Love Letters and Cheap Applause Lines- a guest post by CC
JM’s note: This was totally unsolicited but CC asked if he could do a guest post, and then he actually wrote it and sent it to me, and I may have cried a little bit when I read it and had to pretend I had just jabbed a mascara wand in my eye. It wasn’t intended as a Valentine’s Day post (I mostly hate that holiday) but it seemed appropriate that I post it today, to call out to that grimy, blackened, decaying romantic that lives in all of us. I don’t deserve his praise but what the hell, I’m leaving it in there.
Love Letters and Cheap Applause Lines by CC
Those of you that are lucky enough to know my wife JM in the actual world know- and those that are readers of this blog get a glimpse of what a lovely and exceptional woman she is. One of her favorite words is “badass” and believe me, she is. I thank god for every day she shares my life.
Don’t worry, this is not an obituary, she is fine. We are just both working two jobs at the moment, and she is too exhausted at the end of the day to write, so I am hijacking her site to give you all a story and an update.
We have all watched a comic, or a celebrity on television and heard them say something like “so I just got married” or “we just had our first baby” “I stopped drinking”…and the audience applauds and “WOOOO’s” obligatorily and the world dims a little for the effort. It is a cheap applause line, and I always find it a bit tacky. But I digress….
Hey, look. A puppy:
Last week was busy. Not in itself unusual around here, but at one point JM realized that there was a document that she needed THAT DAY (JM’s note: umm, it was my union card), so I found it, and after my production meetings were done I headed uptown to deliver it to her. I slipped into the theater, and sat in the back as the crew worked on loading in the show. I know many of them-it is a small community- but they were busy and I was content to sit in back, watch and wait for the end of the call to chat and catch up. JM was onstage wearing her favorite new black work boots and a white hard hat while they all moved the heavy main speaker arrays into position to rig and fly. This is the glamorous part of theater, folks.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was the department head on a tour of Aida for the Walt Disney Company, and AK, one of my dearest friends and at the time my assistant, was leaving the tour for greater glory. I needed to replace him quickly. In our world, for contractual reasons positions cannot go unfilled for long and everyone I knew and didn’t hate was working. I was at a loss and started asking for resumes online from people in the industry. Someone passed me JM’s name. We spoke on the phone, and she joined the tour in Kansas City. She did a terrific job learning the gig and –just as importantly- fitting in with the company.
Several months passed and we found ourselves taking the show into Los Angeles, the land of all things Disney Corporate, and for the show, A VERY BIG DEAL.
Slamming a million bucks worth of sound gear into and out of trucks week after week is hard work in the best of circumstances, but sometimes the theater gods conspire and scheme, and when they do, little good comes of it. We had a rough week.
The set didn’t fit through the loading doors.
The band didn’t fit in the pit.
Disney scheduled press events around and during the load in.
The choreographer arrived for a “brush up rehearsal” and spent the week making our lives……interesting.
We adapted, we persevered, and we made it to the opening night.
My last image of JM before that show started was of her in a black polo shirt and jeans and Doc Martens with her hair in a ponytail, holding a screw gun, ready to replace yet another piece of equipment that had chosen that moment to commit suicide, while I walked to the front of house to start the show.
What I came back to after the show was breathtaking. The jeans, polo and ponytail were gone and in their place were a midnight blue dress, heels and hair perfectly done. It was stunning. It was magic. It was like something out of a Disney movie. I was done for. The theater gods laughed.
All these years.
All these years, dozens of cities, thousands of shows, 10 or so new productions, 4 apartments, a couple lawsuits, five kids, a wedding, a house, 2 puppies, more midnight grocery runs than I can count, a few more shows. More than a little good has come of it.
The word “soul mate” is deadened by overuse. But damn is it true here. JM is my best friend and I am a better man for her love. The theater gods are still laughing, but I think it is because they are happy for us.
Now for the cheap applause lines:
#1? Started University
#2? Honor Roll
#3? Honor Roll
#4? Honor Roll
#5? Straight A’s
That’s right, folks, we got ourselves a house full of freaking geniuses. And puppies.