But I'm not going to dwell on the turnout aspect of it, as all in all the reviews that we received were overwhelmingly positive, and I'm very proud of the people who worked on the show. In particular I'd like to highlight the courage and strength of Claudia Van Zeller, who played the mum Lilly in the show. Sadly, two hours before she'd been due to go onstage on one of the nights, she'd received a phone call saying her father had suddenly passed away. Can you imagine?? Lilly's first scene on stage would feature a funeral for her dead relative; she'd have to sing about putting people to rest. For Claudia to have to receive such devastating news was... well, devastating, as I can only imagine!
Despite this, she performed that night with more pathos than ever (we were all ready to pull the plug on the performance if we had to), and while her singing was understandably more emotional and tearful than she'd otherwise have done it, the audience did not know any better. It was stressful, emotional and simultaneously a relief for the rest of us who had to witness this; such a high level of commitment, strength and bravery needs to be applauded! Claudia dedicated the rest of the run to her father and also credited her fellow cast members for helping her through that difficult time. As I later messaged to her, it was she who deserved huge thanks, hugs and props for being such a trooper.
|Claudia as Lilly. Pic by Shaun Ferraloro|