Oh what a fright!
Most often when a show closes, I have to admit to great pride and joy at a well-earned accomplishment, the fruits of our considerable talent and labors, but usually with some little niggle of dissatisfaction as well. The players are most often grand, I find no fault with my extraordinary band, but very often there wasn’t time or quite sufficient funds to achieve everything you wished for. I think this is generally a good feeling, motivation next time to prepare more, schedule more, budget more. But occasionally, a show closes and all you can do is give a very contented sigh and bask in the glow.
Such was definitely the case with Gilda Shedstecker Presents! Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. From the moment we opened and the audience applauded young Baby Jane’s encore, and audibly groaned when young Blanche promised with malice NEVER to forget living in Jane’s shadow, to the applause when old Blanche fell and rolled down the stairs and the laughter when old Baby Jane dropped the People’s Elbow on Blanche, it was as good as it gets. I never tired of watching from the booth, and relied on kind reminders to cue sound as I was regularly enthralled with our show.
Many thanks to the wonderful cast and crew of GSP! who made it all happen. I love how we don’t fill vacancies, we expand as a family. Dana Marshall was much help during rehearsals as production assistant, and then smoothly slipped into the seat at the light board, playing the Howland’s limited lighting like a maestro. Our new angel actresses Paige Worley and Grace Worley brought along their mom Leigh Ann Brunoni who comfortably stepped into any spot that needed filled, like the old friend she is.
Gratitude as always to GSP!’s Voodoo Queen, Linda Alexander-Radak, who pulls all the strings backstage, supervising, designing, building, and being the best friend EVER. Her help backstage, right hand Cathy Grizer-Osbourne, and her help with set, Ben Seeley, are the best! Hearts and thanks to Holly Barstow-Riley for make-up, and the costume and prop assists, and to the entire team and all our friends for all the rest. Special honors to George Radak for creating Baby Jane’s vintage film clip, Roman Feemster for securing the location for the shoot, and to Manuel Halkias for the equipment to bring it into the theatre. Thanks to the splendid players who lent their hands to so many off-stage tasks: Patrice Rittenhouse, Ellen Fox, David Bowen, Holly, Jaclynn Dietz, Paige, Grace, Ben, and Manuel.
Last but not least: to our leading ladies, two gentlemen actresses who immediately jumped on board when I said two years ago, “We should do Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and you guys should play Bette and Joan!” My thanks and love for working so hard to bring these characters to the stage, to pay homage, to caricature, and finally, to imbue them with yourselves as well. To Craig May, who never left the stage, to Roman Feemster, who never stopped running on and off the stage, our Blanche and Baby Jane. Bravo. No regrets, my friends, not one.