As I watched the Democratic Convention last week, I was happy to get a glimpse of Barack Obama's life story. Like many people, I didn't know much about him, though that didn't deter me from being absolutely blown away by some of his speeches early on in his campaign. In fact, I had originally been a Hillary supporter, but after I saw Obama speak, I knew this was the person who could truly be an amazing Commander and Chief. Every time someone threw some garbage his way, he handled it with great poise and calm, and I believe that's what this country needs in a leader.
Watching his story and watching history take place, made me think about my own stories and the people who brought me into this world (like my Dad and grandparents pictured left). My Mom had done some genealogy research when I was a teen, and she made a huge family tree, tracing our roots back to the Goddard and Daniel families of the 1600s! The Goddards were mostly from England and the Daniel family was actually the Scottish Daniell. Both families came to America and men from both sides ended up marrying Cherokee women. The families settled in the middle of the country, but moved west in the 40s.
The current play I'm working on makes me think so much of my family, because it takes place in the 40s, which my grandparents and great-aunts and uncles always had such great stories about. I have a feeling they'd enjoy Johnny On A Spot, which has some delicious history itself in that it opened on Broadway right before America became involved in World War Two, so it didn't get a chance to play long. In fact, this production is the first Off Broadway production to happen since then!
It was written by Charles MacArthur who wrote a ton of plays including Twentieth Century and The Front Page which became a film of its own title and was later remade as His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant. Johnny On A Spot crackles with that same fast-paced wit and has a huge cast of characters! There are 3 women and 13 men! Isn't that wild? Usually it's the other way around, and I appreciate that Mr. MacArthur lets the ladies take the limelight.
I play Barbara Webster, a feisty little southern belle who I'm sure modeled herself after Scarlett O'Hara! She is an absolute whirlwind of a character who comes onstage and simply stirs up trouble. And I have to laugh, because as a kid, I used to watch Gone With the Wind whenever it came on TV, and I just loved it! I think my parents had even taken me to an actual theatrical showing of the film where it played with an intermission. And what little girl didn't want to be either Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz or Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind? Well, I have to simply marvel because I've gotten to play both these character types this year when I sang as Judy Garland in Hell's Belles and now as Miss Barbara Webster in Johnny On a Spot.
So Johnny opens this week for previews! Wowza! And it's my first lengthy run Off Broadway (5 weeks), so it's really a time for celebration! Yahoo!