One evening, I glumly sat next to Alan Dengiz and watched as a tap rehearsal began--without me. Dengiz, who with his wife, Lisa, organized the very first show in 1982, has been a cast member on and off since the beginning, but he's been on again for the last four years. He says he's back "because of the people." For others, the cohesive (some might say insular) group can be daunting. "I would say it's tricky to be a newcomer," first-timer John Pottow told me in an email message. "It's pretty darned tightly knit. I don't know if it's a cult, but it's getting close! But everyone's very nice and clearly enjoys the process. (Maybe that reflects that the cult's subtle indoctrination is working!)"
Galardi tells me he "loves the whole experience. I love the people and I love the performance." He rattles off a litany of build-ups and turning points--the ratcheting process I remember so well, and always loved best, about putting on a show: "The rhythm of tryouts, early rehearsals, going off book and getting more intense. The set goes in, the tech rehearsal, the orchestra shows up. Then it's that last week when we look like shit on Monday and by Friday we transform the beast into the beauty."
The most daunting task still ahead (not that I'll be participating) is the tap dancing. Quite a few female cast members are experienced dancers, but none of the men had a clue coming in. Yet all have abandoned every inhibition and forgotten every impediment, and with more than a month left to rehearse, the hoofing is already growing more thunderous and unified.