In a bizarre twist of fate this past week, I have eaten supper with a dashing millionaire.
No, make that a billionaire!
Stranger still was the vision of Mr Warbucks’ housekeeper perched on a bench, casually kicking her legs and knitting, while a bunch of ragged orphans happily played nearby, and a whole orchestra gratefully grabbed a takeaway coffee presented by their conductor during interval.
Such are the surreal scenes in the green room backstage at Annie.
I was first struck by the strangeness of the situation when I found myself in full costume as a 1930s housemaid, dunking a teabag beside a dapper gentleman wearing a suave moustache and a three-piece suit – who was heating homemade soup in the microwave.
An orphan on an iPod, comfortably beside a New York policeman checking texts from family just seemed like such an incredible clash of cultures that it was entertainment in itself.
Glamorous blonde beauties in full length sequined evening gowns sipped water while the English butler relished a hearty meal from home, and the stage crew, dressed entirely in matte black, grabbed a quick bite before rushing back to again disappear and move the furniture.
I must admit I had truly forgotten how much fun and anxiety are involved in musical theatre.
I remained well hidden during the physical warm up sessions, then got stuck on stage in the wings when a curtain came down which forced me to shimmy out on my stomach under a table.
When Annie’s wig fell off at my feet during one dress rehearsal I was dumbfounded.
In character as a housemaid, I had the overriding urge to clear up the mess, however I also couldn’t help but remember my childhood dance teacher’s instructions that if your knickers fall down during a performance, you must simply step out of them and keep dancing.
Clearly her comments are seared into my memory because they terrified me and I knew she was serious.
Very often in life, the show really must go on.
But the lovely thing about musical theatre is that everyone on the team is pulling in the same direction, trusting each other and working towards the goal of creating a little piece of theatre magic.