Awesome Snow Storm Thwarts All Efforts for The Snow Queen: Lynnie Godfrey to Perform with Symphony Orchestra in Allentown, PA

Lynnie Godfrey as “The Snow Queen” with actor Ashton Holmes Photo by Timothy H. Raab

Lynnie Godfrey as “The Snow Queen” with actor Ashton Holmes
Photo by Timothy H. Raab

There is NO GOD like GOD and if you want to hear GOD laugh say that YOU have a plan.

I guess you say what a funny way to start a piece of writing…but it applies. I should start by saying that around 1998 I was introduced to the role of the magical Hans Christian Anderson fairy queen: SNOW QUEEN and performed that role for several years and may reprise it in the future.

As I referred to my calendar book of 2015 I see the date Thursday, January 22 at 1 PM as the first gathering of the team that would compose the performance event of LYYNIE GODFREY CARESSES THE STANDARDS. (Yes, that was the original title). The team: Ron Demkee, Ken Moyer, Donna Fritchney, Diane Wintry and myself…(Sheila Evans, the Executive Director couldn’t make it that day) gathered that day.

There we sat around an nondiscript round table hashing out the beginning of what would be a year long journey to the January 23, 2016… Full Orchestra concert for Lynnie Godfrey. Our conversation was rapid and enthusiastic and many things were not touched on but we all knew it would be an event.

Many changes occurred: the Executive Principles decided that the wording CARESSES was too provocative so after a bit of consultation I presented them with the alternative of EMBRACES. Quite frankly, the title will always be LYNNIE GODFREY CARESSES THE STANDARDS wherever else we go (and we’ve tested it and everyone else loved it!) because that is what we are doing on that stage!!

2016 was a banner year for me.. I started on the plans of the concert, I would come to direct 2 readings, travel to engage theatrical interest in the plays, rehearse for the concert and write a book.. It was like 1933 for Ethel Waters when she started singing “STORMY WEATHER” written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler under the musical direction of Duke Ellington at the famed Cotton Club and then was on star on Broadway in the Irving Berlin hit: “AS THOUSANDS CHEER” and to sing the two classics “ HEAT WAVE” and ‘SUPPERTIME” both written exclusively for her.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not comparing myself to the great WATERS…. just the run of work of the two of us. What a YEAR!!! But not all that year was great…

During the summer I would become increasing concerned with the health of my last blood relative in my family nucleus…Jo-Ann. I would make efforts to transfer her from her sweet Randolph, NJ cottage-like apartment to the Lehigh Valley to monitor her health more carefully. You see Jo-Ann suffered from muscular dystrophy and had had it for 54 years and in the last 18 months it was progressing very quickly leaving her bed bound. October 4, I was invited to a cabaret performance of one of my lovely actors and colleagues:  Alexander Foucard in New York. Jo-Ann had been sleeping a lot and reaching her on the phone was becoming increasingly difficult. I talked to her earlier in the day and then it became difficult to reach her (I liked to call her about 4 to 5 times a day). Just as I began to worry about her she answered the phone and told me to “You go on to New York, don’t send Carl over, I’m just sleeping today”. So I went riding with my friend Melba Tolliver to New York. We had a little supper with her friend Hans and then attended the performance. There must have been some difficulty with the mechanics because they started quite late. That meant I would get home late.

As was my practice I always called Jo-Ann on my return…I thought it was too late and I would call in the morning not to wake her up. Strangely my phone rang at 12:50 from her but because it was in the back seat in my purse I missed the call. I immediately reached back and retrieved the phone and tried several times to call Jo-Ann back but her battery had died on BOTH phones…landline and mobile. I decided I would go first thing in the morning…take that 100 mile trip and fuss at my dear for letting the battery die and then stock her with food and make sure she was secure.

None of that was to be, for as I arrived at her place the next morning I got no answer to my regular cry:” Jo…It’s me”. Too extreme and terrifying silence I walked into her bedroom to find my sweet girl GONE…with the television on…the phone in one hand and the check writing bills in the other. Attempts by me and the paramedics to revive her failed…I was and still am (as I relive those moments) devastated…My Josie was gone…

My life was changed forever!!!!

Months, days and minutes that followed were a blur of grief and work…work…work  to escape the pain of loss…

Fast forward to the month of December… rehearsals are going forward, the final of the book was due…all good to keep me…my mind busy… busy after losing my Jo…

Now January is upon us…television, radio, newspaper and live appearances the concert and book signings are being done. The weather looks grand and then about a week before a disturbing forecast: Snow…

Well …It is Thursday, January 21..we have a great rehearsal but now on my phone I am receiving notices that businesses are cancelling their performances for the weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our year-long effort was in jeopardy… Now at 4:30 on Thursday, the Governor declared a state of emergency status for Pennsylvania. I was not aware of that…I was being told by Symphony we would be put in a hotel on Friday as planned and then walk across the street and perform. Then more weather reports: not just a storm but a winter north eastern blizzard to say the least… Well, then came the phone call about not a cancellation but a POSTPONEMENT until Saturday, August 27 @ 7:30. A good date for a performance…after Musikfest at Arts Quest which I love to attend and before the last breath of summer Labor Day…Not bad…not a bad date at all.

Relief that everyone would be safe in their homes and the stress to try to make unsafe trips is off their minds and my mind. My audience and me …we are all safe…so it’s grand!!!

Then, came floods of calls: Will you perform before that? Will you accept a New York date offered before?.… What about the scouts/representatives that were coming to book you elsewhere…won’t you miss that chance?

Well…first, I believe one does not miss anything…if it is for you GOD will make a way. The representatives from other places will see me and the opportunities will come…faith…stepping out on a staircase that you don’t see… A date In New York…cannot do… contractually obligated to Symphony until after August 27 so NO!!!No New York gig right now.

Now it the time to do more book signing to promote the book, travel to book the plays, cast and rehearse for the play reading of…. LOIS”S WEDDING by Bathsheba Monk, the reading due Monday, March 21, 2016 and then rehearse for the summer event of my YEAR… SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2016 @ 7:30…SEE YOU THIS SUMMER!!!!