Rehearsal

Pictured during a recent rehearsal are. from left, Jim Simpson, left, Mike Carter, Brandon Basile, Tia Bedwell, and Maureen and Jim Chism.

Whoever thought life would be shut down for more than a year because of a pandemic?

Last year I was in the middle of rehearsing for a musical called “The Marvelous Wonderettes” at Lakeland Cultural Arts Center in Littleton when this happened — something many of us have never dealt with in our lifetime.

A lot of harmony was involved and I was learning music from the 1950s and ’60s with three other women. There were a lot of great songs revolving around these four lifelong friends and we had been working on the music for some time — two weeks before opening the pandemic hit and the show had to be put on hold.

While things were shut down though, it was the perfect opportunity for Lakeland to be remodeled, thanks to Deb and Ed Fitts, who continue improving Littleton and making it a happening and

go-to spot.

I’m so thankful my beloved theater is getting the much-needed makeover, but it’s still a work in progress and there’s no performances happening there any time soon.

A few months ago I got a call from my friend Doug Wright, who directs shows at the Colonial Center for the Performing Arts in South Hill, Virginia.

He said they were planning a “first show reopening after COVID” revue featuring music from the 1950s and ’60s — go figure!

It has been so long since I’ve performed and I’m excited to be on a stage again doing what I love outside of the newspaper business.

It truly is an escape from everyday life — spending time with likeminded people doing what we love to do — sing.

It was a kind of different approach than I am used to this time though. Instead of being told what songs to do, we were allowed to pull from a list of top songs from those eras.

This threw me for a loop, trying to make decisions on what to sing. Scrolling threw the lists of songs to choose from that first night, I stopped. What?! “Break it to Me Gently” was a hit then? I thought that was a 1982 song by Juice Newton that I enjoy singing.

So I did a little Google search and low and behold it was a song by Brenda Lee from 1963. I snatched that one up immediately, and then found the older accompaniment. Lee’s version is definitely different than the version by Newton, so my brain is trying to throw in a little ’60s-sounding flair and cancel out that ’80s tune in my head.

I definitely wanted to do “All the Way” from 1957, but instead the duet arrangement from 1999 by Celine Dion and Frank Sinatra. But I needed the other half of the duet — who can I perform that with? Well, the well-known Mr. Mike Carter, that’s who. We rehearsed it again Thursday night and we are getting much more comfortable performing this together. I’m so glad, because I absolutely love performing with Mike.

There are a couple of other songs I’m singing, but then throw in the group numbers — some I am familiar with, some I’m not, and I’m still struggling a little. I am trying my best not to look at the song lyrics, but remembering the ones to songs I am not familiar with is not easy.

It will all come together — it’s just wonderful that we are allowed to perform again. Hopefully we will have a crowd when the show opens up that’s happy things are almost normal again and can enjoy a night of fun music.

The show, “WELCOME BACK to the 50s & 60s Revue” runs at 7:30 p.m. July 31, Aug. 6 and 7, and at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 1 and 8. For more information, call 434-262-4170.

I hope to see you there!

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.