73. Hello Dolly!

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"Hello Dolly" is one of the classic American plays. It was first shown in New York City in 1964 and won 10 Tony Awards. The Tony Awards are live theater's version of the Oscars. When I was in high school, our theater department decided to put on our version of "Hello Dolly", and I just had to get involved. I wasn't an actor, but I was hoping there was something I could do, so I went to the director and asked him if he needed help. To my surprise, he said yes!

The director's name was Michael Thomas. I almost screamed in delight when he said I could be a part of the play. "Oh, my god!" I said. "I would love to be a stagehand. Are you kidding me?" A stagehand is someone who moves all the props and background in between acts. It is precision work that takes coordination between several people. I loved working in the "wings", which is what the backstage in called in theater lingo. The stage manager is the person who runs the backstage during a play, and the job carries a lot of responsibility. My first stage manager was a cool guy who liked me a lot, so I got the best assignments. "Hey George, how would you like to man the lighting?" he asked, and I jumped at the opportunity.

"You bet, boss!" I responded. That was how I got put in charge of the lighting for one of the best plays ever written. Even though this was just a high school production, we played to packed houses almost every night we were on. I did such a great job that when the theater department decided to put on "West Side Story" the next semester, they asked me if I wanted to join the team. It was such an honor to be selected, so of course my answer was yes!

      

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