|Not exactly the shoes I'll be wearing...|
Eight years ago, when I played Arnold in the JTMF production of Torch Song Trilogy, I wore a pair of black patent leather pumps with a 4" heel for all of 10 minutes for the opening monologue. I did okay walking in them, though I certainly didn't do any dancing in them.
In Hairspray, I'm wearing 2" heels for much of the show. There's a white pair and a red pair. I started wearing the red ones the other night while working on "Welcome to the 60's." Tonight, my 'husband" Tom and I got together to work on "You're Timeless to Me"* and I wore them again. I was given the red pair to take home, though I think I'll be requesting the white ones instead, as that's the pair I'll be wearing for most of the show.
My calves are very angry with me, right now. It's not that I can't walk or dance in them (though they are a little large and I have requested heel inserts). It's the workout they're giving my calves. Not that my calves are bad. Quite the contrary. Regular readers have seen them in my posts about the tattoos that adorn each of them (something else that must be addressed for this production). Gentlemen, spend an hour or so in a perpetual releve', walking only on the balls of your feet and you'll have some idea of what I'm experiencing right now. Not that I'm complaining. Far from it. Edna Turnblad is one of those iconic roles that an actor of my age and size is more than happy to tackle. And the shoes make my legs look amazing (Ladies, I completely understand why you do it). And I'm sure that as rehearsals progress, the pain will ebb and my calves will return to the heart-shape they had in the 90's (any leg men out there?).
It never ceases to amaze me what we will endure for the love of our art. Wigs; gowns; dresses; togas; tunics, tights; armor; hats; tuxes; suits; shaving and heavy makeups are all part of the world in which I've spent most of my life. If I'm not used to it after more than 35 years, I should give up.
Tickets are still available for some performances of the MCCC/JTMF co-production of Hairspray. If you want to see Uncle P dance in patent leather pumps, I suggest you order yours now. You can do so here, by phone at 609-570-3333 or at the Kelsey Box Office, one hour before curtain.
*Here's a version of the number from the London production, featuring former Monkee, Mickey Dolenz: