Theatre Thank You

Inscribed Clay bell. This little clay bell was given to me as a theatre gift for performing in “Royal Hunt for the Sun”. As part of the Colorado Concert Ballet (now just the Colorado Ballet), we used to dance/act in various productions at the Bonfils Theater in Denver.

I debuted as an actress in “The Most Happy Fella”, a song about Standing on the Corner, Watching All the Girls Go By. The director chose ME for a little (miniscule) solo: I was to walk alone across the stage, smile at the singer, drop a hanky and flirt. I had never flirted in my real life, how did one do it? On the last night I was persuaded by older cast members that it was tradition to have a little extra fun and I was given a pair of lacy underwear to drop instead of the hanky. End of theatrical innocence…

Then there was “Finian’s Rainbow” for which I was cast as Susan the Silent. Dancing only, but there were scenes when I was on stage with the actors, not dancing, standing still for long minutes. I remember the feeling of my hands swelling up to twice their size as I stood there – I had no idea what to do with them.

My biggest role in the adult shows (children’s theatre being another matter) was as Dressy Tessy Tura, the stripper in “Gypsy,” acting and singing “You’ve got to have a gimmick.” My gimmick was that I danced on pointe as I stripped. No stripping of course; in fact my dancing teacher thought I was too young to wear a two piece bikini on stage, so I was decked out in a full leotard, red and white stripped with fringe under the boobs. For the last show, I brought in my own bikini, sewed the fringe onto it, and strutted my stuff. Boy was I mad when my jazz/modern teacher said, that’s what you should have worn from the beginning.

We got little thank you souvenirs on opening night at most performances, being unpaid and all. I have no idea why I kept this one but now it stands in for some great times. I learned about lesbians in a Bonfils dressing room (just conversation, not deed.) I slept out in the audience on the carpet between shows. And I got my first taste of the theatrical life and learned, oh yes, it was the life for me!

Comments

  1. Carin Higgins says:

    Dear Terri, This is my first blog post answer to your blog. I have kept many of the Bonfils items as well . I find them in a box and then set them out for awhile and smile . There was a wonderful smell too that I miss from that Theater but mostly it is the great friends I found there. Friends that pop up when I find an object like that bell from Royal Hunt of the Sun. Thanks for the reminder . Love Carin

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