Leda raises a glass of white wine to her lips and smiles as the crisp, advice cold vino finally makes its way down her throat. It’s been a long, long wait, and she is savoring the moment as the glimmering lights of the Milwaukee skyline serve as her backdrop.
Leda is a stage director who bounces from job to job. Tonight she has taken a break from packing up her life for a summer gig directing a couple of Shakespeare plays. She has foregone a much desired trip to a local custard stand because friends of hers redirected a last in-town evening of mischief to Blu for fancy libations. The switcheroo allows Leda to have a long overdue celebratory drink.
“I directed a play here, no rx ” says Leda. “No, actually, two plays.” One play deserves a slow clap at the very least. Two plays? Definitely a glass of Zinfandel.
I scratch my head, wondering if somehow I’ve missed a secret underground theater here at the Pfister. Is there some sort of speakeasy entertainment venue hidden within the inner core of the hotel? Do I need to whisper, “Swordfish!” along the walls so I might find a hidden secret passage? Leda is required to stop drinking to give me the dope.
“We did these plays in the ballroom…I think it’s on the 7th floor,” she says. I confirm that there is indeed a ballroom on the 7th floor at the Pfister, but it’s news to me that a fella might catch a production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Pfister if he’s in the know.
Leda corrects my aspirational thinking that I might snag a ticket for a rouge 7th floor production of THE BOOK OF MORMON. Her theatrical debut at the Pfister was part of the Young Leaders’ Academy Discovering Our Destiny Gala. As a member of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s artistic staff, Leda worked with female students from this charter school affiliated with the YMCA on writing and producing an original play. The girls from the school presented their final results as part of an end-of-year celebration. I couldn’t have gotten a ticket if I had tried. The show was for families and all the boys at the school.
“The girls were all dressed in white and did this grand presentation. We did our play after the girls did a dance that they had worked on with the Milwaukee Ballet.” Leda advises me that if you have the choice, never be the follow up act to the Milwaukee Ballet. Especially when you’re a middle school play. It’s a tough spot.
I ask Leda is she ever made it past the 7th floor during her days directing the young ladies.
“Nope. But I brought a lot of props up in the elevator in my shorts and t-shirt. I felt a bit underdressed.”
Tonight Leda is decked out in a cocktail dress, and the spiffy friends at her table raise a glass to toast her past openings at the Pfister. It’s not quite like winning a Tony Award, but the view sure is swell.