I am returning home from Helena, Montana after a whirlwind weekend. Fly in on Friday. Adjudicate and catch a show on Saturday, thanks to Grandstreet Theatre. Fly back to STL on Sunday. Catch a concert at school Sunday evening.
And now Finals Week is here, with juries during the first three days of the week.
Grandstreet staff booked a room for me at The Sanders, Helena’s Bed & Breakfast. The hospitality was wonderful.
I was especially delighted to find that the B&B is owned and operated by a great-grandson of one of the five Ringling Bros. Given my newfound circus interests, I enjoyed seeing some artifacts, including original elephant headgear from the Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus, photos and memorabilia, a show-ring saddle (now refurbished) from Alf. Ringling’s family, and loads of cards and prints.
Grandstreet Theatre hosts an annual scholarship competition for some of the 200 or so students in their youth program. I spent the day adjudicating auditions, as part of a team of a local actress, and a Seattle-based stage director. We made a great team! The kids were so well-prepared thanks to the Grandstreet education staff, led by the wonderful Marianne Adams.
Saturday evening we took in a production of The Bridges of Madison County. I had listened previously to the cast album, and I teach a couple of these songs, but this was a new show for me. It’s quite effective. And when “It all fades away” finally hits as his 11-o’clock-number, the show feels magical. And when she sings the closing number, “Always better,” the tears flow yet again.
The solid cast in Helena made the most of a difficult score by Jason Robert Brown.