Any extravagance around the time of a birthday counts as part of the celebration, and thus comes without guilt. Thus when Porter wanted to attend the Mad Cow Theatre Company's It Was a Very Good Year, part of the Orlando Cabaret Festival, and even suggested we get the special dinner package, who was I to complain?
Enter into a Time Machine as you walk thru the doors of Club Moo, Mad Cow Theatre's intimate nightclub room. Grab a chair at your table as you sip a cool drink and enjoy...a celebration of one year in the life of America: the news, the lifestyles, the gossip, and most important—the music.
The package including the show, dinner, parking, and a glass of wine to take into the theater. Porter had chosen the year 1925 (other options were 1935, 1945, and 1955), and as we relaxed at our excellently-situated table I thought (as any genealogist would) about relatives who were alive in 1925. I tried to imagine myself as them, until I realized how extremely unlikely it would have been for any of my grandparents to be sitting in a cabaret drinking a glass of wine. So I just enjoyed the show. I'm sure they would have known the music, anyway. The cast comprised four singers and a pianist, and the show was simply some of the songs popular in 1925, held together by a minimal story line. The music was well done, and we were relieved that the era was presented straight, with no looking-back-from-the-future, mocking humor. My knowledge of the popular songs of any era is abysmal, but found I knew about half of these.
- I'm Sitting on Top of the World (Joe Young & Ray Henderson / Sam M. Lewis)
- Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Joe Young & Ray Henderson / Sam M. Lewis)
- Looking for a Boy (George & Ira Gershwin)
- Oh! Lady Be Good (George & Ira Gershwin)
- It Had to Be You (Gus Kahn & Isham Jones)
- Tea for Two (Irving Caesar / Vincent Youmans)
- Everybody Loves My Baby / Yes Sir! That's My Baby! (Jack Palmer/Spence Williams, Gus Kahn/Walter Donaldson)
- Always (Irving Berlin)
- Charleston (Cecil Mack & James P. Johnson
- Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie / Maceo Pinkard & Ken Casey)
- Clap Hands! Here Comes Charley! (Joseph Meyer / Billy Rose & Ballard MacDonald)
- Sweet and Low-down (George & Ira Gershwin)
- Shake That Thing (Papa Charlie Jackson)
- Keep Your Skirts Down, Mary ann (Robert King & Ray Henderson / Andrew B. Sterling)
- I Never Knew (Gus Kahn / Ted Fio Rito)
- Who (Hammerstein & Kern)
- Manhattan (Rodgers & Hart)
- Save Your Sorrow for Tomorrow (Al Sherman / B. G. De Sylva)
We had some time between the end of the show and our 5:30 dinner reservations, which we spent in the library. Porter found a book to check out, and I spent my time in the genealogy section, where I found Gary Boyd Roberts' The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants. (Gary was the New England Historic Genealogical Society librarian who helped me get started on my research.) I didn't get very far in the book before we had to leave, but I did find that Robert Abell (a 9th great grandfather on my mother's side) is the 11th great grandson of Edward I, King of England (1239-1307). This is "Longshanks," who had William Wallace executed, and though Braveheart depicts him inaccurately and unfairly, he was nasty enough. You can't go very far in genealogy without running into both heros and villains, often in the same person, which is why I take as my genealogical motto Aslan's words in C. S. Lewis' Prince Caspian: You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve, and that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.
Dinner at the nearby Napasorn Thai restaurant was wonderful. Because it was part of the package, we had to choose form a smaller menu, but that was no hardship. The spring rolls and gyoza we had for appetizers were perfect, and our dinners of pad Thai and panang curry were nearly as good. Next time we'll save money by making our own package—but this was definitely worth the cost because otherwise we'd never have discovered Napasorn. It also really felt like a date, because Porter made all the arrangements, and that was heavenly.