Somebody’s got to work on major holidays to make them holidays for others! So, here’s to all the theatre people, along with musicians, dancers, restaurant and hotel workers, bus drivers, airport personnel and all the other service folk who work on holidays so that others get to celebrate.
For at least a couple of years we did two sold-out shows of John Medici’s stand-up confessional, PASTA, DREAD & MAZEL on New Year’s Eve at the Back Alley, complete with Martinelli’s sparkling cider (no liquor license). John was a former student of Allan’s so he directed John in this comedic retelling of his life, subtitled “How a Renaissance Prince Journeys from East Harlem to the Borscht Belt and Beyond.” The LA Times liked the absurdities of the piece and I remember some huge laughs from the audience, delighted to be somewhere safe and snug among friends in their neighborhood theatre, ushering in the new year together.
That preparation for working the midnight shift helped a lot when years later I became executive producer of the LA County’s Holiday Celebration (broadcast live on KCET/PBS). I just couldn’t wrap my head around why we had trouble getting people to work the show on Christmas Eve. Don’t all real theatre folk work the holidays? Aren’t we here to make wonderful memories for others while we’re also making them for ourselves? In the days of the Back Alley, it was for 93 people at a time; at the Holiday Celebration it was for 6,000 people or more, but really, it was the same.