We had our first preview of Company last night, and it went well. A preview is basically the final dress rehearsal before opening night, but with an invited audience. The purpose of this is so we're able to gauge audience reaction to certain jokes, etc and be prepared for them so we don't step over crowd reaction with important lines. A numbe of folks were present last night, and it was a big success - in fact, it was much more like an opening night performance than a preview. We're ready now.
However, the evening was tempered with news that an old friend of mine, a theatre acquaintance from way back, had died a few weeks ago. Her name was Ashley, and she and I have known each other off and on for about 13 years. Her husband was at the preview and we spoke a few minutes after the show was over.
Thankfully, I avoided a very awkward situation. Until I began speaking with her husband, I had had no idea she'd passed away. He congratulated me on the performance, and just as I was about to ask how she was doing he apologized to me for not contacting me and asking me to sing at her funeral! I supposed I must have gaped for a moment, although I don't think he realized my ignorance, so I played along. Apparently she had had a heart attack in the middle of the night and he couldn't wake her up the next morning - which was the same day as our auditions for this show. I spoke to other cast members later who had known her, and they had found out that weekend.
It was very shocking, and I will miss her. She was a great, brassy performer (think Ms. Hannigan in Annie and you can imagine the types of roles she played) and the lights are a bit dimmer today. Take a bow, Ash.