know the music. (Nothing like a tightly detailed report, eh?)
Okay. Then Sharon Delaney came out and played old tapes of Lucy and Renee's early work. Of course, this was easier said than done. First off, as soon as they put out the lights, Sharon could no longer see the remote and so couldn't work it very well. She said something like, "Hmm-how is Renee going to see this tomorrow?" I suggested that they put a head lamp on her but my suggestion was not noted by the staff.
They figured it out very shortly and the tapes began. While we were watching Renee in the one with James Garner, Sharon's cell phone rang. She glanced down at it, laughed and answered it. It was Renee. Of course many people started to laugh and yell out "Hello, Renee!" Sharon explained to Renee where she was and what she had been doing when Renee called. She then informed us that Renee was "laughing". Then some people started to demand that Sharon put Renee on speaker phone. Sharon said she didn't know how to do that. About a dozen people began to tell her, all yelling very loudly and at the same time of course, how they got the speaker function going on THEIR cell phones. Finally, Sharon decided that she didn't have that feature on her phone. Whereupon one woman yelled out that Renee should hang up and call back on this woman's phone, which did have a speaker function. That did not happen.
Sharon then extracted a promise from Renee to tell us about the time that she and James Garner were filming a shot of them driving in a car and managed to hit someone walking by. Sharon assured us he was not hurt, but that it was a good story.
Okay, Renee gets off the line and we go back to watching the tape. We segued into some of Lucy's early work, just one little piece of which I had never seen. (It was part of Funny Business-a "trash car" sequence.)
I enjoyed this. I think Renee is going to show some more early tapes tomorrow and talk about them.
Then we had a charity auction for the Make A Wish Foundation, followed at 6:00p.m. by a cocktail reception for the Gold ticket holders. VERY nice menu-salmon, duck, little chicken quiches and New Zealand lamb. Good food. And good company.
We headed off en masse to walk one block down (and I mean down-our hotel is on the top of a steep hill) and about four across to the theater. We were a loud and boisterous group.
Sharon had told us that they had had only one rehearsal with the orchestra, chorus and actors together, because the chorus member are volunteers who have day jobs and therefore restricted rehearsal time. She also told us that the show was "On book". Which means the actors held and read their scripts.
It's quite a remarkable theater. I believe they said it was about 90 years old. Very ornate, with many Chinese themed carvings. First thing I noticed when I sat down was that the roll down curtain was painted with a picture of a dragon. And by gum, other than being tan, not green, it looked just like the Green Dragon on the flag Lao Ma made for little Ming T'ien. It was all curly and curvy with spread and sticking out limbs just like that one.
Curtain rolls up. There's people skittering around on the stage in front of the standing chorus. Then out rolls Lucy. (Literally-I think she was sitting on a cart and somebody pushed her out onstage.) For a slight second, we all just looked at her. She had on a short black wig that looked just like the one she wore in the Hercules crossover, "Stranger in a Strange Land". And she had on the longest, most blatant fake eyelashes I have ever seen.
Then you could hear the intake of breath from about 150 mouths (we Xena fans that would be) and then the eruption of applause and yelling. She was for the first few bars just a tiny bit shaky but settled down very soon. It was a real high to see her on stage performing again. But heck, I cannot remember what she was wearing for her entrance.
It was a fun show. Faith Prince is most definitely a very seasoned theater star. Very nice voice. The men's chorus was very, very good. The featured male singers were very good to excellent. The acting was typical Broadway musical broad. And Lucy was obviously having a ball.
Intermission. Then the Ming T'ien dragon curtain rolls up again. People are onstage acting away and suddenly Lucy appears from stage left. Wearing this sparkly, lovingly draping itself to her curves blue/slightly aqua shimmering gown. More (and sharper) intakes of breath. Then a barrage of mostly female hooting to show their appreciation of Lucy's outfit. (With yes, some male hooters joining in.)
Of course, most of us Xena fans constantly tracked Lucy wherever she was on stage. And (Note: these comments are the result of a formal poll conducted in the bar of the hotel after our return from the show) we saw traces of Meg at times and a few quick flashes of Xena peeking through. The fascinating thing about watching Lucy constantly was noticing that she was always Dorothy-she was always in character and always doing something to show what Dorothy was thinking and feeling. She didn't just stand around waiting for her cue to come to life. Not that she was mugging mightily or trying to steal scenes from the other actors-it was just that if you were looking at her, you could see from her facial expressions and small gestures, her shifting slightly in her seat, the tilting of her head, that she was Dorothy, reacting to the people and events happening around her.
One woman who mentioned Meg added that this was a smarter and less oblivious Meg. Another woman said that while a third female character did a very sexy dance, we Xena fans who were watching Lucy kept breaking into little chuckles and giggles as Lucy showed Dorothy's reaction to that woman. "I bet the dancer couldn't figure out why we thought her dance was so funny" she said.
Lucy seemed joyous at the end of the play as the actors all accepted the standing ovation we gave them. And we were very good-we cheered and yelled for Faith Prince as well as for Lucy when they took their curtain calls.
One of my companions wanted to join the crowd that was waiting outside the actors entrance door of the theater, so for the first time in my life, I became one of those Stage Door Janies. It was fun standing out there in the alley next to the overflowing dumpsters because as the members of the chorus came out we yelled out our thanks and congratulations for a great show. They looked startled and then very pleased. There were plenty of stage door Johnnies in among us stage door Janies and there was lots of hugging and kissing as their performing boyfriends came out into the alley. Then, finally, Luce appeared. She looked slightly startled too and then broke into a huge beaming smile. She walked rapidly down the alley smiling and nodding at people and then we lost sight of her in the crowd.
Good show, great time. I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.
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