Last Laugh

Magic Moments

By Clint McElroy

Clint McElroy

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together to pay tribute to a good, good friend. A good, good friend will illuminate your positive qualities, will help cover up your flaws and will allow you step up and be what you’ve always wanted to be. Magic Makers, my friend, you will be missed.

It will be strange when you’re not by my side, having my back, measuring my inseam. Who will ask me the important questions that you always asked: “Did the costume fit right? Did it make your show a success? What is that weird stain?”

I have so many wonderful memories, and you were there with me in so many of them. Like the time in The Music Man when, right in the middle of my big “Shipoopi” number, I launched into one of my patented athletic dance moves and ripped the whole back out of my trousers. You were there backstage with a roomier spare pair of pants.

How about that time when I was on my hands and knees crawling through a trapdoor on the set of Hello Dolly? It was the time I ran head first into a three-penny nail jutting out of the set. You were there with a straw hat to cover up the fact that I was bleeding like a stuck pig. It’s all a little fuzzy for me.

My memory is also a bit vague when I try to remember Huntington: Jewel of West Virginia. I had a 10-second costume change to transform from Collis P. Huntington to Soupy Sales (there’s a jump for you), and you were there with costumes I could jump out of and jump into almost instantly. Unfortunately, my Collis P. Huntington beard was stuck to my face and you used some kind of solvent to remove it. The fumes were awesome, but my memory of that night is not.

One thing I will never forget is playing Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls and singing, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” That red-checkered jacket will go down as one of the most worn items in Tri-State theater history. And the fact that the jacket effectively distracted the audience from my massive cold sore for the entire run of the show was a bonus.

The audiences loved your work, Magic Makers. When we were meeting and greeting folks after a performance of 1776, one fan pointed at my John Adams vest and said, “I love that material! My grandmother had it on her divan.”

Like a good, good friend, you were a big part of my holidays. You turned me into almost every ghost in A Christmas Carol – Marley, Christmas Future, Christmas Present, Mr. Fezziwig and old Ebenezer himself. And let’s not forget you made it possible for Carol and me to appear as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at the Jaycees’ Christmas parties for kids or WTCR’s Adopt-A-Child events.

Magic Makers, you have been a good friend not only to me, but also to the entire region. Thanks to you, we have been soldiers, sailors and pilots; robots, aliens and astronauts; we have been beauties and beasts; bakers, witches, wolves and princes; scarecrows, tin men, lions, wizards, Munchkins and flying monkeys; mice, moose and musketeers.

All those years, you lived up to your name. We told you our ideas, our hopes our dreams, and you waved your wand and gave us the means to transform into the characters we wanted to be. I will miss you, Magic Makers. You have been a good, good friend.

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