by James Haro
Happy Valentine’s Day all you lonely hearts! I’m a certainly a sentimentalist at spirit, but I’ll admit, I’m a lazy romantic, which doesn’t get me far on V-Day. However, despite my short comings, my hope is that anyone who reads this has love in their life, the nerve to go out and find it, or the vision to see the love already present.
Now that I’ve been writing at we PLAY different for a few weeks, I feel more comfortable putting my personal story out there for you LA theatre folk, or anyone else who’ve had the privilege to associate with the team at Boston Court. This won’t be gaudy online journal crap, I’ll try to make it interesting and it has a purpose. This is a theatre blog after all, and simply put I’d like to share on February 14, 2011 one of the many ways theatre has changed my life.
So, I give you, a love story produced by Hal Prince (indirectly):
“I met this perfectly marvelous girl…”
It was the summer of 2006. Sometimes life has a funny way of allowing people to stumble into your life, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, they just happen to stay put. The musical “Cabaret” tells the story of a wayward American author in search of inspiration who travels to pre-Nazi Berlin to write his new novel. Of course, he had nothing to write about. Then he met Sally Bowles, a bawdy singer at the seedy Kit-Kat-Klub who altered all of his plans and ended up being the spark he was looking for. I was 16 when I came upon the opportunity to work on this piece. My high school director generously gave me the role of Cliff Bradshaw, the American. This after only one previous show under my belt. She also generously gave me an excellent actress to work beside. Her name was Monet Hurst-Mendoza, my Sally Bowles.
Monet was an enigma to me. She came from out of nowhere but she was always a hair away. At the time she had just returned from her first year away to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She was always a Pasadena girl, born and raised, and we both attended La Salle High School. But this is where the fun begins. When I was a Freshman she was a Senior, but we had no idea the other existed. We must have, however, at least seen each other before. She was always about campus in various performance capacities, I must have laid my eyes on her before.We might have even bumped into each other in a hall way, but our lives had never intersected, not until “Cabaret”.
After our first read through she introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Monet. I guess we’ll be working together. Let me get your number so we can go out for ice cream or something.” My heart melted. Here was this college girl making advances on me at the first opportunity she could. I was flattered to say the least, but then again, I have a tendency to exaggerate meaning when it comes to the polite gestures of others. At any rate, I started to see her more frequently with rehearsals and all and, I have to say, I kind of dug this chick. She was sharp, funny, out going, and extremely talented. There was no question that I would eventually fall for this one, but at the time I thought it not all that wise. She was three years older and lived across the country. No, we’d have to restrict our relationship to amiable theatre collaborators.
But I’m not the best at listening to my own advice. So I concocted a plan. After all, her and I had been hanging out, and going to small venues to watch indie bands and it turned out that we had a lot in common as far as taste and humor. As it turned out there was kissing involved in this show. I know, leave it to a high school boy to take advantage of a stage direction. I decided that at some point I would ask her if we could run lines, very casually; we had been doing so often at various times anyway. I would choose a scene that led into a part where we had to kiss and I would, you know, just go for it. One night we went to another rock show and I knew the time had come. We were in between acts and she had just come back from the merch-table. I asked if we could run lines. She agreed and it was all going to plan. Then, as I was about to go in for the smooch, the next band came on…The story doesn’t end there though. I got my shot later that night as we were riding an escalator to the parking garage. I asked if we could continue running lines. Same scene that got interrupted. We kissed. She sure was surprised. I kept the scene going, she forgot her next line. I felt a little proud, she seemed to enjoy it. I may have been wrong but later events would suggest otherwise.
There is a funny term I just heard for the first time the other day, “show-mance.” It’s when romance springs from a production. It so happened that Monet and I became the stage couple that you all remember gagging at when you were in high school theatre. Well, almost five years later we’re still going strong. We survived the pitfalls of a long distance relationship and are still trudging along in our shorter distance relationship (Philly to NY). The stage was where we began our long term affair and our plan is to pay it back by continuing to work toward its benefit. We now operate the Angry Patrons blog together and have plans to launch many projects as artistic collaborators. We owe our love to theatre, and we’ll always be thankful for “Cabaret.”
James Haro is a Los Angeles native currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, seeking a BS in Entertainment and Arts Management, Theatre Concentration. He co-operates a blog at www.AngryPatrons.WordPress.com .