An adventure usually starts out with an attitude and resignation to let the moments multiply and add up to fun. You don't always need just the right people, but it certainly helps. This adventure began one way and ended up another. Things happen. Things change.
Two of our favorite couples had just returned from Hawaii. It was time to get together and have fun. Jan and Mike came back first and we invited them to join us for Tacoma Musical Playhouse's The Drowsy Chaperone on Saturday night. They accepted. Donn and Debbie came back into town at the same time our friends Nan and JR invited all of us to a crab feed at Totem Yacht Club. Peg and I declined, but relented when a schedule was laid out that involved both the crab feed AND the musical.
Donn and Debbie joined the group for crab and theater. Debbie rang our doorbell at 5:40 in the evening and we set off for a night of food and fun in Mike's three-row Ford van. The drive took about three minutes into the heart of Ruston.
Once inside we sat at Nan's table, which included boat people (or rather, boating people), theater people, and basicly people just out for a good time. There were 19 of us at our table. Nan made sure that our table dined first, so we could leave early enough to make curtain time. The dinner included baked beans, cole slaw, French bread, melted butter, lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and a whole Dungeness crab each.
Eating whole crab takes a little dedication and hardwork, but it is well worth it. Personally, I like to use sissors to cut through the exoskeleton of the crab. Some meat goes directly into my mouth and the rest goes into my container of melted butter. I then squeeze a little lemon juice over the melted butter infused crab pieces. We all have our own style, but for those who love seafood, a crab feed is a great place to be.
We needed to leave by 7:15 to make it to the theater on Sixth Avenue in plenty of time. Jan however, playing on Donn's weakness for ice cream, suggested we stop at Baskin-Robbins. There was a line at the ice creamery, so we continued to the theater. Outside we met up with fellow Rotarian and Past President Fred Moisio of the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8.
We all joked around and then settled into our seats for an excellent production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Donn and Debbie had attended the Spotlight Performance/Introduction of The Drowsy Chaperone with Peg and me at the Fifth Avenue two years ago, but they were unable to join us for the play. Jan and Mike only knew about The Drowsy Chaperone from Peg's interview with TMP's director Jon Douglas Rake. All four had read the interview and were prepared to have fun.
The musical was everything we had hoped it would be. It was goofy and had a ton of laughs in it. The music was humable. The singing was good, the acting was good, and the tap dancing was good eventhough in our front row seats we couldn't always see the shoes tapping. From Peg and Jan's booster seats they still couldn't see the shoes, but everything else worked.
I'm happy to miss the shoes if it means I am up front and personal. I like front row seating for almost any live entertainment.
I'm guessing that most of the people in the audience didn't have a clue as to what the musical was about. Peg and I knew . . . and we howled all evening long. I'm guessing we will return to see it again, and I think there may be a lot of people in the nearly sold-out theater who will return with friends and really enjoy the outstanding production again. As we walked the lobby line and congratulated the actors after the performance, one of them recognized Peg from the front row and commented, "Row One." Peg appologized for laughing so loudly. The actor said, "We loved it."
I think my favorite actor in the production was John B. Cooper, who played the part of the Latin-Lover, Adolpho. He had a great voice and great comic timing. He has played several roles at TMP in addition to about a dozen shows at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.
Cooper has also performed in opera from Portland to Rome . . . and sung the national anthem at Safeco Field for the Seattle Mariners. Cooper, however was my least favorite of the actors as I met each one and let them know how much I appreciated their efforts and performances. Of all the actors, he was the most reserved. Maybe he didn't need accolades, but still he could have smiled. On stage he was campy and over-the-top. In person he seemed disinterested, but then maybe it was just me. However, I would still return to see him play Adolpho. No, now that I think about it, Donn made a similar comment. Oh, well.
Cooper has a Koward Keel type of baritone that takes me back to the musicals of the forties and fifties. I would also be happy to see him in Showboat, and Kiss Me Kate, both of which he has performed in (The same parts that Howard Keel had.) I don't know that Cooper has ever played the Keel part in Annie Get Your Gun, but I would pay to see him do it.
After the play we drove past Baskin-Robbins, but it was closed for the night. Mike drove past our destination of Shari's on North Pearl to check out Coldstone Creamery, but then drove back to Shari's (more comfortable seats and no line). We had a combination of soda, tea, and coffee for drinks, but we all had our own piece of pie.
During both the drive and the dining most of the discussion was about the play. We all talked about our favorite moments and relived some of them at the table, except for spit-takes of which there were several, however.
Sitting around and laughing with friends is one of the best ways to end an adventure . . . or start a new one.