Over the Rainbow #Monday Musical Memory

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.During this month in 1939, my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, was released. When I saw it for the first time as a fifth-grader in 1973, the ending made me cry. I was so relieved that Dorothy finally made it home to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry after her harrowing adventures in Oz.

I was then cast as Dorothy in a school production. At the time, I’d been mainstreamed from the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind to the Miles Exploratory Learning Center. This facility employed an open classroom concept. Students could learn what they wanted by moving to different stations that offered math, science, art, and other subjects. Unlike many schools, they weren’t required to sit at desks all day and follow a strict curriculum.

Our production of The Wizard of Oz had no script. With the help of the music and drama teacher,  we planned what would happen in the play, and our story pretty much followed the plot of the movie. We held auditions and built our own sets. Some of the parents made costumes. I wore a long red dress that my mother had bought me several years earlier.

With no lines to memorize, we made them up as we went along, based on what we’d heard characters say in the movie. We even sang the songs that were sung in the movie, with piano accompaniment. Each performance was a little different, but it was fun. Now, I’ll sing for you the song I sang as Dorothy, accompanying myself on piano.

over the rainbow

How about you? What was your favorite movie? Were you ever in a theatrical production based on it?

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By the way, if you live in Sheridan, Wyoming, I’ll be signing copies of my new novel, The Red Dress, on Saturday, August 24th, from 1-3 p.m. at Sheridan Stationery Books & Gallery, located at 206 North Main Street. See below for more information about the book.

 

New! The Red Dress: A Novel

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

 

My Other Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to purchase My Ideal Partner from Smashwords absolutely free!

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Leia Speaks

Abbie-1

The Princess Diarist

By Carrie Fisher

Copyright 2016

 

In this funny and poignant memoir, actress Carrie Fisher shares her experiences filming the 1976 production of Star Wars. She touches briefly on her life beforehand: her father, singer Eddie Fisher, leaving her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, for actress Elizabeth Taylor, her step-father squandering all their money, leaving her mother nearly penniless, and her roles in Shampoo and other theatrical and film productions.

She explains how she auditioned to play Princess Leia in Star Wars and Carrie in the movie Carrie on the same day and of course got the part of Leia. She then describes the filming process in England: spending a week at a Texas fat farm in an attempt to lose weight beforehand, the Irish hairdresser who gave her the Princess Leia hairstyle, her affair with Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo, and friendship with other cast and crew members. She includes a series of diary entries she made during that time.

She discusses the aftermath: the shock of Star Wars’ unexpected popularity, dealing with fan mail, and signing autographs. She explains how her love of shopping and two years with a dishonest business manager impoverished her and how as a result, she was compelled to write travel pieces and appear at Disney Land with four-year-old daughter Billie in tow to make ends meet. She touches on other Star Wars episodes and points out in the end that if she weren’t Princess Leia, she would have been just herself, Carrie Fisher.

The recording I downloaded from Audible is mostly narrated by Carrie Fisher. Her daughter Billie Lourd reads the diary entries, most of which I skipped because they really don’t add to the story, and Billie Lourd’s reading of them was bland.

Although Carrie Fisher’s voice has aged since the original Star Wars production, I enjoyed the way she read the many anecdotes from her experiences and commentary on other subjects. Having once been a Star Wars fan, the miniscule details in the filming process fascinated me: the hairstyling and make-up, how she re-worked one of her lines because she thought it would sound better her way. I would like to have known more about the characters of Darth Vader, C3PO and R2D2.

When reviewing this book for Audible, I was asked who my favorite character was. Well, that was a no-brainer. It was Princess Leia, aka Carrie Fisher, may she rest in peace. I loved her spunk, determination, and courage. May the force always be with her.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

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