Monday, August 30, 2010

The Wiz and Me - Part Two

Recently I blogged about the first time I saw the original Broadway tour of The Wiz on stage and how it pushed me into a career in the theatre.

I began my theatre work as a Production Assistant at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. In 1984 I was working on a musical that was being choreographed by a lovely woman named Carmen De Lavallade. On opening night I discovered that Carmen De Lavallade was married to Geoffrey Holder and that HE was coming to the opening night performance!

Geoffrey Holder was the director, costume designer, and artistic conscience of the original production of The Wiz. He is also an actor and he had recently played Punjab in the film version of Annie and was well known for his 7-Up commercials as the "un-cola" man. I mentioned to Carmen that I wanted to meet him and she said, "Of course!"

I'd had only a little warning. I called home and asked my mom to bring me my Wiz LP which she kindly did. I also borrowed the Polaroid camera from the stage management office and snapped one photo of him (see above).

Carmen introduced us, but he was on his way out to a party. There was only time for a quick hello. I told him The Wiz tour had been what made me go into theatre work. Then Geoffrey Holder signed my Wiz album. I wished we'd had a chance for a longer conversation - but that would have to wait until our next meeting.

1 comment:

Ozmahime said...

How cool to meet one of your idols like that? Closest I've come to that is randomly talking to J Micheal Stracynzki when I worked as customer service for AT&T. I've met some other famous people but not with such spontaneity. I didn't know you were involved in theatre... in addition to writing I'm really interested in all forms of storytelling, including acting.

Really cool story.