Little House on the Prairie

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
Trip End May 07, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anyone who's marvelled at my rendition of "I'm just a Gal Who Can't Say No" or my tear-jerking, shoulder-jerking portrayal of Teyve from "Fiddler On the Roof" will know what a loss I am to musical theatre. It's nothing short of a cultural tragedy that my talents have been denied a wider audience. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. What I should tell you though is that I'm not bitter. So what if my Fagin will never tread the boards? Or receive rave reviews saluting its postmodern trans-gendered reworking of a tired role? Genius goes unrecognised in every generation. Art for art's sake is sufficient reward for me.

So when over breakfast in Yosemite, Per and I met two real-life actors currently starring in a touring production of the new musical "Little House On the Prairie" I didn't dwell on the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune but instead was delighted to meet a couple of fellow creatives. And when they let slip that "Little House" was playing all week at Sacremento I threw my bagel aside and began packing.

Thirty-six hours later, after getting a lend of our new friends' backstage passes, we arrived at the theatre in Sacremento. With the speed and dexterity of an FBI agent, I flashed my backstage pass into the startled face of the usher then subtly side-stepped into the auditorium.

"Are you part of the cast and crew?" the frowning usher said, blocking my way.

"Of course we are!!" I snorted, waving my $10 programme in her face as proof of the fact. I continued my crab-like steps ignoring the narrowing eyes that followed my progress. "Come on, Kevin!" I called, snapping my fingers at Per, "we haven't got all day..."

Finding some excellent seats, we settled down to watch the show. Those uninterested in musical theatre can look away now...

What a treat! If this play isn't the next big musical I'll eat my bonnet. When little Laura (aka Kara) opened her mouth to sing the first song, our jaws hit the floor. Then when Kevin bounced on stage as Almanzo, Per and I whispered to each other, "He reminds me of Huge Jackman. Yes, me too." I tell you, it's unsettling to see previously unassuming chaps transform into all-singing, all-dancing starlets. I know what you're thinking: "Katherine, but you have just as much talent!" And of course you're right. But that doesn't diminish my appreciation of  other people's efforts. As I noted before, I'm not bitter.

Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiographical tale, the play is a compelling story with characters who are effortlessly engaging and appealing. The narrative structure is perfectly suited to a two-hour stage performance - no lulls in plot -  and adapts so naturally as a piece of musical theatre I wonder why on earth it hasn't been done before.

The obvious downside to any new musical is that you can't sing along cos you don't know the tunes. Nevertheless there were several songs that I could almost join in with by the end. The cast were probably glad I didn't. Anyhoo, I'll scour iTunes as soon as we get home so next time I'll be fully prepared.

So, dear friend, if you're in any way a fan of musicals, go see "Little House On the Prairie." You'll love it. And it'll make you want to reread the books. That Laura was one remarkable gal. And when you go, I have a small request. At the end of our evening, I learnt - all too late - that bonnets were available to purchase in the foyer before the performance. You heard right: BONNETS. So if any of you go along, please buy me a bonnet. Your kindness will be repaid with a song and a dance performed by me wearing the said bonnet. Thank you.
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I too am a loss to musical theatre... on

I wanna go!

Ellie O on

Get me tickets!

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