I enjoyed participating in a string of shows in the 1990s and now, after an eleven-year absence, I'm again cavorting with fellow cast members. In years past I had won a choice part or two, but at auditions this year I felt mumbly-mouthed and stiff. I began my short reading for the part of Lord Evelyn Oakleigh with a semi-passable British accent, but by the time I stumbled red-faced off the stage, it had disintegrated into a wildly exaggerated Count Chocula imitation. I landed a spot in the ensemble, with just a choice line or two--"Yes, sir! Aye aye, sir!"--as "Sailor Number 2."
I took a couple of first-ever tap classes before auditions in anticipation of getting a leg up, so to speak. But having suffered a torn meniscus just a week prior to rehearsals, I have not rehearsed and will not be able to perform in the raucous, full-ensemble dance numbers. So it's a good thing I'm finally old enough to take most of life's little indignities in stride.
It was apparent during the initial read-through that the principals were remarkably well-cast. Clinch Steward was over-the-top fey and British as Lord Evelyn, and even in read-only mode Joel Swanson couldn't completely contain the rubbery-faced hilarity he effortlessly brings to ineffectual gangster Moonface Martin. Bob Galardi, who's been showcased in all but four or five of the Players' productions, was as funny and natural as I had ever seen him as the nearly blind, buffoonish Elisha Whitney. And second-generation Burns Park Player Caroline Huntoon--whose fondest memories of her musically challenged father include his valiant attempts to sing and dance because her brother demanded it--was sassy, brassy, and already off-book.