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What is it you C#nt Face Maria?
By Emma Chasin-Rappaport

Was it Princess Anne or Paul Lynde who said "There's nothing better than hanging out with a bunch of queens?" Well let me tell you, my friends, that couldn't be truer.

Recently, I went to a special evening of theatre called "Sing Along Sound of Music" at the Hollywood Bowl. That should make the first sentence make sense now. Everyone who knows me knows two things: 1) I like to refer to myself in the third person, and 2) Emma loves the musical as a genre. There's nothing like having a dramatic storyline interrupted by song whenever the emotion hits a high. However, The Sound of Music was never one of my faves. Maybe it's the goyisha family that actually has a "Captain" or the prolific Nazi influence in its heroic theme that makes me feel a little alienated -- neigh I say, stifled -- but The Sound of Music was not a first choice when it came to car-ride sing-alongs on the way to visit Auntie Rashi at the King David Home for the Elderly in beautiful, downtown Deer Beach, Florida (never could get a private room ... it was such a shanda.)

However, I would like to tell you that for everyone that has ever felt the outsider at an Austrian-based love story musical, let me say that you should give it another try. Maybe it was the camaraderie of 16,000 gay men and disenfranchised, nerdy comedy writers, or the soft pretzels and Chandon champagne available, but this night was a panoply of good, not so clean, fun.

I was sitting with my gaggle of girlfriends for our monthly "girl's night out" which was usually pre-made crudités from Ralph's and a bad Michele Lee TV movie. But my friend Jane picked this one and it was a winner.

Anyhoo, in the beginning I had my doubts as the pre-show was an unending roll call of kids and adults in various, home-made Sound of Music costumes for the apparent semi-annual Sound of Music Costume Contest (the winner gets a free cruise to Catalina…does not include free Jitney rides or golf cart rentals.) I saw visions of lederhosen in drapery material obviously snatched from the discount bin at House of a 1000 Fabrics. I saw six youngsters dressed in white, all attached at the head to a huge pillow kitten face (whiskers on kittens...get it?) and worst of all I saw an aged transvestite, resembling Gene Rayburn, dressed as the Countess. But the pre-show entertainment didn't stop there.

The pace inched along as the sun started to set, but not before the choreographer of said movie had a thing or two to say, thank you very much. "Oh Mommy please tell me there's a chance the script supervisor will be there PLEEEESZZZZE!!!!???" Nope, but I know a 58-year-old Leisel will be there and maybe she'll sing a pathetic unaccompanied version of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen." Oh yes… the little minx faked us out, introduced herself and threatened to sing "58 Going on 59" but laughed it off as just a far away dream. "Oh stop Leisel! You're killing me!"

Finally, the show was to begin and not a moment too soon. The crowd was getting uneasy. Bored with their polite conversation and French cheese and crackers, they had resorted to craning their necks to get a glimpse of Tom Cavanaugh from everyone's favorite comedy, Ed (brought to you by the producers of The Late Show with David Letterman!) and were all too ready for the piece d'resistance…Sing Along Sound of Music!

Behind me were a charming and cutting group of homosexuals. More entertaining than the experience itself were my new friends, now honing in on my "gay man pheromone" that usually hinders me from meeting a potential free dinner with a nice Jewish boy at every social gathering. They offered me wine, cheese, crackers and fruit while we laughed and laughed -- ha ha ha, hee, hee, hee, we were best pals. The girls and I settled in as the hills became "alive."

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