'Love Bus' was overwhelming for proud mom

August 05, 2011|Kate Coleman

In May, I emailed friends and acquaintances who had expressed interest in seeing The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., production of "POP!" — the rock musical that Maggie-Kate Coleman, MY DAUGHTER, wrote (book and lyrics) with composer Anna K. Jacobs. Set in 1968, immediately after an assailant shot Andy Warhol, "POP!" imaginatively explores Warhol, his Factory and several of its inhabitants.

I reminded recipients that I'd joked that so many friends wanted to see the show, I'd need to charter a bus.

No joke.

My good friend, Marie Beck, arranged for group-rate tickets  and yes, a BUS from Hagerstown to the theater for the Saturday, July 16, performance.

At the risk of sending Maggie's proverbial "15 minutes of fame" into overtime, and with a repeated plea for forgiveness of my stage-motherly pride, I am compelled to share some of the experience.

In appropriately '60s fashion, the evening was a "happening." It rose to the level of performance art.

But happenings don't just happen. Credit for the adventure's success goes to Marie, who organized transportation, reservations, money, wine, cheese and gourmet chocolates.

The bus had a lift for my power wheelchair. Our driver anchored me safely mid-bus and expertly maneuvered the Interstate as well as crowded D.C. streets.

I guess it was sitting sideways instead of facing front that caused the queasiness I felt, but I had more difficulty fighting back tears of astonished appreciation when I boarded and saw everyone.

I am indeed blessed with amazing friends.

Many of the relationships are longstanding. There were friends from my childhood in New Jersey. Three of Maggie's elementary school teachers were aboard, as was one of her high school English teachers/drama coaches, who told me afterward that she heard several good vocabulary words in "POP!"

A friend who'd directed Maggie in a play at HCC signed up, as did the director of the Cumberland Valley School of Music, which had collaborated with Caledonia Theatre Company to offer a musical theater camp. Maggie, then 16, played one of the stepsisters in "Cinderella," and it was at "Footlights" that she and Jessica Beck — Marie's daughter — met. The two still are good friends.

Yes, the connections span generations. Many are so Byzantine they could blow Kevin Bacon and his six degrees out of the water. Passenger/friends came from many disparate areas of my life. A former director of our fine arts museum was there as were the neighbor I call "Brother Buck," my yoga instructor, friends from my kids' school days, Herald-Mail colleagues, "Runaway Moms" and several friends of friends. Others, including a college pal from California, met us at the theater. Still others, who couldn't attend that performance, have gone on their own.

I still am charged from the evening's incredible energy. "POP!" at Studio was wonderful. The "love bus" was wonderful.

Many times since, I've caught myself singing phrases of tunes from the show.

Another song also has been playing in my head, this one by the Four Seasons: "Oh What a Night!"

P.S. Breaking news: Studio has extended "POP!" through Sunday, Aug. 21.

Kate Coleman covers The Maryland Symphony and writes a monthly column for The Herald-Mail.

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