Friday, March 31, 2006

For Lawrence....

Last week I went to my friend Kathi's bridal shower that she threw for her daughter Erin's upcoming nuptials. It was a sort of coed bridal shower/getting to know you party for each other's families. Kathi and her family are all musicians and come from heavy jazz backgrounds. They have a really beautiful brownstone in Park Slope and naturally there was plenty of live music and everyone was taking turns and serenading the bride & groom to be. My friend, Nicole Hudson was there from St. Louis and we were all singing songs...I sang "Natural Woman" and "Out Here On My Own" because Erin told me that she told people that she had "A Celebrity" coming over. I love going over to Kathi & Jim's house because they remind of a very special & happy time in my life. I met Kathi and her family when we were all performers at The New York Youth Theater. I don't remember what show we met on (it was either The Wiz or Once on This Island) but I do remember that I liked her immediately and we just sort of "clicked" and we have been friends ever since. My friend Lawrence (for whom this blog is named) was the Creative Director of the Theater and credit him for pulling "it" out of me....

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Many, many, many (lol) years ago, I saw an ad in "Backstage" for singers/dancers for an upcoming production of The Wiz. Now, I had been bitten by the theater bug early in junior high school but a severe case of stage fright kept me from doing anything about my "itch"...so I decided to muster up my courage and go to that audition for The Wiz. So I arrive at the address listed on the ad and find myself standing in front of this er...shabby church. I see a flyer saying that the auditions are down in the basement. Now please know that The Wiz is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Broadway shows...I mean...I have seen it FOUR TIMES!!!! So unfazed I duck my head down and enter....I am amazed at how er...shabby it really is and I take one look at the "Theater" and say to myself..."There ain't now way in HELL they are doing The Wiz in this little ass room". But I decide to overcome my fright and ride the process out. My name gets called and I go in say a few words and meet Lawrence (Hell...I can't even remember if he was even sitting there now) I sing a song and he tells me to wait out side. After everyone auditions he calls us back in the uh.."theater" and announces who they want to call back. Everyone who isn't called leaves and then this big greek looking chick comes out and announces that she's about to teach us a "Simple Dance Combination"...to which my eyes get really big and I think to my self...."Well, THAT'S THAT...hell, I can't dance...time to go" and I excuse myself to go to the ladies room and never returned to the audition.

But that Lawrence, decided he would track me down...he called me a few months later to ask me if I would be interested in being in a new show he was casting called "Ride to Freedom"....I told him I couldn't play a slave and I felt for sure that was the last I would hear from him. But then he called me a few months later and asked me to take a part in his new show "The Sick Boy" and he wrote the part of Geraldine the School Crossing Guard with me in mind. How could I say no? I took the part and I became a kid again each and everytime I stepped on his stage...playing parts I would have never dreamt of playing. Singing songs I have listened to my whole life and bringing it to life for someone else....Of course he spoiled me rotten and I never had to audition for anything after my initial audition...because of Lawrence...I did Godspell...(This show was on Broadway when I was a kid but I never got to see it) Oh Bless the Lord my Soul is one of my favorites from the soundtrack. I played Evillene in The Wiz, Osaka in Once On This Island, Mrs Hannigan in Annie and he even wrote an entire children's play called "The Lights" based on a character that he created for me...Madame Starless Nightsky...(Night-SKY...Night-SKY!!!" A holiday hating villan who eats lights. I wore a big pink fur coat and big pink wig...I have a big poster of myself from that show....I had kids running for the exits....lol To this day my mom says that this was the show that she enjoyed me in the most. That theater experience that Lawrence gave me changed my life and help me find myself.

Today, Lawrence sent me an email because, I failed to give him so much as a mention in my blog and I saw him a few months ago (He lives in Toronto) and we had a wonderful dinner together (Korean BBQ...Yum!). And he wrote me to tell me that his new theater company is thriving....He also asked me if I'd like to reprise my role as Madame Starless Nightsky in The Lights!......

I'd like nothing more.

Thanks Lawrence!

5 comments:

Lawrence said...

Well! (and if you know THE WIZ, you get the reference)-- I was just busting Sharon's chops-- it's like when a friend of mine used to go to therapy and I would ask if I got mentioned... totally joking. La Quinn was an INSTITUTION at New York Youth Theater, our resident diva, and don't let her fool you-- she was a big ole softy-- the kids loved her and she loved them (well, most of them-- there were a few she might have squashed had she been given the chance). She mentions the wig she wore in THE LIGHTS but I wonder if she remembers the time she took it off between her scenes and forgot to put it back on before her next entrance, and didn't even realize it until she got backstage and found the Stage Manager twirling it on her finger. And thanks for always being willing to sing a little "And I Am Telling You" at my request of "Give me a little Effie". In any case, Quinny, thanks for the shout-out, and for making those NYYT days that much more enjoyable! Keep workin it cuz you deserve it! See you soon, Love, LA

Anonymous said...

can you please tell me what the website is so that i can look at some clothes?

Anonymous said...

Lawrence is the best! Waving from the wings...

-D

Suezette b.k.a. Mz.Black Geisha said...

You've got to post a copy of the poster!!

Camille said...

Hi, this is Camille, I want to now are there places looking for petite plus size models? I'm only 5'3?