My Life in the Theatre: The Final Show of The Last Supper

It ain't over 'til it's over.

So it really is over and I am suffering from severe theatre withdrawal. I can't stop singing the songs from The Last Supper; my son told me "Ma, the show is over. You can stop practicing." I sadly unpacked my "theatre bag" and put away the sheet music for safe keeping. My calendar no longer contains rehearsal dates and call times. It all went by much too quickly.

Our closing weekend was sold out; that was a wonderful thing for the . Season ticket holders could not sit in their regular seats because they waited too long to call to reserve them. Some people sat on the prop couches and extra comfy chairs and some were turned away. One of my students came with her entire family. It was so great to play to a full house and the audiences seemed to enjoy the show. Some groups laughed more than others and the same thing happened with the applause. I personally think that some people felt as if the subject matter of the show required reverent behavior. Usually by the final joyous song after our curtain call, they were far more animated and many joined us in singing "How Beautiful" using the lyrics included in the program.

The closing show was truly bittersweet. My youngest son returned to pass out the "free and endless" popcorn to patrons and charmed everyone. A friend and my parents brought me roses which I added to the garden of flowers that I had received. I couldn't help thinking that it was the last time we would sing as a choir (pit singers) next to TJ's piano. It was the last time we got to wear our beautiful costumes. The last time we said our lines, sang the songs that we had practiced so many times, and struck the final pose. I tried hard to burn it into my memory.

I hadn't realized that there are traditions that go along with the final show. The cast members signed cards for the director, stage manager and musical director and I was elected to present them and the gifts after the cast photo was taken on the stage. Roseanne Elliott (soloist) drew a picture of everyone in the cast and made copies for all of us; mine is framed and in my living room. Sharon Wilcox captured the entire show on her camera and will eventually send us all a copy. I look forward to seeing the complete show from the front.

Then we needed to "strike" the show. Ed Bassett had posted a list of chores and assigned the entire cast a job. Since I had been doing prop duty during the entire run of the show, that was the job I was assigned. "Martha" once again cleaned up, but this time "Mary" (otherwise known as Marsha Gaylord) heeded my lines in the show and helped me. This day we put away the fruit, unleavened bread, grape juice and tablecloth for the final time. Other cast members took out the faux fireplace, cleaned and vacuumed the house, collected costumes, and cleaned the dressing room. Many hands make light work and we were done in no time. Then we hugged each other goodbye.

I thanked the director and stage manager profusely for giving me this amazing opportunity and for their patience. I will be eternally grateful to them both for taking a chance on me. They thanked me for coming to "play" with them.

I have not changed my mind about reviewing this show in which I appeared, but I do want to "shout out" to all my new friends that made up this large wonderful cast. So indulge me, please.

Marsha Gaylord, the real actress I read with at the audition, was a pleasure to work with. Thanks to you for your experience and I know I will be mentioning your name in a review again soon.

Roseanne Elliot, my fellow alto, could not have been nicer to me. I so enjoyed "moving down to alto" to sing with your beautiful voice.

Guisel Aldana, our beautiful angel, you are such a sweetheart. Thank you for sharing your voice and your talent with us. You looked gorgeous in that gown.

Brett Betkoski, "Little James," you are such an amazing actor and tenor. I can't wait to see you dance in Gypsy. So glad that you made your PSC debut with me.

Maynard Elliott, so sorry about that red eye. You can blame it on Martha any time you like. "Did I wake you?" scared me every time.

Andy Sukovich, you were so great as one of the youngest apostles, Bartholomew. Make sure that you turn off that DS before it affects the speakers.

Brian Elser, "Phillip," it was so nice to work with you again. And see Andy's comment.

Dr. J. Michael Elser, you did such a great job with your character Thaddeus. And forget about that priest comment; you should definitely stay a real doctor.

Ian Deidrich, although "Peter, he has a big mouth" was probably my favorite line in the entire show, you really put it to good use during your amazing solo. Still, Judas in JCS will always be my favorite.

Art Antunes, you are truly our hero. How you learned all of Andrew's lines in such a short time is beyond my understanding and you nailed them!

Moses Jacob Beckett, "Simon," you are such an amazing performer; a true triple threat. I was thrilled to share a block with you on stage and sing against your wonderful voice.

Mark E. Rees, even when you were looking for your Leonardo lines, you kept us laughing. At least you got to sing during the curtain call. Thank you for your super woodworking skills.

Ed Bassett, "Thomas," Thanks for letting me do the announce; no one compares to you, but it sure was fun trying. Many thanks to you and Agnes for my amazing costume that I loved wearing. I really appreciate all your encouragement; it meant so much to hear that you thought I was doing well.

Lance Gaston, I never got tired of watching your excellent portrayal of Judas. We were so lucky that you were added to cast. I can't wait to see you at NVCC.

Rob Richnavsky, our Jesus, you are a most relaxed and funny guy. Thanks for your artwork. Every time I reached over you to put down the bread and "wine," I prayed I wouldn't fall on top of you.

Leon R. Case II, you were very secure in the part of Matthew. Thanks for lending your expertise.

And finally Rick Dufresne ("RD") I probably would not have made it into the audition if it hadn't been for you. You will probably never let me forget it.

For anyone who didn't get to read my bio in the actual program, here is what I wrote:

Nancy Sasso Janis (Martha) is making her PSC debut. She last appeared in the role of a nervous new teacher in the 2006 production of School House Rock Live! Jr. at Maple Hill School, where by day she is a first grade teacher. By night she fancies herself to be theatre reviewer for her blog on Naugatuck Patch.com and therefore spends a lot of time in the front row of the Phoenix Stage. A singer who does her best to act, Nancy has composed several "church songs" for special occasions and is the author of a musical show for children entitled Lessons in Mother Goose, which she hopes to produce someday.

Many thanks to the PSC trio for giving me this wonderful opportunity to view the theatre from the other side. Love and thanks to my parents, my three sons, Aunt Ruth and finally RD ("Old Jack") for inspiring me to try.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marsha G April 04, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thanks Nancy you are a sweetheart and true professional in all that you do <3
Nancy Goudreau April 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM
We were there for the 'final' weekend of the play and were impressed by the amount of talent that little theatre could hold. A very enjoyable experience!


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