Growing up in the most homogeneous of neighborhoods —what was Rowland, 95% Jewish? … I mean even Masseria took off Yom Kippur — one might never suspect we’d be world travelers, venturing out to the heathen world. Ours was a compact realm in a simpler time. (Ed. Note 1: Snyder’s parents went to Bermuda once, but that was an aberration).

Yet now we all travel (more or less).

Alan was first, what with the South Africa thing. To this day, his pictorials are all from SOMEWHERE. C’mon Alan—you’re 65 years old. Stay home one night! Then there’s Ermine. Country to country –now state to state –his goal is to be the preppy Al Wieder.

Alas, even the rest can’t sit still. Bob runs to gun shows (G’volt); Walt hits Vegas a year at a time; Fenton cruises and Kraut hunts Alaska for salmon.

—Then there’s me, Bruce Bogart: product of a broken home … raised in a log cabin at the corner of Bayard and Wrenford Roads in South Euclid, Ohio. Travel to this cowboy means breakfast at an out-of-town deli.

(Except, of course, when doing theater… where I too have favorite retreats).

December and January, for example, I spent in Sweet Apple, Ohio. Traveling daily for “Bye Bye Birdie” — four nights per week, sometimes more — I was so exhausted by run’s end that I passed on auditions for my favorite show…indeed my all-time favorite show ‘bout that oh-so-special place, River City, Iowa!

(Ed. Note 2: Carrie can tell you. In the days prior to “The Music Man” tryouts I must have changed my mind a half dozen times. Am I too tired? Do I have too much going on? When am I going west? When am I going east? When is Passover? Am I out of the house too much? What would my children say? What would my father do? … Yet between each self-examination I was thinking about the melodies, the memories, the fact that if cast in the right part there’d be that stage/kiss, and most of all, the one line that forever reminds me of my Dad: “I always think there’s a band, kid”).

So stay home I did and clean I felt, proud that I’d made the right decision. I was resting, taking a beat, growing up, maturing….

(Ed. Note 3: That lasted four days).

—And then: a cosmic chain of events—

1. One eve playing gin; it was business as usual. Pandora was on, and the losing hand dealt next, and after every hand I changed the station. So it was that with Carrie shuffling I’d clicked to Broadway Showstoppers and “Seventy-Six Trombones” came on.

Within minutes there were fifty mounted cannon in the battery of my mind. The streets of my youths, stages of my adulthood, and the lingering wonder if ever I’d pass that way again intensified…thundering, thundering louder than before.

“I should have tried out,” I mumbled, feeling sadder but wiser.

2. On Facebook days later I chanced upon a post about the upcoming play. Rehearsals had begun, I well knew, but still lamenting my earlier demurrer, I assured a friend that I’d be in the house during performance “more than once”.

3. That friend mentioned my comment to the director.

4. His hand reached out. “Would I be interested in the ensemble?”

5. I was sitting in the courthouse as the note came. Quickly I checked the schedule. One month it would run, (ah, but they were dark the second week, so a weekend was open). THIS, I concluded, was a sign!

6. I called the people that needed calling and all answers cam up “Heads”.   The stars had aligned!

“I would jump to be ‘a part of’” I responded forthwith.

(Ed. Note 4: My first rehearsals were Wednesday and Thursday. We sang “We Got Trouble” and a few others. No pressure—just music, cheer, and re-acquaintance with stage friends. Mike was there from “Threepenny Opera”, and John from “The Fantasticks”, and oh…Conrad Birdie’s father. Good stuff).

Better yet, I felt at home— right there in River City.

I’d done right, leading with my heart (not my head). It was so ME.

I mentioned it to Aunt Helen the other day. “We don’t open until spring,” I told her. “The weather will be good and you can come.” “Oh, I’d like that”, she said, smiling gently.

In my heart of hearts I know that for the next several weeks I’ll be where I belong: in River City, Iowa. Deep down I knew that…

“…Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, Clear Lake…”

I had to give Iowa a try!

3 Responses to “NEXT STOP: RIVER CITY, IOWA”

  1. alan wieder says:

    Where’s the show

  2. Mark E says:

    “his goal is to be the preppy Al Wieder” I’m not exactly sure if that’s a compliment or a dig, but if I can emulate Alan in anyway that’s OK by me!
    B…………..try traveling to Cbus more often. We speak the same language and we are in the same time zone. We would love to dine with you and Carrie again. Maybe this time dinner?

  3. Up From Dysfunction says:

    How could think my commentary about you or Alan could be anything but complimentary?

    When the weather breaks we shall travel south toward Columbus—yes. As of this date C-town remains on the Acceptable list of venues.

    FYI: There’s been some chatter about adding Portland to that list as well. A concern is that if the vote ends in a tie, Carrie gets to break the tie. Me? I’m content in my two square miles.

    Happy Birthday, Brother Mark.

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