Back on Gallery’s stage

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I stepped in Mug Shotz last week for a bagel and left with a part in the Gallery Theatre’s newest production, Little Shop Of Horrors.

Mug Shotz owner Brenda Velazquez and I worked together a couple of years ago in a little production called the Sound of Music.

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Karen Knowles directed it and I agreed to be in it as a favor to her.

Only she could talk a Friedman (a Jewish name for those that don’t know) into playing the role of a nazi leader.

I have very fond memories of my time at the Gallery and they all came flooding back to me as I re-entered its storied doors for my first rehearsal Sunday.

The Gallery Theatre has it’s own unique smell (a mixture of mildew and history) and one whiff filled my head with memories of productions past.

I remember my first show, Inherit The Wind.

I played the part of the District Attorney and was so nervous on opening night that I must have lost 10 pounds in sweat alone.

I still believe it may have been the best show I have ever been a part of (The News-Herald review called it the best show ever done there) despite its lack of attendance.

It was in that show that I met Larry Cooke Jr.

Larry and I became fast friends and quickly earned the titles of cast clowns.

Always ready to laugh, we spent much of the time playing practical jokes and keeping other cast members in stitches.

Not always the best thing in such a serious drama.

We would later do The Diviners, another drama.

The cast on this show was incredible and I found myself in awe much of the time.

Karen directed this show as well and after kicking us out the day before opening night she vowed to never cast Larry and I together again.

(It’s a vow she would later break.)

She apparently didn’t appreciate Henry Joyner and I throwing one of the gigantic leftover fish from Huck Fin (the first show I ever did sound and lights for) on the stage during a crucial moment in the last practice.

Larry getting up to beat it with his fishing rod probably didn’t help matters.

You have to give the guy credit though, he never broke character, even when viciously defending himself against the paper machete monster.

The rest of us doubled over in laughter, that was until we were interrupted by the screams of our director kicking us out of the building.

She was not amused and Larry and I returned the next day with our figurative tails between our legs.

I can’t help but smile as I remember the fun we had in Dearly Departed.

I accidentally mooned the Sunday audience in the first minute of the show.

I did however get quite the applause.

It wasn’t all fun.

There were always mistakes, some by cast members and some remain a mystery to this day.

The worst had to have been a malfunctioning set during the Sound of Music.

We had multiple backgrounds on wheels that were very difficult to maneuver.

One of the wheels broke completely off during our Saturday performance and we all panicked.

We wound up replacing it by hammering on a new one to the rhythm of the song My Favorite Things and the audience was none the wiser.

These are just a few of the wonderful memories I have of shows at the Gallery Theatre.

Now I look forward to making some new ones.

I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is See ya next week!