The actor’s favorite pastime is telling war stories.  Times we were on stage and a fellow actor went up,* or worse, missed an entrance.  Stories of ridiculous ad libs, and silly in-joke style games.

Monday night, over dinner, Jeff Withers related a story of a fellow actor going up. This actor came in with the wrong phrase during a complex song in a musical, and half the cast and half the orchestra tried to follow along. The other half of the cast tried to follow the conductor, who resolutely refused to denigrate the integrity of the music by following along.  Jeff was torn.  He didn’t know what to do.  So, he gave up.  He stood on the stage and watched the mayhem, and started to laugh. Uncontrollably.  And the image of Jeff Withers standing stage right, trying to sing, but giving in to the chaos, doubled over in fits of hysterical laughter, made tears squirt out of my eyes.  Perpendicular.

*forgot a line


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