Sunday, 22 January 2012

Smokey Joe's Cafe - out of my comfort zone at two levels.

Venice, Florida.

(pop. 20,000), (median age 62), (96% white), (median income for households $37,500). (15 or so miles south of Sarasota FL where I live).

Home of the Venice Theatre.

That’s where I enjoyed the show “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” this afternoon.  The revue featured the music and lyrics of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

Maybe you’ve never heard of them.

But surely you know songs from the 1950’s and 60’s, such as “Fools fall in love”, “On Broadway”, “Yakety Yak”, “Teach me how to shimmy”, “Hound Dog”, “I’m a woman”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Fools fall in love”, “Spanish Harlem”, and “Stand by me”.  

They are all Leiber/Stoller songs.

These songs (and many others) were sung with skill, verve and energy by the nine singers, backed up by a six person ensemble.  It was a toe tapping event.

Those who know me well will wonder why I (classical music and opera fan) was at such a show.  

To be sure it was outside of my comfort zone.(1)

Well, I was there because one of the singers/actors is Colleen Sudduth.

Colleen and her husband Gary Buchmeier (together with their young children Sophie and Anna) are stellar members of St. Boniface Church – my home parish.

I went beyond my comfort zone to honour a good St. B’s parishioner.  And it was well worth while!  I loved every minute (except for the first 20 minutes which I missed).

This leads me to beyond my comfort zone (2).

Although my ticket and calendar indicated that the show was due to start of 2:00 p.m., I convinced myself that the starting time was 2:30 p.m.

I arrived (in good time I thought) at 2:20 p.m. The Theatre seemed to be semi deserted. I presumed that that show had been under-sold.

But of course, I was late, and the show had already begun.  My seat was in the front row of the balcony.  I walked along that front row – treading on too many toes, but I could not find my seat.  So I sat on the stairs.

I had become the person that I usually despise - the late and clumsy arriver.

At intermission I apologised to a couple whose toes I had trodden on. They were very sweet and forgiving.

Then I went in search of my reserved seat.  It turned out that one of the ushers had taken it for the first part of the show, convinced as he/she was that I was a “no show”.

I relaxed in the seat.  I overheard the couple to my right as one of them said:  “what about that guy who walked down the row in front of us after the show had started".

I confessed “it was I”.  I apologised, and told them the story of my incompetence.  They laughed, and assured me that they were happy that I had found my seat.

OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE (1):   Thank you to Colleen for being part of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”.  I would never have attended had she not been one of the stars.

OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE (2) Thank you to the patrons who were so nice in the face of my stupidity and clumsiness.

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