White Christmas With Sara-Jeanne HosieFriday, December 09, 2011
I have been married for 43 years but every once in a while I make this statement, “I would leave my Rosemary on the spot for Charlotte Rampling or Molly Parker.”
It is a kind of joke in the family but they have no idea on how serious I could be about it! I must now add the name of Sara-Jeanne Hosie to that list.
Last June I had an inkling of this sentiment when my granddaughter Rebecca and I saw a production of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline at the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage. Both Rebecca and I were dazzled by Sara-Jeanne Hosie’s performance. From afar, somewhere in the middle row, I experienced that pristine, almost forgotten feeling of noticing that new girl in the front row when I might have been in a grade 8 class back in the early days of the Ed Sullivan Show. I wrote about it here.
I must report that I felt a bit of trepidation in my anticipation of meeting up, my granddaughter in tow, with Sara-Jeanne Hosie last Thursday afternoon before a performance of White Christmas. It was 6:15 and Arts Club publicist Nicole McLuckie (a charming and beautiful redhead) had sent, she had other commitments, her colleague Laura Shand (an equally charming and beautiful redhead) led us to the front row of the empty Stanley where soon enough Ms Hosie showed up. I was first surprised that she had very short hair. She wears a beautiful flowing wig for when she sings the torch song Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me. I must add that the dress is very tight and very glamorous. I had to enquire.
This is what Hosie told me, “There is such a quick costume change that somebody (she did not mention who the lucky lad was) has to zip me up backstage in the wings. It is tight.”
I must pause here to say that my impression of Hosie back in June when she was Patsy Cline, was reinforced by her speaking voice. She is a mezzo-soprano (with a presence and diction, and not speech impediment I might add, that would not make her 21st century material for CBC Radio job, alas!) who as little girl, when answering the phone people confused her for her mother. It was as a young girl, around 9 when she had her first big chance of her show business career. She was invited by Ann Mortifee for a trip to show the Canadian flag, and some Canadian singing and dancing, too, in the old Soviet Union. Unlike Americans our Canadian contingent handed out an extremely rare and prized commodity to the young people – bubble gum instead of chocolate.
When Ms Hosie talked to me and looked at me with her big black eyes, I was thinking, “Charlotte and Molly, move over.”
She was most gracious and warm with Rebecca who immediately fell under her spell. They both sat down to chat while I put away my photographic equipment.
It is my hope that someday Rebecca might appreciate these recent opportunities as much as I do appreciate in meeting Sara-Jeanne Hosie in the flesh.
This is supposed to be a review of White Christmas so I will proceed.
Any film or show that features anything like a top hat, a cane and tap dancing is enough to make me close my eyes or turn off the TV. Of late I have come to tolerate musicals (so many do have that top hat song and dance act) and grudgingly I am accepting tap dancing as a necessary evil if it will bring me the likes of Sara-Jeanne who had the class not to tap dance (everybody else did except, too, Allan Gray who plays General Henry Waverly). Hosie did inform me that she was itching to tap dance as she dances well! Luckily for me she was not given that opportunity!
The dance numbers, featuring lots of tap dancing, were very well choreographed by Valerie Easton whom I first met as a jazz dancer in the early 80s at the CBC’s variety show for which I was the hired stills photographer. I asked Hosie about this fact that actors and actresses now must not only act but they must sing and dance (and if the recent performances of the Penelopiad attest) now are making actors, and actresses learn to also play instruments. Hosie said this is a recent development.
Watching and listening to a musical at the Arts Club (and also at the Vancouver Playhouse) means that the musical accompaniment will be an excellent and professional band of local musicians. The orchestra had Bruce Kellett and Doug Balfour on keyboards, Graham Boyle on percussion (I remember him from years ago that the Classical Joint) Henry Christian trumpet (did he play with Tommy Bank’s Orchestra back in my CBC days?), Tom Colclough on clarinet/saxophone and Neil Nicholson on trombone.
This White Christmas shared with my 14 year old granddaughter, who was elengantly dressed to the teeth (I wore a suit) will be a Christmas that I will not forget. The thrill of having met Sara-Jeanne Hosie who made me feel like a crazed and besotted young teenager is something that will linger for a long time.