Way back in 1958 I got a call from my agent, Ruth Webb. A new theatre in Florida was rehearsing The Fantasticks without a “Matt”.
Would I step in? I had played the role two years earlier in Myrtle Beach, so I said “Yes!” The Alhambra Dinner Theatre was a beauty, complete with a fountain and palm trees out front. The company was happy to see me, and we had an idyllic run. Fast forward to 2017.
I received a phone call from Tod Booth, the current Artistic Director of the Alhambra, asking if I would play “Captain Andy” in Show Boat. I flew down to Jacksonville in early February and went to work. The theatre was as beautiful as it had been 49 years earlier, and the company once again was a joy. Adding to the excitement, George Ballis, who had directed our Fantasticks production those may years ago, took in a performance and waited with his wife to see me. We hugged and reminisced. It was a happy event.
Incidentally, the Alhambra, celebrating its half-century mark, published a hard-cover coffee table book, with all those years in text and photos. And there we were! — me and Joelle Jons, as “Matt” and “Luisa” — in a scene from our show. How’s that for a welcome back?