Tonight was the first rehearsal for Meet Me in St. Louis (Louis). I wondered how the Louis was to be pronunced (Louis or Louie) and while reading the script it did not take long to discover which it was. In the very first scene, it is little precocious Tootie who makes it abundantly clear how it is. The first night was a rather informal introductory session between the “Smith Family Octet:” Tootie, Agnes, Lon, Rose, Esther, Mrs. Smith, Katie, and Grandpa Prophater. You will be able to see why Mr. Smith is not part of the group if you come and “meet me at the Fair.” I tell you the music for the group will take some work as there is all kinds of out there harmonies, strange intervals, and KEY changes (the poor musicians). Definitely some work at the keyboard is called for, but we did manage to get through the first four songs of the show (three involving the ensemble and one featuring the lead, Esther). We may have to be careful because it seems that the title song is reprised throughout a great deal of the show.
As for Grandpa Prophater himself, I foresee a great deal of makeup. The actress playing my “daughter” while not OLD is more mature than I. I have yet to meet the “son-in-law”. I think the young people portraying the children will be fun to work with. “Lon” looks like he could be a college freshman. “Esther” has a youthful appearance and a wonderful voice. The two youngest “Agnes” and “Tootie” seem like they will be able to charm audiences.
I’m not entirely sure what the director envisions for Grandpa’s appearance but I am reminded of that wonderfully gifted character actor Nackvid Keyd whose sole cinematic credit was as Mr Dawes, Sr. in Mary Poppins. I frequently catch myself playing, replaying, slo-moing, rewinding, and fast forwarding his appearance in the bank everytime I watch the movie. It seems like a rather dull time will be had by all (HEHEHEHE). KIDDING OF COURSE!