From FaceBook to FLASHDANCE, reunions of the tour kind can often be more of a surprise than seeing that 'friend request' pop up from someone you haven't seen or heard from in 35 years. A professional acting career can often take twists and turns that eventually rocket actor's away from their home town and the people that helped to shape who we are and what we become while pursuing our dreams. I've certainly reconnected with my fair share of old colleagues & friends through social media. But, it's nothing like seeing an old friend when they just appear at the stage door following a performance in a random tour city.
Such was the case with me this last year while touring North America with MAMMA MIA!. A childhood friend that I hadn't seen since high school was showing colleges to his son in Chicago, IL.
He happened to see my name on the marquee at the FORD Theatre where we had just arrived to perform for the week. Again, in San Francisco, I was contacted by a girl from my grammar school who lived in the Bay area & had purchased tickets for her and her daughters to attend MM. Another contacted me in Victoria, BC where he found me with the show while vacationing with his own family. Before I knew it, 3 more girls from grade school planned a trip to come see me at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. And, within a few months I had reconnected with a dozen kids that I'd grown up with and hadn't seen since the 8th grade. An actual grade school reunion ensued out of those chance encounters and by the end of the tour, i had reconnected with 18 people that I'd known since kindergarden.
Those same kids have placed a reunion target on this National Tour of FLASHDANCE and the shows debut in Costa Mesa, CA for our next gathering. And, as you can imagine, albeit 35 years later; spit balls, cooties, insults, and ribbing has returned just like the days of the milk monitor and detention. Here's my e-mail response to these nostalgic cohorts from days gone by:
"I'm not really sure which is more flattering OR disturbing... The fact that you would all take precious time outa your lives to haul your cookies down to Costa Mesa, CA to see me?(Scary) Or, the fact that SOOOOO... many of you are closet FLASHDANCE FANS! (More Scary) I may have had some unruly conversations with David Foster or Alan Silva about Jennifer Beale post Happy Meal. (Utterly Scary), and, "Well shut the front door." If ya'll are in, I'm down with some '80's Jukebox Bonanza in the land of OC. Viewers beware, if you bring rotten fruit or vegetables, I THROW BACK! So, I've been in touch with Heidi on making a House Seat Ticket provision for all you guilty Catholics, so you can sit together and purge those lasting resentments. Pending our final head count, I'll do what I can on my end. And, for any of you non-catholics too. (It's a little like alcoholism. You're only a catholic if YOU say you are!) (Bill and Scott can come sit with me on stage. There's plenty of cooties near me. Especially "CC's Chameleons"), though you both might need to sing, wear eyeliner, and take some mild antibiotics. So, rsvp and get back to our class Presidents with any questions or complaints. I'll be state hopping around the country in the meantime. And well, in the happy time too. The tour IT is accessible on my web site: www.christianwhelan.com For those classmates on the 'No Fly List' and hiding around the country, please feel free to seek your FLASHaddiction in a city near you. And, if any of you are avoiding the reunions because of bullying, I'm scheduled to an ultimate fighter WWE smack down with Minervini in Portland. He's the last Man alive that hit me like a girl...
Hope you all are well, happy and healthy.
I don't think about this, nearly as much as I should. But, It's a remarkable phenomena when people of all walks of life unite to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones. It's even more remarkable that so many people use the theatre as their catalyst to make those reunions & meetings possible. I can't recall how many times I've heard folks congratulate me on a good show, and remark with great pride; "We came to celebrate our Anniversary!"; "We wouldn't spend our birthday any other way."; "This show was perfect for our office party!"; Or, "This is our girls night out!"
The reasons are endless and the world of the stage is a perfect venue to reconnect, remix, and rekindle with people in our lives. I'm always humbled when people choose to celebrate each other and life by coming to our beautiful arena of tour theaters as their playground. FLASHDANCE continues to be that catalyst as we bring this iconic show with it's reference to the movie to cities across America. Whether it's looking ahead to the future or reaching back to the past, I'm looking forward to making an impact or participating in peoples lives as we FLASH Tour the country. Reminiscing with every face along the way. SO, if you've got a social plan in progress, or a social network to stay connected, make plans to make history at the Theatre.