Back in June, I heard on WEEC, an announcement that in August, WFCJ and WEEC would be jointly sponsoring an evening at La Comedia Dinner Theater in Springboro. Featured was to be the acclaimed Broadway Play, “ANNIE”. If we bought our tickets at one of the stations, they would benefit some from the sales.
I’d never seen “ANNIE” - either on the stage, movie, or TV - but I knew of its allure, for children AND adults.
Right away I thought of Jodi and her 4 year old son, Rylan.
“I’ll bet they would enjoy that”, I said to myself. (I “say to myself” quite a lot, lately. I imagine you‘ve noticed.)
On July 1, I had invited Bill Pearce - long time Christian Artist and Radio Personality now retired - to be with us at WEEC, for a time of fellowship. Bill lives in our area. We had a nice afternoon of fellowship and memories of his Christian Journey, and of the 11 years we had together at the Moody Bible Institute - some 50 years ago.
Here’s a photo of Bill, Tracy Figley, Rene Panosian (Administrator of Bill’s Assisted Living facility), and me taken that day.
When I arrived at the station, I asked Cathy Ackley - the Administrative Assistant at WEEC - about the tickets for “ANNIE”, and the procedure to follow. It turns out that WFCJ held reservations for the “left half” of the Theater, and WEEC the right.
I had already found out that Jodi and Rylan would be available for the date of the presentation, so I looked at the seating chart, and picked out the table on the right side of the auditorium that Jean, Kelly and I had some 15 or 20 years ago when we saw “Hello Dolly”. There were only 3 seats at that table, so it seemed “just right” for us.
I told Cathy that we wanted that table, so she reserved it for us. The tickets were $37 apiece, and I told Cathy that I would give her a check at the proper time. I went into the studio where we were to receive Bill.
Tracy came in and told me that, since I was a Board Member Emeritus of WEEC, MY ticket would be provided by WEEC - as for all Board Members - since they had been given a number of complimentary tickets. I thanked Tracy, and gave Cathy a check for the other two seats.
The date for the Show arrived, and the three of us drove to Springboro and the Dinner Theater.
We arrived at the proper time for seating, and were taken to the designated table right away.
Shortly, we were brought our drinks and salad, and we ate. I could hardly contain myself until we would be ushered down to the stage where the traditional buffet was, so I could get - and taste - their famed “Sweet Potato Souffle” again.
While waiting our turn for the buffet, I saw quite a few people I had known in past years at WEEC - including several present and former staff members; quite a few long time listeners; as well as Clair and Margy Miller - friends of many years at WFCJ.
I proceeded to follow my long time tradition of “table hopping”, that I’ve been so famous for - both at WEEC, and at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington DC for 23 years. (“What are you running for, Mike”, they’d say) It’s what long time friend Rev. Dennis Moritz calls, “Working the Room”.
I hadn’t “lost the touch”.
At the proper time, and after every one had “sated” their appetites, the buffet was rolled away, and the play was introduced.
By any stretch of the definition, this had to be called a “Family Musical’”, including a cast of 8 or 9 pre-teen children. The voices of ALL the participants - especially, in my opinion, the voice for “Daddy Warbucks” - were outstanding. The 11 year old girl who played “Annie” was remarkable - both in singing, and in acting. The sound system was so good, that we heard every word.
Four year old Rylan was “enthralled”.
“And a good time was had by all”, as I read some place.
Driving home, Rylan fell asleep right away. We got home after 11 PM.
What a wonderful evening!