Monday, March 08, 2004

Both halves of my trip to Iowa were great!

First of all, the 25-year Follies reunion was a blast. Follies is this huge song-and-dance extravaganza staged every March in the newly renovated Paramount Theatre by the Cedar Rapids Symphony Guild. The show is patterned after the Ziegfeld Follies, with a cast of hundreds singing, dancing, doing goofy skits and parading around in fabulous costumes. The show has an epic budget and a full orchestra, and it always ends up being pretty spectacular.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of Follies for 10 years -- and I even co-choreographed it with my friend Carol for my last two years. (I was also very fortunate to pretty much star in the Jake Show every time I did Follies -- which was a bit of a source of frustration when I moved to Chicago and suddenly I wasn't the big fish anymore.) Anyway, the reunion brought back a bunch of people I hadn't seen in ages, and the reunion show featured a bunch of memorable segments (including stuff from the aforementioned Jake Shows) from the last 24 productions. It was great to see people, it was great to reminisce ... and it was nice to be the center of attention again after living anonymously in Chicago for almost four years. :)

The second half of my Weekend of Fun involved the nephew's fifth birthday. He'd already had his official party without me at a local firehouse (where they let all the kids get into the beds and then jump up and run for the trucks when the alarm sounded). I got to celebrate with Gunnar and the family (and practically nobody else) this morning at the almost deserted PlayStation, a five-story indoor padded jungle gym with slides and tunnels and bridges and ramps and huge bins of those colorful plastic balls -- and they even let adults climb around with the kids! Woo-hoo! It was way too much fun, though my 35-year-old knees couldn't take much more than about 20 minutes of crawling around in the hard plastic tubes. So while the niece and nephew played and explored and exhausted their bountiful supplies of energy, my sister and I sat in the big ball bin and gossiped. Just like good parents.

Now I'm back in Chicago for a brief moment before I wing off to Boston in the morning to observe focus groups. Whee.