What a fun evening. After a day when I spent most of the time sleeping (after a night of insomnia), we headed off to Walnut Creek to see the Lamplighters' I have a Song to Sing-O, which is the story of Gilbert & Sullivan. I first saw this show when the LLs first put it together in the 1990s and don't know if I've seen it since, but it would be fun to see how it has evolved over the years.
We started with dinner at a restaurant named Broderick, where we have eaten before. We were seated at a booth against the wall, so that Walt had a regular chair and I had the soft seat attached to the wall, which was fine except when I sat down it felt like I was sitting in a hole.
I was sunk so far down that I had to hold the salad bowl in my lap in order to eat the salad. But I also had a delicious Maryland Sandwich, which was a crab cake and quite tasty but falling apart, so I had to eat it with knife and fork (tricky when you're sitting in a hole).
We headed over to the Lesher Center and were about half an hour early, but the lobby was filled. I managed to squeeze in next to a couple of older ladies on a bench.
One of the ladies left and I chatted with the other for a long time (until Char and her friends from "the home" arrived). She was a fascinating lady who hadn't seen a lot of Lamplighters shows, but thought this would be a good one to see because it had the best of the G&S musical numbers in it. She told us something about her history and all the places in the world where she had lived
At the appointed time we went into the theater and didn't see this woman again until we were standing at the elevator in the parking lot, when we began chatting again and she mentioned being a writer. When I asked her about that, she said she had been the Poet Laureate in Brentwood, CA for the past 17 years. I looked her up on the internet this morning and discovered her name is Kati Short and I was able to get a better view of what her life had been like. I love the internet.
By chance, we happened to be sitting in the audience with Jen Kiernan, who has been a member of the Lamplighters ensemble for years. What's funny is that Jen and I seem to take selfies of ourselves every time we get together and we were going to try to get one together after the show, but the crowd was just too big and so I settled for a photo I took of her in the audience.
And then there was the show. This is a small show, with Gilbert sitting on one side of the stage, Sullivan on the other, writing letters to each other. The musical numbers take place in the middle, with the small orchestra in the back (they never look at the conductor!). I found this video clip which is fun.
The show is indeed all the greatest hits and as the numbers rolled by, I realized how traditional the Lamplighters choreography is. Such familiar numbers like "Three Little Maids" and the sailors from Pinafore and "Three Little Maids," and so many more have had choreography changed very little, if at all, over the past 65 years.
As I watched the great performers on stage, I could not help but see the performances of the past, Gilbert as Koko in The Mikado and while Lawrence Ewing is a great Bunthorne (in Patience), you can't help but remember the classic performance of Orva Hoskinson in a role of which a critic said "There was Gielgud's Hamlet and there is Hoskinson's Bunthorne.