Bravo

Hints of springtime descended upon us as the humid afternoon air was punctured by the percussion of dancing feet. Both Woodrow parking lots were full. And for several blocks surrounding the old school, not a parking place could be had. “Crazy For You,” Woodrow’s 40th annual musical production, was drawing to a close after a spectacular four-day run, drawing audiences from far and wide.

The classes of 1951 and 1952 were hanging from the balcony rafters, while on stage, today’s Wildcats kicked off their high-button shoes for taps.

Led by MacLain Looper, Liz Milbank, Travis Willingham, Jim Lerner, Sean Morrison, Adam Dunsworth, Xandy Smith, Caroline Chlore, Amanda Platt, Macy Halford and Calvin Roberts, the cast cooked up another corker. I crossed “42nd Street” off the top of my list after seeing this coup de theatre.

Leslie McDonel, who played lead Polly Baker, induced a pandemic of goose flesh with her rendition of “Someone to Watch Over Me” – What a Talent! The aforementioned Milbank was listed in the program as one of Woodrow’s “All-Time Favorite Females,” at which an alumnus commented: “high praise, indeed.” John Pedigo, who played Lank Hawkins, is a third-generation Wildcat. Other legacy leads were Ashley Cromeens, Molly Sherman and Todd Gaspard. Great Woodrow surnames spotted in the program were Hinckley, Zaby, Offutt, Bones, Ohm, Claxton and Keusel.

The stage had to be enlarged to hold the huge chorus line of the world’s most beautiful, friendly and talented women. Among those applauding the line was 80s musical star, Leesy Barnes, whose little sister, Honeycutt, was a stand-out.

Honored guests included Phil Johnson ’43, who choreographed Woodrow’s first musical, “Oklahoma.” Johnson used his own Wilshire dance studio, located at the southeast corner of Skillman and Mockingbird, to train his cast. Another distinguished guest, Broadway producer Roger Horchow, was rumored as saying the Woodrow cast was better than the London cast. I’ll bet he thought the lighting was better too, since Preston Bircher took time away from his job designing shows for Carnival Cruise Lines in Miami to help his mother make “Crazy.”

Marca Lee Bircher’s husband, Norman, told me they were celebrating 35 years of marriage. From my seat in the balcony, I observed Mrs. Bircher applauding longer than anyone else. I’d say Mr. Bircher is a lucky man. And so are we.

At the end of the show, God opened up the heavens with a deluge of tears, ending the run of one of the best shows ever.


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