Picture it…Lyric at Oklahoma City University, summer of 1997…I pull up about 4PM to get ready for the box office that evening. The director, Jim Alexander, approached me as I entered the building and said he needed to talk to me. It seems that the gentleman playing Adam Pontipee, in SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVE BROTHERS, had come down with some sort of throat infection and wouldn’t be going on. For whatever reason we did not have understudies that year but Jim asked if I would be willing to go on…script in hand…Jim would take over my role as the minister. A thousand things went through my mind and I meekly said yes and then immediately went into music rehearsals with the music director. I broke down several times during the rehearsal and had to take some “time outs”. One of our costumers, Elin Bhaird, came in to quickly throw together a costume…one of the assistant stage managers was to be my shadow for the evening (which actually turned into 5 performances). I went on, script in hand. Funny thing, mom and dad were in the audience that evening with an old friend of theirs. This was already scheduled. Paula went up to them in the lobby before the show and said something like, “well, do you think he can pull it off?”. Mom brushed it off with something like, “Of course, he’s got a small role”. Paula filled her in. During intermission, mom leaned over to the lady ahead of her and asked if the script in hand bothered her…she said it did…for about 5 minutes. I remember my curtain call…the entire audience leapt to their feet and cheered. Tears filled my eyes…it was exhilarating…I pulled it off. When we were at OCU we rehearsed in 2 studios downstairs…they were cramped and I rarely stayed in to watch…except for these rehearsals. For whatever reason, I watched every rehearsal…as if I was meant to. I guess I was. Oh…we’ve had understudies ever since.
Ben has been Lyric’s Ticket Operations Manager since 1997 and is a frequent performer on our stage.