Monday, April 11, 2005

Meet Moonie in Spirit: Original Minnie's Boys cast member Gary Raucher

As I mentioned before I went to see the Sunday matinee of Minnie's Boys. and there was a talkback session with the audience afterwards.

Our guest that day was Minnie's Boys original Broadway cast member, Gary Raucher (seen here with Greg).

Gary played the unsung Gummo in the original Broadway cast, then later played Chico in a major revival starring Kaye Ballard. Gary had a lot of interesting things to share about doing the original production of Minnie's Boys;

- First of all he really liked the show. It was the first time he had ever actually seen it! He made a special point of praising Darlene as Minnie, saying she approached the role more like Kaye (warm, grounded, earthy) than like Shelley. He kind of left it to our imagination to fill in the blanks on that one.

- Apparently Shelley was not terrific at learning lines, and her nerves made it even worse. Every night she went up. Gary told a great story about one of those moments you really wish you could take back. It was their first tech rehearsal, and he was standing in the wings right before Minnie's first number, "Five Growing Boys", and Shelley went up on her lines. Gary said (under his breath so he thought) "why don't we just get a teleprompter?" But it was one of those unfortunate moments when silence had fallen, and apparently people, including Shelley, heard his snarky comment. Needless to say he was mortified, and even momentarily feared for his job, but he apologized and everything was fine.

- Gary refuted the rumor that Ms. Winters missed a lot of performances. he says she only missed a couple that he can recall.

- He also talked a bit about the Marxs. Chico and Harpo were already dead by this time. Miltie (Gummo) was none too happy about how they shoved him right out of the limelight. I guess in real life he was one of the original two that were out there performing. But he gave up on the idea pretty early, so they just skipped his early involvement altgoether. Gary also was unconvinced that "special adviser" Groucho was happy with the results, but Gary added that by then Groucho seemed a bit like cranky old man.

Gary is now a drama therapist in San Francisco. I found an interesting description of what that means online here.

There's more to tell from the talkback session, but this is the Gary stuff. And here's another shot of him with Greg and also Stephanie:

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