Saturday, March 21, 2009


Pressure of work meant I did not take a stage role in the shows over the next few years but I did work as either a stage hand or in lighting for 'The Music Man' and 'Fiddler on the Roof'. However in 1991 I left teaching (I thought) and looked for other employment.
I obtained some work door to door interviewing which was soul destroying and some part-time teaching (6 hours per week) at TAFE (Technical and Further Education).

Therefore, I had plenty of time to return to the stage and we put on 'Showboat'.
As usual I was part of the chorus but I did have a small role as the doorman Charlie.
"Gotta message from ya prima donna, said to tell ya she was goin on a tare"
"Hey, I'm a doorman not a nursemaid"
were my lines which I still remember as seen in the first photo.

Playing the songs raises strange emotions in me. It was an anxious time as I did not know where my future lay and I was very lonely being home so much. It was, of course, before the internet.

We usually prided ourselves that all our singers were local. Some of them sang professionally, as did Leslie Andrews who sang the role of Joe but also worked for the Australian Opera. However he lived locally. But for 'Showboat' we employed a professional to sing Ravenal. I loved every night, when I was on stage with him, as he sang "Till Good Luck Comes My Way". His voice was overpowering.

Several years later I went to see it performed professionally at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney and was amazed to meet my partner from the show, Helen, during the interval.

I enjoyed some of the costumes: bow tie and tails at the New Year's Eve Ball and the natty brown number with green tie and pocket handkerchief. I just threw them out a few days ago.

It is difficult to find any but the main numbers on Youtube so I have decided to go with the lovely Dame Kiri Te Kanawa singing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".
I cannot listen to it without tears of sadness, partly the song and the show but also my memories.


Leonard said...

Wonderful...both her and you (in your dapper outfit)!

Fran said...

Thank you for sharing this Brian - both your touching personal story and the video as well.