Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Like Life, Life Likes Me

Last night some friends treated us to Scrooge: The Musical at a local dinner theatre. I'd never seen the play before. Somehow I missed the 1970 movie upon which the stage play was based.

(Let me insert a plug for the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse here. Candlelight is one of several excellent dinner theatres in northern Colorado. Candlelight is managed by a talented team who have assembled a core of dedicated and talented actors/employees/staff. Their repertoire and their menu are both top-notch. Their food portions may be smaller than I would like, but that's because I'm used to eating at Carino's Italian Grill, just up the road. Their performances are professional in every way, and when a show is over, you want to hang around for a few extra minutes until the last echoes fade away.

Candlelight's version of Scrooge is a Christmas delight. If I were to highlight anybody, I would shortchange the rest of the cast - and crew, and orchestra, and kitchen staff - so I won't do it. Besides, I'm tired of talking in italics and superlatives.

Scrooge is playing through December 27 at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. See their website for location and showtimes. Now, back to the blog entry.)

At a certain point in the show, the Ghost of Christmas Present appeared, and after some friendly, albeit one-sided, banter with the still-grouchy title character, the G of C P broke into song:

I like life,
Life likes me
Life and I very fully agree ...

My jaw dropped in amazement, and for an instant I traveled back in time 33 years, to the streets of Alessandria, Italy, where I was listening to someone else sing that song as we walked along. We were young Mormon missionaries, doing the good things that missionaries do, and my companion had an indomitable spirit and a song constantly running through his head. Sometimes the song couldn't stay in his head and it burst out through his lips.

He didn't sing much MoTab; it was usually something from Neil Diamond, the Beach Boys, the Guess Who, or other popular singers/bands. But this little jewel was in the Top Ten of his personal Hit Parade, and I never tired of it, although I didn't know where it had come from. We became close friends, and we have been fortunate to run into each other repeatedly (and live close to each other, a couple of times) in the years since.

So while everyone else in the theatre was enjoying the show, I was savoring memories of good friends and good times in Italy.

Later in the story, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed Scrooge his own funeral, with a chorus of (former) debtors dancing on his casket and singing

Thank you very much
Thank you very much
It's the nicest thing you've ever done for me ...

and I was swept back to Italy again. This time it wasn't my companion singing, but the sister missionaries. Once again, I sat there and savored the memories while the rest of the audience only saw singing and dancing.

As usual, I left the theatre gustatorily and emotionally satisfied, but I got a little bonus as well. I woke up this morning smiling and humming I Like Life, and I can't stop. That's why I sat down to write about it, and to tip my hat in the general direction of Jim and Laura.

(Coincidentally, the award-winning Leslie Bricusse wrote those songs, and Jim's middle name is Leslie. Sometimes in life, the jigsaw puzzle pieces just fit.)


Lindsey the Muse-r said...

That's my favorite version of "A Christmas Carol!" You're right; I did grow up hearing those songs and I love them still. I was lucky enough to come across a DVD of Scrooge a couple years ago and we've added it to the Howser family Christmas collection. You can probably find it on Amazon or maybe even youtube. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for sharing memories of my dad. Great post:)

Lindsey the Muse-r said...

p.s. I just found it on youtube. Search "scrooge the musical albert finney" and you'll find it.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

That's just such an apt mantra for you, oh storyteller. You like life, life likes you. We like you too.