Friend #22: Annie

I don’t know why the previous two posts are now displaying out of order on the home page.  Suggestions?

After getting an oil change in SLC (I’ve already gone 3000 miles!) and learning that the amount of tread on one of my tires would not pass inspection in the state of Utah (awesome), I headed south rather timidly to St. George, Utah.

In my attempt to think less and stop more, I got off the freeway, heading toward “Lake Shore” thinking I would end up on the edge of the Great Salt Lake–very exciting!  Turns out I was too far south (south of Provo) and the lake was actually Utah Lake, and Lake Shore is the name of a small town in that neck of the woods.  But the scenery afforded some lovely moments, accentuated by the fact that it smelled like farm.



Lil' Blue posing with its fancy new car wash--and proof that I actually got out of the car!

As I traveled south, the rocks got redder and their formations were more spectacular, even martian.  This was the territory of Zion National Park, and holy Moses, was it impressive!  I had to stop again.

Browse you say? Why, thank you, I think I shall. It's a sign.



By the time I arrived in St. George, my friend Annie had just gotten out of rehearsal.  Annie is a friend from Los Angeles.  When we met, we discovered not only that we practically had the same name, but that we went to the same school for undergrad and even lived about a block away from each other one year, though we didn’t meet until Los Angeles.  We have become fast, close friends, though.  She did all these thoughtful things for me on my birthday last year, and this year on my birthday, she’s getting married!  She is in St. George for the summer performing at the Tuacahn amphitheater in Grease and The Little Mermaid as Frenchie and one of the sister mermaids, respectively.  I know Annie can sing, but I’ve never seen her on stage, so I was thrilled to see her play Frenchie (the beauty school dropout, a role she’s done several times) that night.

Annie had to save her voice for the performance, and she’s been battling having a weak voice, so I talked about the trip as she went about making dinner and her 2 dogs, Buster and Bowie, played at my feet.  This is the first currently-in-my-life friend I’ve seen on the trip, so it was a different dynamic, catching up on the most recent happenings and the ins and outs of daily life in a new situation rather than rehashing decades of history.  Soon it was time to head to the theater with roommate Bridey, who plays Jan, and neighbor/castmate Kami, who plays Marty, and is taking a short stint off the show to get married this weekend.  I felt like a real insider riding in with the leading ladies!  It was like I was new girl Sandy, and the Pink Ladies were welcoming me into their crew.

I’ve never seen a theater like this one–maybe Red Rocks is similar?  The stage was set outdoors against red cliffs under a star-lit sky.

Tuacahn stage

The backdrop for every Tuacahn performance

They had many period cars zooming around the stage throughout the show, which added an element of excitement and fun (though one of the cars leaked antifreeze and started smoking during a previous performance).  Now, Utah knows how to do heat.  And it is a dry heat, which does help, but it was still 90 degrees at intermission at 10pm. I was longing for the frozen wash cloths my mom used to pack when we would see musicals at The Muny in St. Louis.

Annie was perfect as Frenchie–she isn’t that different in real life from her character: loves pink, sweetly befriends people, tries to be a peacemaker.  But unlike Frenchie, Annie knows what she wants to do–be on stage performing–and she’s phenomenal at it.  After the performance, the cast is available for a meet and greet, and it was fun to watch as young and old alike went up to Annie and only Annie, she had so endeared them toward Frenchie with her performance.

Apparently, the author of “Who Moved my Cheese?” was present that evening with his publicist and two sons.  The elder son Emerson, a video game animator in San Diego, took this photo of us girls (I got to wear the Pink Ladies jacket!).

The Pink Ladies: Annie, Kami, and Bridey, aka Frenchie, Marty, and Jan

It was a late night, and so I got a late start the next day.  Plus it was really hard to leave, which is funny because I know I’ll see Annie again sooner than most of the other friends I’ve seen.  But Annie is the type of friend that feels like she’s been in my life forever, even though we’ve only known each other a short time.







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