Saturday, August 06, 2005

Time Flies

25 years ago this week, I was in the middle of my first professional theater experience. Earlier that summer my dad had seen a casting call in the paper for a production of South Pacific at the Melody Top in Milwaukee. It was this large, theater in the round at the corner of 76th and Good Hope.

I didn't have much interest in this so my dad resorted to bribery. My weakness at the time was baseball cards. I still remember this pretty well. We get there and there are hundreds of kids there. Apparently the thought of expanding my card collection helped overcome any fears I had. I got the part of Jerome. I think I got paid something like $300 for the two week run. Reprised the role when they put it on again in '85.

The first production starred opera legend Giorgio Tozzi and a woman named Krista Neumann who a year later would become Mrs. Scott Bakula (until 1995). Victor Raider-Wexler who was an amazing Luther Billis, went on to play Dr. Nowell in several episodes of "Seinfeld." The second production starred Mary Cadorette, who played the female lead in the spinoff "Three's A Crowd" and Broadway veteran David Holliday.

The Melody Top eventually closed and at some point burned down. Just by coincidence, at least in relation to my life (this isn't ironic BTW) in it's place stands a soccer complex. More proof of how small the world is... Tozzi became a voice professor at Indiana where an ex-girlfriend of mine studied opera.

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