Our Journey to MMT: Greg & Carol Landis
Our Journey to Music Mountain Theatre
“I Hate Theatre”
David Whitman… who would have thought one performer would first captivate us on stage and then introduce us to the magic of Music Mountain Theatre. It all started in 2013 when we found David occupying “the chair” – the most important chair in musical theatre – The Drowsy Chaperone “man in chair” at Washington’s Crossing Outdoor theatre. This is our most favorite show in all of Broadway – a show we have seen about 68 times and counting. We watched David and that cast take us on our favorite theatre journey and loved it. That is where it all started. We did return in 2014 to see several shows, and it was obvious we were hooked.
In 2015, we saw David in Spamalot at Washington’s Crossing and he told us he would be performing Drowsy at another venue near our home. We attended several performances until that run finished, ending with us celebrating on the stage with the cast when the last show ended. And what do you know - the plane propeller used for the finale ended up going home with us and now lives in our back yard bird blind with the neighbors asking what is that? Yup, we were there for the final performance when they were breaking down the stage. At the thought of destroying the plane, my dear wife offered that we would take it off their hands. It still lives at our house – a back yard summer treat and a winter dog house for Snoopy as part of our Christmas décor.
We then returned to Washington’s Crossing as regulars. This began a run of truly memorable experiences as we met some of the theatre family that shared the stage along with many varieties of bugs, birds and the kind of background sound you can only find in nature. We came, we saw, we laughed and applauded. We continued to attend show after show from 2015 and 2016, braving the risk of rain, wind, and the lady who patrolled the entrance and concession area of this outdoor theater. For some reason we were intimidated by that lady who was clearly in charge, so we carefully avoided her through a number of the following shows. We never worked up the courage to speak with her, but we did follow her vision of one day moving indoors and opening a theatre that would not only put on shows, but would house a school that would develop performers from kids to adults. That lady is our beloved Ginny Brennan who turns out is the sweetest and kindest person one could know.
Finally, in 2017, we followed Ginny and the theatre company who had so grown on us to Lambertville, NJ for the opening of Music Mountain Theatre. As they moved indoors, we were finally able to get to know the performers and become fans and supporters of this fine group of individuals that work so well as a team. So many memorable performances with some of the best acting, singing, dancing, lighting, sound, costumes, and camaraderie we have ever been a part of and which has become a big part of our entertainment lives. If we like a show, expect us to see it 5 or 6 times, and if we love a show, well let’s just say we will probably be at all performances. One of our favorite memories was suggesting the fishbowl voting methodology – people drop dollars into fishbowls to choose their favorite show from the next years slate of shows. The winner, if at all possible, gets to be performed the following year. This led us to see Curtains – and yes, attend all the performances. If a show is performed as well as Curtains was, it deserves to be seen multiple times!
A word about Music Mountain performances. They are, for the most part, exceptional for a local volunteer theatre group. There are some that were so over the top that we are confident they were performed equal to or better than Broadway. In that group would be Curtains, Drowsy, Will Rogers Follies, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Mamma Mia, Guys and Dolls, Wizard of Oz, and of course our beloved Christmas show A Christmas Carol. And special mention for the outdoor version of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
As professional observers, we recognize that this company is more of a family than an organized group of performers. They really care about each other. We know this from personal experience as we now count many of them as our friends.
The year 2020 brought much of our lives to a halt as the Covid 19 virus invaded all our worlds. We saw our entertainment choices dwindle as public areas were shut down in an effort to curtail the spread of the virus. We continued to stay in touch with Ginny, who has become such a dear friend along with so many of the company. She, along with Louis and Jordan, worked tirelessly to prepare for reopening by creating the safest of theatre environments that followed state rules to the letter. We were pleased to attend the shows that were offered.
So here we are today with the 2021 season beginning to open. We are excited that shows are returning. The theatre could not be cleaner, so we wait patiently for the vaccines to be distributed so people can stay healthy and join us there as shows resume.
One final comment – this organization, and these people, are worthy of your financial support. The investment here is in people – from the adult company to the young kids who are just being introduced to theatre, including our own grandkids who have been captivated since age 2 by the shows and even dress up to attend. They look forward to one day hitting the stage. We are pleased to invest here – the proof is in the product that has grown from a group of performers working in an outdoor park fighting the elements to a growing theatre group that we are proud to visit regularly with both friends and family. May your experience at Music Mountain Theatre bring you as much joy as it does us! And thank you David, you are still one of our favorites 😊
Remember Music Mountain Theatre as we stumble along - it does what a musical is supposed to do – it takes you away - a tune to carry with you. -Bob Martin
Greg and Carol Landis