"Show me a business like Show Business 
and I'll show you no business at all"

written by Jody Berry

Well there I am in Florida starting rehearsals for " I Am A Camera"...a fabulous play that was way ahead of its time; it became the musical Cabaret. The play opened on Broadway in the early 50's with Julie Harris playing the lead and she won a Tony for that performance, and, luckily in this revival it's me portraying Sally Bowles...

The play opened on Broadway in the early 50's with Julie Harris playing the lead and she won a Tony for that performance, and, luckily in this revival it's me portraying Sally Bowles...

You see, all the characters in the musical Cabaret are derived from this play: Fraulien Shchneider - Fritz - Christopher - Clive - Natalia.

So there we all are rehearsing away--and then their was none. We were all gone...had too "Evacuate." "Don't Wait!" Nowhere to hide in Flori-duh, according to Gov Scott and The Weather Channel, so the director went to Atlanta and everyone else scattered. But the director declared, before he took off, "The show will go on." I ended up in Pensacola, which was probably the only area in Florida that did not get "Hit"

It was amazing: people were having weddings, a little girls had a "Frozen" party at the park by the hotel; no one had a care in the world except for the rest of Florida, which was going to hell in a hand basket and the hotel patrons and matrons, which were made up of people like me that had driven from Orlando...Marco Island...Miami...The Keys for hours and hours to get out of harms way. Well, after driving out of harms way at the only place I was able to make a reservation, I highly recommend Pensacola for a visit.  Absolutely charming and artsy downtown district--very hip--I loved it. Stayed at The Grand Hotel Of Pensacola, a 1912 train station with a hotel over it. Just great! Too bad it wasn't a real vacation. 

Well after driving bumper to bumper since all of Florida was leaving at the same time and returning bumper to bumper because all of Florida was returning at the same time, I drove right back to the theatre and went right back into rehearsals.

Well, everyone survived. The director's rented apartment got completely flooded, but, "the show must go on" and by George with limited rehearsals and no elevators that were operating close to the theater, honest to g-d we were amazingly Standing Room Only. I mean some people did not get their power restored until three days before we opened, but they came...they saw...they liked. I'm not saying this because I was in it but I couldn't have worked with a better cast. This cast was cast perfectly  by our director John Sbordone, who somehow made this all come together.

John Van Drutens' writing is so specific to the era--and the accents and characterizations--that Earl Levine as Fritz (one of his many credits was "The Fantasticks" at The Sullivan Theatre in New York for over six years), Victoria Dale (from Broadway to The West End), Robert O. Dimsey an actor that I have had the pleasure of doing Billie Dawn opposite his Harry Brock in Born Yesterday, Leigh Ann Singleton doing an amazing German accent who had just done Mortica in The Addams Family, Nancy Howell who played my "Mummy" to perfection--you would have been scared of her too--and of course Tyler Adcock my co-hort thru the entire play, who put his all into it and transformed himself into his character completely.

Some performances, the audiences were "listeners," some hysterical, some brought to tears and for me??? It was just the best experience. Before I started out to do this show an actress friend of mine in LA (Suzanne LaRusche) said, "Annie you were born to do Sally Bowles." Another dancer friend of mine near Miami (Joanie Helgesen) said after seeing this, "You WERE Sally Bowles." And you know from the top of my head to the tips of my toes I will always be grateful to have the chance to move an audience and become as one with this fantastic character who could change her mood mid-sentence--that was my Tony.

"Show me a business like show business and I'll show you no business at all...."




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