Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My Night in Jail
The summer of my 21st birthday, I had gotten cast in a theater group that did musicals in Big Bear Lake, California. A resort town, up in the mountains, 2 hours outside of Los Angeles. I was very excited to be doing this because not only do I love all the old Broadway musicals, I would be able to add some summer stock to my thin resume. I took some singing and dance classes several weeks before rehearsals began to get in shape. I called my agent to tell him the good news, thinking he would be happy for me getting this experience. I was surprised that he was pissed because I was taking myself out of the marketplace for the busy summer. Couldn't go on auditions. I wanted to do it anyway.
We were set to do, "Fiddler on the Roof", "Annie Get Your Gun", and "The Sound of Music", which we never got to, because the whole company fell apart before that could happen. Yes, it was that dysfunctional, crazy and chaotic, but we laughed it all off because we were a bunch of young people away from home for the summer up in the mountains, having a blast!
We rehearsed one show in the day time, under the pine trees, on the lawn behind the big ski lodge. In the evenings, we performed the other show, while patrons dined on mexican food on the outdoor patio. It was a lovely setting.
The company was run by a chubby gay guy, who directed and choreographed. We called him Twinkletoes. His chubby tomboyish sister had the lead in "Fiddler", and her girlfriend played the piano.
The girls were put up in a small motel, 3 or 4 to a room, in 3 rooms. It was a bit crowded, but we didn't mind, we were hardly there. The guys were all staying in a 100 year old miner's cabin, that didn't have running water, so they had to come shower at our place in the morning.
After the shows, we'd usually hang out in the little bar of the ski lodge, and party with Gary, the tall, lanky, gay, alcoholic bartender I had a crush on. He later became Frank Butler in "Annie", because the actor who was cast left. Later, the kid who was doing the lights, who never acted in his life, took on a small role when another actor bailed. A new girl showed up, to replace someone else who had left, and she was telling us how she had a tough decision, because she was hired to work in the new Electrical Parade at Disneyland. We all said, "GO! Go back, if you can still do it, go back!!" The next morning, the director was rather puzzled as to why his new cast member suddenly left.
One night after the show, we went back to our motel, and we had noticed there was a new cute neighbor guy. So we invited him over, and he came over with a bag of pot. Oh Boy! So there was him, and about 6 or 8 girls. Guess he figured, those were some pretty good odds. So, the small room filled with smoke, and the laughter and the music got louder, and I guess it was pretty loud, because after awhile, there was some very loud knocking on the door. THE COPS!!! Everybody scattered. Someone jumped out a window on the other side of the room. I jumped in a closet. Two girls had gone to their room to get a pipe, and when they saw what was going down, stood down. We were all rounded up, and I was pulled out of the closet. We were hand cuffed and put into the police car, and driven to the little mountain police station and booked. The charge was being in a place where marijuana was being smoked.
I went through a range of feelings, at first I thought it was funny, then I started to get a little scared, and then I was mad. I heard the cops in the hallway, talking about the one guy with all those girls, like he was some sheik and his harem, or the leader of the next hippie murder cult.
They let us languish in cells alone, laying on the cot with just the mattress ticking, no sheets or blanket, with the stark bare bulb burning all night long. I couldn't sleep, and was getting very despondent. I wanted my Mommy.
In the morning, Gary, the tall, lanky, gay, alcoholic bartender that I had a crush on, came and bailed us out, and then took us all out for breakfast. Boy, were we hungry! As we walked into the little homey, small town coffee shop, all of the customers turned to look at us. "Oh, they all know what happened", Gary said. "News travels fast around here". Outlaw celebrities, we were.
That night, the show was packed. Before the show started, we looked out into the audience, from behind the sets, and there we saw, sitting in the front row, all the cops that had busted us!