May 24, 2018

The building that housed Evergreen Theater Conservatory at a somewhat earlier time in it’s life span.

Dateline – Seattle, Washington

Last night in Seattle. I’ll be up early tomorrow and heading for California and will spend the long weekend there before trekking back across the country. I have a wedding on June 2nd I promised to be at so as long as I careen into town by about 4 PM on that date, I think I’m OK.

Today’s theme was back to the 80s. After a farewell visit to mom, who was having another sleepy/grumpy day, I went down to Portage Bay to meet Barry Roitblat for lunch. The restaurant was adjacent to the south end of the U of W campus so I wandered a bit through old stomping grounds as the Department of Oceanography where my father taught for thirty years was there as is the medical school which made the mistake of conferring and MD degree on me in 1988. There are a plethora of new buildings on that end of campus but the med school’s halls look the same. I went and looked at my class composite that’s hanging with all the others of the last fifty years. My photo in it is hideous. Fortunately, I think that’s the only copy.

After lunch, spent a little time with my father working on genealogy puzzles. We’re stuck on my great great grandfather Crandall who does not seem to fit into the Crandall family at all (being an old New England clan, they are well documented over the last four hundred years) but ours are either in the wrong place or are the wrong age to tie into the lineage properly.

Then off to West Seattle to meet friends Teresa Mosteller, Paula Podemski and Scott F. Arend for dinner. We all date back to mid 80s Seattle musical theater together and Paula and Scott still work professionally in the business. Lots of old stories and catching up and really good Mexican food at a restaurant on Alki Beach. The last time I had been to Alki Beach was for Teresa’s wedding 26 years ago. And two years ago, I attended her daughter Emily McDonald‘s wedding and it was her 25th birthday today and she stopped by to say hi as well. The cycles and circles keep manifesting themselves.

The last stop was R and M dessert bar on Capitol Hill for coffee and tres leches cake. Old acquaintance Marc Adams runs it when not working for HeartStrong, his charitable group that assists young LGBT people coming out in conservative christian college environments.

So, I’m trying to think of a good 80s story… When I first came back to Seattle from college in the mid 80s, I started to work for a musical theater company called Evergreen Theater Conservatory which, at that time, was performing on Capitol Hill in an old warehouse space across the street from the old REI building. One of my early shows there was ‘A Chorus Line’. I was ASM/props on the show (And it wasn’t terribly prop heavy) so there wasn’t a lot for me to do. The director, whom I shall not name but long term Seattle theater folk will know who it is) rewrote the end of the show to have Zach cast different dancers than scripted both to surprise the audience and because of the actual talents of his cast. One of the actresses, who was playing a part cast in the script, but cut in this production, was having none of it and called the licensing house leading to cease and desist letters and phone calls. The director fired her first tech and we went into second tech with a hurried replacement. Then we lost the dresser for the quick change so guess who got to do that assignment. Dress and preview were a bit of a nightmare but Thespis worked his usual magic and it all fell into place opening night, as it so often does. Every time I am working on a show and it’s not gelling, I think of Geoffrey Rush in ”Shakespeare in Love” and his blind bumbling certainty that no matter the disaster, all will be well. I wish I could have that kind of faith. Years ago, my mother told me that if I was directing, she never wanted to go to my opening nights. Every time she did, she would look at me and she would swear I was about to sick up on the row in front of me. I took her words to heart and from then on, always invited my parents to the second week

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