Friday, August 10, 2012

Opening Night: The Odd Couple

Adam Arthur as Felix and Jeff Catanese as Oscar
Photo by Ewa Skowska
Tonight's the big night!  The champagne is chilling, the phones are ringing, and the set is completely trashed (on purpose!)

One of my favorite moments on Opening is ripping off the tape that seals the box of playbills, which are delivered straight from the printer's (thanks, Daniels!). I like reading the bios, examining the headshots, looking for names on the donor list.  But mostly, I love the smell of the ink - it's so certain and steadfast. Is that weird?

Betsy Puckett as Gwendolyn and Sara Fields as Cecily
Photo by Ewa Skowska

Later in the day, the flowers start to arrive. Deliveries come to the box office, and one of us wanders backstage, cool vase in hand, through the darkened theatre towards the dressing rooms. The stage is dimly lit with one bare bulb, and it seems to be humming, almost drumming its fingers in anticipation for the seats to be filled and the lights to come up and the actors to burst through the doors.

The flowers go to the hair and makeup station of the recipient. The costumes are neatly hung, steamed and pressed for the show later on.  Wigs are on Styrofoam head forms, which over the years have been colored with markers to resemble femme fatales, clowns, or Paul Stanley from KISS (and therefore they're pretty creepy in the dark dressing room).

Around 6:00 pm, cast members enter through the stage door. After signing in on the stage manager's chart, they climb the back stairs and are in the Green Room, where we've left candy and cards and playbills. This is when the entire building really starts humming. The ushers are here, the corks are popped, champagne bubbles into the cups -

And then the play begins. It's Opening Night!

Why don't you come?

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