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Searching For Fosse in Middle America
by Yves L'attrappe

I asked Deanne if she knew anything about Bob Fosse and she told me that no one with that name had come into Lola's Diner recently. I said that he was dead and she said that she was sorry. I said that it did not bother me, because I did not know him, though I would miss his work. "His work?", she queried... I told her that he was a choreographer who worked on Broadway a few years ago. She gave me a vacant stare and went to get my biscuits and gravy.

For quite some time, my quest has been to mount a production of Sweet Charity in a small town near my university. I looked at the possibilities, and after a survey of community theatres in my state, my final choice was Capton, Washington, a small logging town in Northern Washington about one hundred miles from Seattle. Their playhouse recently mounted a semi-successful production of Bye Bye Birdie. Rumor has it that they were the only amateur group in the region to make every number in the show work, including the Ed Sullivan number. The Capton City Little Opera wasn't the only playhouse in the state; there were bigger ones, and more cosmopolitan ones, but none of them were as near to my grandfather's cabin.

As one would expect, it took a little bit of tooth-pulling to persuade my grandfather to allow me to move into his cabin for a few months while I was putting together a musical. My friends said I was crazy. My mother cried. In spite of all, I wanted to do something interesting. Last summer I had decided to attend culinary school in hopes of making more money during the school year. It went well, but sometime around the souffle classes, the whole thing fell through. This summer would be different, and I would succeed.

When classes finished at my university, I left for the cabin, armed with all of my Fosse videos and my computer. I then set out to contact the Chamber of Commerce. I entered their lobby and strutted up to the receptionist's desk. The woman had a vinegar smile, mild rosacea, and red hair to match. She was dutifully filing away at her nails when I asked her for information on their playhouse. She put down her emory board and gave me the number of the Capton City Little Opera House. I thanked her and took a mint from the bowl before leaving. My quest had commenced.

I walked down Oak Street until the Canon Street Little Opera almost slapped me across the face. I wasn't expecting to come across it that evening, but walking around long enough in this sort of town made one certain to hit such a landmark. Unfortunately, it was already six-thirty, I was getting hungry and the playhouse was closed, as expected of any business in this little town on a Tuesday evening. I had guessed that in the past, it had taken in vaudeville acts and an occasional high school band concert. I made note of its location and continued on.

So I found myself in Lola's Diner...

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