Rochester in the Rear View Mirror
The last time I was in Rochester I was 18 years old. That summer I was working in a show for American Airlines called the Sky Chef Revue. Sky Chef at the time was the airline catering division of AA. I'm not sure why they decided to do a touring show with a bunch of college performers that summer. But, if someone was going to pay me to perform the fewer the questions the better.
It was a song and dance show that featured a ventriloquist and his partner Squeaky. Usually we performed at stages set up in the Airport lobby. In the middle of my routine I would hear the announcement of a departing flight and half the audience would get up and leave. Everyone in the show had to sing and dance, except Squeaky. Christine Rutherford was a singer and dancer and my partner in a tribute to the Charleston staged by the director/choreographer Miss Perris.
In Rochester that summer we didn't perform at the airport, we performed at a lounge that was part of a hotel in Rochester owned by Sky Chefs. It was a treat to perform for people who would stay through the entire show. I wish I remembered the name of the hotel so I could have found it this time. I really have no clue where it was.
After our show we would hang out in the lounge. If I remember correctly the drinking age was 18 in New York at the time. It didn't matter because it seems to me that Christine and the other dancers in the show had no trouble getting drinks from the 22 year old bartender.
One evening the lounge sponsored a "Charleston Contest". The winner got a bottle of Champagne. I looked at Christine and she looked at me. We realized that we had a Charleston number choreographed and ready to go so we entered. Our only serious competition was a couple in there 50's, they were pretty good , but we were professionals and the 22 year old bartender was the judge. Needless to say we won.
Christine drank more of the champagne than I did. Since she is still my friend after all these years and occasionally reads this blog she can comment and set the record straight if I misrepresented the consumption proportions.
This trip to Rochester was very different. No dancers, no singers, no airport announcements during the show this time. Squeaky is the only one around to remind me of earlier days. Thanks Rochester... sold out shows... smart audiences.... friendly people... and a nice theatre.... now if you can just work on this snow thing.
As you were,