Music Man

Music Man Mike Lawrenc
Mike Lawrence as Harold Hill in The Music Man.  Photo by M.C.

My friend has always wanted to be a con artist. Mike Lawrence just checked off his bucket list performing Harold Hill in The Music Man.

The opening scene is of all the traveling salesmen on the train heading into River City. It’s a great setup. The older salesman explains that there’s a salesman he’s never met, who sells sheet music, instruments, and uniforms to the people and then skips town. The part I love is the other salesmen bumping along with the train as they talk and make music out of the jostling. All the while, Harold Hill (Mike Lawrence) has his back to the audience, sitting on his luggage, and listening to the story, bumping along.

It’s a huge cast that fills a small stage. The kids are equally as entertaining. The girl that plays Amarylis gets a reaction from the audience with her nastiness. Who knew kids could be so mean? In the end, quiet Winthrop (Andrew Kheriaty) sings with his lisp. And Lawrence performs with his daughter Kellen, who plays Dorothy, one of The Del Sartre Society Dance Team.

As the town gets distracted by Lawrence and always ending up singing, he and Marian Paroo (Jennifer Kheriaty) pass each other. Marian, the librarian and music teacher, senses he’s a con man. But I can’t help but notice the rapport the two have. A good story always has a love story. Even though falling in love with a liar isn’t at the top of anyone’s bucket list, it’s believable that Marian ignores the “roomers” about the salesman and falls for him. They sweetly sing the well-known tune, “Till There Was You.”

Then there are other songs with made up words. They’re entertaining, but what does shipoopi mean? A made up word for a dance? “Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little and Goodnight Ladies” is a funny song. Balzac!

But the story isn’t just entertaining. It seriously made me think about all the con artists that we have all encountered at one time or another—whether it be a salesman or a politician. You know you’ve seen a good show when it entertains and makes one think.

The Musical Theatre Village is in a business section of Irvine, but when you walk in, it feels like you’re in someone’s home with photos on the wall.

Musical Theatre Village • 36-C Mauchly • Irvine • CA • 92618 The Music Man runs through Sun., June 30, 2019. Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for students.

Sawdust Treasure

Sawdust Winter Fantasy 2018
Sawdust Winter Fantasy 2018. Photo by M.C.

I missed Sawdust this past summer. So I had to go to Winter Fantasy Sawdust. The art and craft festival is pretty much just on weekends. And tomorrow is the last day. There is a chill in the air and this is the busiest I’ve seen Sawdust. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

I love walking through the threshold of what looks like a hobbit village. Santa is in the house and trees are decorated by local schools near his sleigh. Live music is top deck. As we saunter through the pathways, a man plays acoustic guitar next to the wheel that turns out water in a pond.

Barbara Schuppe 1
Barbara Schuppe at Winter Fantasy Sawdust. Photo by M.C.

Around the corner, a diamond catches my eye. Not a real diamond. A cheeky silver ring with a diamond carved in it. Barbara Schuppe with her I’m A Treasure Jewelry has a rock n’ roll flare. Some rings have hearts with wings. Chunky linked necklaces are cool with hearts, “diamonds,” or trees carved on a charm. A mirror in the shape of a diamond with black wings hangs on a pink wall. The style is a cross between Betsey Johnson and Ed Hardy. Barbara explains it’s “Ugly Sweater Day” so she wore her pink Barbie sweater.

On Barbara’s business card it says, “This diamond tells you how uniquely beautiful you are, a sparkling treasure, enriching the world. Love what you love, celebrate who you are. Be Yourself!”

Her smile lights up her face as she says, “We’re all unique treasures.”

We chat about self-acceptance and in her Barbarism she adds, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” She passes on her wisdom and inspires people along the way. She’s like a muse or a fairy godmother.

Sawdust is own of my favorite places. At home, I slip off my shoes. A little piece of bark falls out. Ah. All the bark is a reminder of the artists carving out handmade treasures with different woods and metals.

May you find your treasure in Jesus this Christmas surrounded by family and friends! Merry Christmas!

Winter Fantasy Sawdust • 935 Laguna Canyon Road • Laguna Beach • CA • 92651

Open until December 16, 2018 from 10am to 7pm. Tickets are $8 for adults.