Monday, December 20, 2010
Have Yourself a Disco Little Christmas
This past weekend I got to participate in another memorable performing experience with East West Players, "A Little Tokyo Christmas."
The show was made up of several traditional and not-so-traditional holiday numbers ("We Need a Little Christmas," "Disco Christmas" . . . "Santa Lost a Ho"), thanks to the many amazing performers who donated their talent and time.
The cast and crew of eighty Asian Americans were professional directors, actors, singers, and dancers. For some of us, it was a heartwarming homecoming of sorts, a reunion with the Family and Community that is East West Players.
And like any family holiday get-together, it was a wonderful opportunity to see how the individual families had grown. Most of the children of the performers were also on stage, singing in their own numbers and dancing in the finale with the entire cast ("I see that this show ignited that familiar gleam in their eyes - a love for performing on stage" one cast member commented).
I was happy and grateful to be dancing again, even in sweet, simple numbers. Sometimes, all I want out of life is to be one of the dapper chorus boys worshipping a single diva on stage, such as in the "Roxie Hart" number from "Chicago," or Marilyn/Madonna in "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"/the "Material Girl" video.
Saturday fulfilled that wish for me once more, as I got to be one of the chorus boys in "Santa Baby," which was sung by actress Amy Hill. Amy, who has guest starred in many sitcoms, is my hero because she played the lavender-haired babysitter in "The Cat in the Hat" film, and she is also one of the voices for the "Jackie Chan Adventures" cartoon series.
In addition to performing with old friends from years ago, I got to meet many of the newer and younger actors from EWP shows of recent years, including a cast member from Prince Gomolvilas's stage adaptation of "Mysterious Skin."
Prince had gently chided me after seeing the evening show (sold out!). "Why didn't you tell anybody?"
Ha! And I didn't find out until later that was in the audience (that devious sneak!). I didn't tell many people, mostly because I'm still trying to get past the stage of always demanding attention, which is just part of the slowing down process for this aging chorus boy.
Getting to be part of the show was wonderful, and also a little bittersweet. I am never quite ready to give up my dancin' shoes (or hang up my tutu, as one male friend had put it), so I was ecstatic to be part of three dance numbers. And yet, it was eye opening to be around younger dancers again, and it helped me to move that much closer to accepting the fact I just can't be shakin' it as intensely as I used to . . .
But hey, if Kylie Minogue can still do it in her forties, why can't I? I started shaking my groove thang at junior high school dances in the late seventies. And I'm aiming to keep shaking it - as much as I can - well into my own seventies.
The photo above is a group shot with the dancers from the disco number.