One of my favorite all-time movies is "The Sting," starring that dynamic duo of cinema, Robert Redford and Paul Newman. We're playing the movie for our New Year's Eve Bash this year. After the movie came out in 1973, I spent all my time doing impressions of Robert Shaw's character, Londagin (the object of the sting operation), and laughing at myself. Glorious days of my youth.
Paul Newman passed on some time ago, but Redford is till around. The question is, is he retired or not? He announced in August that he was retiring, but by then he was in post-production for his latest role in "The Old Man and the Gun." This tells the tale ("mostly true") about the bank robber and prison escape artist Forrest Tucker, who died in prison in 2004. Despite the wrinkles on his face, Redford can still charm his way through a scene like nobody's business. "The Old Man and the Gun" December 14-18. Click on the poster to watch the trailer.
Redford is 82 years old. Clint Eastwood is six years older, at 88. He also said he was going to retire from acting after he finished "Gran Torino" (2008). Now he's appearing in a new film, "The Mule," about an old man who's stuck between a rock and a hard place in his personal and financial life. After he responds to an opportunity to make some extra dough, he finds himself in the horrifying vortex of drug cartels and DEA agents cracking down. He had no idea. But now he has some critical decisions to make. Well. We'll get that film in eventually, too. These are too good to pass up because these guys are screen legends. Who knows but these really are their last film roles?
Retiring from a career is a critical decision. I've made that decision myself. Thing is, Eastwood and Redford still know how to do it. And film goers of all ages are enjoying these guys in films past and present.
Following the conclusion of our successful run of "Willy Wonka" December 8, we will return to cinema on December 14 with "Old Man" and follow it up with "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" December 21-23 - a breathtaking new variation on a classic holiday story. Visit our Cinema page for more info.
Meanwhile, please plan to join us for a fun New Year's Eve party. We'll begin at 6:30 Dec. 31 with "The Sting" and ring in the new year with champagne at 9:00 pm - allowing us to synchronize with New York's ball drop at midnight and still get a good night's sleep.
Those of us with any stage experience have probably learned the hard truth about that phrase: "the show must go on."
In 2003 I played the role of the Scarecrow in our production of "The Wizard of Oz." In those days we would pack up the entire show, costumes, sets and all, and take it to Waitsburg for performance on the high school stage.
In the days prior to that last show, I started to get sick. Really, really sick. I didn't have an understudy, so I hastened to the local doctor and got drugs.
But by then it was too late to do any good. By the time of the performance, I had no singing voice. Heck, I barely had any voice at all. I felt like I'd been run over. I had gotten run down (over)playing the part, and there was nothing left.
But (yes, here it is), the show must go on. It simply has to do. It did not occur to me to report that I was too sick to do the last show. People had paid good money to see it. You can't do "Oz" without a Scarecrow.
So, I did the show with the 5% reserves I had left. My friend Dan Nechodom (Tinman) wasn't feeling much better. We strategically kept two bottles of Chloraseptic off stage right and left, and sprayed our mouths after each exit just to keep from passing out from the pain of trying to sing.
After the show I went home, fell into bed, and didn't get up for three days.
And I'd do it all over again. (And I have, many times.)
The group of people who come together to do a live musical production put in untold hours of time and incredible amounts of sacrificial energy to put on a show. It's hard work. And worth every minute when comes show time.
So, please, do yourself a favor and buy tickets to see "Willy Wonka" Nov. 15-Dec. 8. It's magical and there's nothing like it in the world.
"We are the Music Makers. We are the Dreamers of Dreams." --Willy Wonka