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Column: Perham, NYM know how to put on a show

There's nothing quite like live theatre.

The excitement of the crowd, the energy of the performers... that little nervous feeling in your gut as you anticipate what might go 'wrong.'

As someone who's been in many a show, I know it never fails: A costume malfunctions, the microphones make that high-pitched squeal that everyone's ears love so much, or someone forgets a line and has to improvise - somehow.

These 'imperfections' make the theatre unique, and, in my mind, a lot of fun. You don't get them anywhere else. Movies and TV are great in their own ways, but compared to live entertainment, they're so... predictable.

Plus, you don't usually get to watch people you know on TV or in the movies. Not so with the stage, where community auditoriums allow all the best local talent to shine.

This past weekend, for example, talent shined so bright on the Perham and New York Mills high school stages that I practically got a suntan from sitting in the audience.

Perham's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was so much fun I could hardly stand it. And Mills' "Thoroughly Modern Millie" was a delightful trip back in time to the flapper days.

I saw "Seven Brides" on opening night, one of many people lucky to get a seat in the packed house; it was great to see that kind of community support.

Everything about the show - the music, the costumes, the dancing, the campiness - was top-notch.

But the best part was the energy and talent of the performers, which brought the show to a whole new level. You could really tell the cast was having a good time up there, and as an audience member, I love to see that.

Even the little things that went 'wrong' - in a fight scene some 'pie filling' splattered off the stage (my shoe got the worst of it), and a cast member got 'slapped' too hard on the arm, making everyone on stage have to try really hard not to laugh - just made it all the more fun.

Afterward, I overheard one high school boy describe the show to his friend as "legit, man."

I concur. Totally legit.

Kudos to New York Mills students, as well, for their fine performance.

I was able to attend the Sunday matinee, and again, was impressed. These kids knew their stuff; their performance was solid.

Worthy of particular mention is that some of the lyrics and lines in "Millie" are in Chinese - Chinese! Not a language often heard around these parts, but the kids seemed to have it mastered and didn't miss a beat.

I was also especially fond of the cleverly-staged 'tapping typists' scenes - stenographer-dancers clicked their tap shoes in rhythm with the tick-tick-tick of their typewriters. My ears were pleased.

Again, the little things that went 'wrong' only added to the life of the show - when the overhead projector didn't turn on in time to translate some of the Chinese lyrics, it seemed to only make the performers more eager to please, and they acted out their words with extra exaggeration.

It was a great weekend for theatre in Perham and New York Mills.

All I can really say to sum up my feelings on it is, "More, please!"