We were doing a musical in Salinas, California, with a wonderful Children's Theater Company Ariel Theatrical. This was a two week run in the largest theater in town with seating for several thousand. Children were bussed in from schools around the county to see the shows as a cultural enrichment opportunity. We did up to three shows a day for thousands of school children and had a couple of evening performances for the public. I was the vocal coach and second keyboard player on this production, but also had a small cameo role as the dying mother. My part was actually shown in film flashbacks with live vocals sung off stage so that I could help play the accompaniment.
Everything went fine one performance until the curtain call when I was supposed to go out on stage for the bows. There I was in my nightgown and "dying" makeup ready to go out, but caught my sleeve on something which dropped something else onto a button on my keyboard that started the very loud demo Rock music. Not the right music for the moment! We were so startled and alarmed that we had trouble figuring out what had happened and how to stop it. I think I finally pulled the plug on the keyboard and tried to regain my dignity enough to walk out on the stage for the bows. The kids in the cast had a field day with that spectacular disaster! They would not let me live it down!
Just as the show was starting, the sky darkened and the winds came up. The drapes began catching the wind as if they were great sails of a ship. They were knocking over the cardboard mountains. Quickly, the other backstage moms and I went into action. We stood on the bottoms of the drapes with our legs spread eagle to keep them from becoming kites and reached through the curtains to grab and stabilize the "mountains." That was the longest 45 minutes of our lives! But, thankfully, we averted having a total spectacular disaster! I can just imagine the comical picture we created had anyone been watching what was going on behind the scenes that evening!
In live theater, we come to expect the unexpected and learn to deal with whatever comes along. After awhile we can think back fondly on these embarrassments and be happy that we have some good stories to tell.
As we say in the theater -- THE SHOW MUST GO ON -- despite the occurrence of occasional spectacular disasters! Remember, a spectacular disaster is great fodder for a FUNNY STORY later on.