Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Earning a Tony

What do you get when you cross a guy who loves to sing with Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter?

Well, I have no idea, actually. But what I do know is what happens when you cross a guy who loves to sing with a guy who dresses like Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. Because then you would have...me!

Not that I go around dressing like Steve Irwin everyday or anything. Just on special occasions. Or, rather, on one particular occasion. Because on Sunday evening, the culmination of three months of hard work came together in the musical of a lifetime: The Zoo That Knew!

Never heard of it? No surprise. It is the name of the church musical put on by the four- and five-year-old choir, affectionately known as The Praisemakers. Seven songs, thirty-five minutes, and a custom-written script by a friend of mine, Grant, who has a flare for humor.

I got to help tweak a few bits of the script, and even managed to contribute a couple extra bits of humor. Together, we were like the writers for Everybody Loves Raymond, sitting around coming up with new and innovative ways to make people laugh, while still having a story line holding things together. Although, we never actually sat around together. Nor were any of the jokes new and innovative. And there were only two of us. But aside from that...just like Everybody Loves Raymond.

So where does my love for singing, and Steve Irwin's wardrobe come in? Well, as it turns out...I was the star of the show. And by "the star", I mean the character that has the most lines, but at no point does anyone actually pay attention to me because they are too busy flashing pictures of their kid dressed up as a rhino or an elephant. And if they weren't looking at their kid, they were looking at Henry the Lion. (Not a real lion, mind you. After what happened to Roy of Siegfried and Roy, we thought it best to keep the live man-eating animals where they belong: entertaining the kids in the nursery.)

Henry was a puppet. And I was Zoomaster Bob. Dressed to look like--can you guess?--a zookeeper, which pretty much looks like Steve Irwin. Only, I never got to say, "Croikey!" It just didn't fit my character. I was the straight man, you see. Oh, I got to say two funny lines. One of those lines people actually laughed at.

And, of course, I got to sing. Most of my singing was to help the Praisemakers stay with the music; although, I did manage twelve solo lines, if you can call singing each line for the Praisemakers to echo back "singing a solo".

I suppose most of you never imagined me as a character actor. But I was told by several adoring fans that I just might earn a Tony for my performance.

Then again, these same adoring fans were videotaping close-ups of their children dressed up like caged animals, so I'm not entirely sure if they were the best examples of critical acclaim.

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