The year 1988 was pivotal for community theater actors Lloyd and Sheila Hazzard.
They met while helping stage the musical comedy “Mame” with the Valley Musical Comedy Company.
Lloyd and Sheila married six years later and have since enjoyed, more than ever, their comon interest. They don’t see an end in sight to theatrical exploits.
Both will play in the Over the Hill Theatricals’ production of “All Aboard for Broadway.”
Sheila will play Billy Jo Fine, a Broadway star who is part of a love triangle with Tex (Lloyd) and Broadway producer Florence Zweibach.
“All Aboard for Broadway” was written by Craig Sodaro, with music and lyrics by George M. Cohan, one of America’s all-time stage stars. The songs are familiar to Americans going on 100 years later.
The musical showings are at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5, 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 7.
Sheila grew up in Seattle, attending Nathan Hale High School. She wasn’t in any plays, but she did enjoy performing vocal music. She took voice lessons and sang in the school’s swing and concert choirs. She performed in East Berlin in 1973 with the swing choir at the International Music Festival.
“It was wonderful,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lloyd was growing up in Sunnyside performing in plays, drama and comedy. He didn’t perform in musicals because of his own low impression of his singing.
Lloyd was in his first musical in 1986 with the Valley Musical Comedy Company’s production that year.
He worked mostly backstage, but like a utility baseball player, filled in where needed on stage.
Sheila was performing in the role of Vera, Mame’s best friend and actor, who was also a lush, in 1988.
Lloyd was part of the cast and had the opportunity to hear her sing.
“She’s a great singer,” Lloyd said. “She was the one who told me I could sing. I just needed some training.”
The Hazzards have played lead roles, opposite each other, in three shows. She was Calamity Jane to his Wild Bill Hickock, he was Tin Man to her Cowardly Lion, she was Dolly Levi to his Horace Vandergelder.
Sheila grew up dreaming of being an opera star. That dream faded, and she started to feel incomplete.
Now she performs in or directs a yearly musical.
“It’s like the piece of my puzzle that was always missing,” she said.
Lloyd’s need is different. He needs adulation and approbation.
“He’s a ham,” Sheila said.
“If he doesn’t get the audience reaction he’s expecting, he’ll do more until he gets it,” Sheila said.
Since they started with Valley Musical Comedy Company, Lloyd has participated in 20 shows, Sheila in 18.
They are lot of work for about three months. And, they take the work home with them. They practice lines, practice songs and discuss points about the production.
“I like the camaraderie, the singing and have it all come together,” Lloyd said.
Yes, both actors get stage fright, especially if they hear there are friends or relatives in the audience.
Instead of looking at the people, they gaze at an angle just above their heads.
When it’s over and they are in the reception line, they are pleased to get a thumbs up from those friends and family.
They rarely make mistakes on stage because they worry so much about possible problem areas. They roll right through, singing or speaking. But they do remember when they stumble.
“I came onto the stage singing (in Calamity Jane) early one time, and I’m thinking what’s wrong with the orchestra; they’re not with me,” Sheila said.
The Hazzards will continue to sing, act and dance as long as they can and as long as Over the Hill Theatricals exists. It’s for people their age (45-and up), who want to continue to perform.
“Lots of friendships have been made,” Lloyd said.
In a funny aside, the Hazzards have never sung Karaoke together.
Sheila said Over the Hill believes that “… if we’re having fun, the audience is having fun.”