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My Life on the Not-So-Wicked Stage
"For many years I worked in theatre as an actor, stage manager, director. I'll give you a description of some of the shows on which I've worked, and you'll identify the show. Break a leg!"
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
I made my first stage appearance at the age of four as a baby bird in a pantomime at Birmingham's Theatre Royal (that's the Birmingham in the UK, by the way). The pantomime was about two children who were abandoned in the forest by their wicked uncle. What's the name of the fairy tale on which the panto was based?
Hansel and Gretel
Babes in the Wood
Puss in Boots
When I was 12 I danced the part of the wicked fairy in the ballet 'The Sleeping Beauty' (it was a production in which all the dancers were children). Who was the mean creature who condemns Princess Aurora to prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday?
When I was 13, I appeared in one of Shakespeare's greatest hits. The play is a comedy set in Athens and it is about thwarted love, mistaken identity, a ducal wedding, a falling-out between the King of the Fairies and his missus, and a troop of artisans who decide to perform a play. I was the mischievous right-hand of the King of the Fairies and my name was - ?
At age 13, I also performed in another of Shakespeare's comedies. This play takes place on an island, and the lead characters are a magician and his daughter, a witch (who is never seen onstage) and her monster son, the obligatory handsome prince, and a sprite. I was the sprite. What was the name of my character?
When I was 17, I appeared in another Shakespearean comedy about a young woman who is shipwrecked, disguises herself as a boy and hires on as a page to the local duke. The duke is wooing a wealthy young woman and sends his 'pageboy' as his emissary to her. The young woman falls in love with the 'pageboy' instead! I played the maid to the wealthy young woman. What was my character's name?
When I was 19 I landed a leading role in 'The Boyfriend', the musical that made Julie Andrews famous (I was not in the same production as Ms Andrews!). The musical is set in the 1920s and deals with the goings on of young English girls at a finishing school on the Riviera in France. My character joins an old roue in a delightful duet called "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love". What's the name of my character?
One of the best roles I ever had was that of a bedraggled secretary who "lives!" The role was created on Broadway by Peggy Cass, who also played the part in the film of the play starring Rosalind Russell in the title role of "Auntie Mame". What was the name of my character?
I met my husband when we were both serving as apprentices for one of Canada's leading theatres. He was assistant set designer and I was on the acting/stage management team. One of the actresses in one of our productions fell ill and I had to go on as her understudy. I played a whacko who kept presenting the leading man with cheese! The play is set in New York and tells the story of a playboy, the women in his life, and the playboy's eventual abandonment of his womanizing ways when he falls in love with a prim and proper young woman who lives with her parents! What's the play?
Come Blow Your Horn
The Tender Trap
Bye Bye Birdie
Barefoot in the Park
Shortly before my first baby was born I was in another Shakespearean comedy playing maid to the ingenue. The play leans on practical jokes, misrepresentation, a love affair gone awry, a marvellously malapropic constable, a jealous younger brother and a pair of antagonistic lovers. My character's name was Ursula. What was the play?
All's Well that Ends Well
A Midummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
One of my favourite shows is a delightful little British musical created by students at the Bristol Old Vic School. The plot line centres on a magic piano that makes everyone dance. I played Rowena, a dress designer's assistant who is in love with a police constable named Lancelot Boot. What was the musical?
Kick Up Your Heels
By now you've no doubt discerned that my forte is comedy, but in one year I played two very straight roles - as a thirteen year old in 'The Potting Shed' and as a young, pregnant teenager abandoned by the father of her baby and by her mother, a woman of easy virtue who takes off with a rich lover. My character is cared for by a young gay art student who lets her share his apartment and cares for her during her pregnancy and the birth of her child. What was the play?
Look Back in Anger
A Salford Tragedy
The L-shaped Room
A Taste of Honey
One of the strangest parts I ever had was that of the mother of three adult children in what had to be the most dysfunctional family of all time. The play was full of rambling conversations, none of which connected, and I had a heck of a time learning my lines because there was never any real reason to say any of them! The play was called 'Vegetable Inside' (I never figured why it was called that) and it was presented at the very first Winnipeg Fringe Festival in 1988. Which city hosts the longest-standing Fringe Festival in the world?
Back to the comedies! One of the musicals I most enjoyed playing in was 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' with book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and music by Stephen Sondheim. I played the mother of the boy who falls in love with the girl next door. What was the name of my character?
Another role I thoroughly enjoyed was that of The Wicked Witch of the West in 'The Wizard of Oz'. I don't have to explain the plot to you, do I? Can you remember who created the role of the Wicked Witch in the 1939 film starring Judy Garland?
While I'm not the biggest fan of Rogers and Hammerstein, I've appeared in more than one of their musicals. In which musical did I sing a solo entitled "When I Marry Mr. Snow"?
Flower Drum Song
I played Ado Annie, the gal with an eye for the boys in Rogers and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma!' Can you name the author of 'Green Grow the Lilacs', the book on which the show is based?
Another role I thoroughly enjoyed playing was Mrs. Squeezum in the bawdy musical comedy 'Lock Up Your Daughters', set in the 18th century (I got to sing a song called 'When Does the Ravishing Begin?'). The libretto was adapted by British actor Bernard Miles from a play by Henry Fielding. Which play?
Rape Upon Rape
She Stoops to Conquer
The Rape of the Lock
Daughter of the Regiment
Sad to say, only those who have seen a stage version of 'Oliver!' have enjoyed the song called 'That's Your Funeral' sung by Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry (Mr. Sowerberry was the undertaker to whom Mr. Bumble the beadle sold Oliver Twist). I played their daughter Charlotte who was very mean to poor little Oliver. Do you know who played Mr. Sowerberry in the original London production of 'Oliver!'
Lerner and Loewe's 'Brigadoon' is a fantasy musical set in the Scottish highlands. My character sings 'On My Mother's Wedding Day'. Who did I play?
Bonnie Jean MacLaren
One of my favourite plays is Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. I've performed in it twice, in two different roles - once as the aristocratic Lady Bracknell (I got to intone that famous line "In a handbag?") and once as the governess to the hero's ward. What was the governess' full name?
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Compiled Jun 28 12