If laughter is best medicine, revue is Rx for you
Last updated 3/2/2022 at 3:25pm | View PDF
Tomorrow night is opening night.
I am certain I can speak for all of the cast of "Hinsdale Unmasked" - the 2022 Community Revue - when I say we can't wait to perform for an audience. We've had our fill of applauding for each other and laughing at our own jokes and are ready to share this hilarious show with you, dear residents of Hinsdale.
Before I proceed, I should let you know that all of us have been SWORN TO SECRECY about the show's contents. I wrote a column 18 years ago in advance of my first revue, "Hinsdale: Reality Factor," and mentioned we were doing a song by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé. You would think I had divulged state secrets to the Russians.
I assume you suspect from the show's title that COVID-19 and masks will be among the topics we address. I have received permission from our esteemed producer, Susan O'Byrne, to confirm that you are correct. She also agreed to answer a few other questions for me.
Will the show include Broadway show tunes with lyrics that apply specifically to Hinsdale?
"Yes, we will have show tunes - but lyrics that have any resemblance to people you know or think you know is purely coincidental," she said.
Must we sometimes cram those lyrics in because they have more syllables than the original lyrics?
"Yes, we've had to limber up our jaws to get all those words out," O'Byrne said.
Might there be tap dancing?
"That I answer with an affirmative yes - and it will be fabulous," she said.
"Do some of the characters feel privileged and entitled and better than everyone else because they live in Hinsdale?
"I plead the Fifth," she said.
Will we disparage neighboring towns for not being as good as Hinsdale?
Are we likely to offend someone?
O'Byrne, who is also an authority on all things Shakespearean, referenced a quip from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" character Nick Bottom: "If we offend, it is with our good will."
"I'm just going to quote Shakespeare there," O'Byrne said.
As our director, Dave Heilmann, likes to say before every revue, if we don't make fun of you in the show, it's because you're not important.
Of course, not all audience members have the requisite sense of humor (although the open bar before the show usually helps). I was blasted in an email after performing "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" one year. I explained to the writer that the song was from "Avenue Q" - a bona fide Broadway show - and that it was satire. She was not satisfied.
Hopefully our audiences this year will not be confused about the purpose of our lines and lyrics. They are designed to generate a laugh.
Why do we need to laugh - and laugh at ourselves?
I posed this question to Heilmann.
His first response was philosophical.
"Stress is at its highest point, both in our work and personal lives," he said. "Humor is one of the healthiest things we can do, physically and mentally, because of how quickly it can lower those stress hormones. And that's not coming from me, that's the Mayo Clinic, Oxford and several other leading medical institutions.
"What's interesting are the number of studies which support that humor boosts your immune system," he added.
Then he started to sound more like the Dave I know.
"So if you come to the revue and laugh, you'll likely never catch another virus in your life. For $125."
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers
can email her at