If you're young, attractive, energetic, musically inclined and fast on your feet - have I got a future summer job for you - at Lagoon!
I'm not talking about the midway. Forget those flunkie jobs on all the scary rides, or the ones that require a bedside manner to soothe the people who don't win stuffed animals.I'm taling classy entertainment. Lagoon's "Music USA" is currently featuring a 1990 musical revue called "A Salute to Broadway" a fast-moving, entertaining tribute to the Great White Way. It includes such memorable classics as "A Pretty Girl" from "The Ziegfield Follies"; "They Call the Wind Mariah" from "Paint Your Wagon"; "Tonight" from "West Side Story" and "I Cain't Say No" from "Oklahoma."
These and many others, tightly packaged with bright and colorful costumes, are performers (five women and five men) who rotate their roles nightly so that eight performers are in each show, while two have the evening off.
This year more than 100 young people auditioned for the roles. The winners are without exception attractive and talanted local young people ranging in age from 18 to 25. Most have spent numerous hours in vocal or dance lessons, and most do not see their futures as full-time professional entertainers. But they are unqualified hit.
Collette Schlappi, 21, of Orem, has been performing at Lagoon the longest - four years - and it shows. Her most memorable act is a knock-'em-dead rendition of "Let Me Entertain You," from "Gypsy." When she leaves the stage to flirt with a young boy and an older man, the audience goes wild.
When Schlappi suddenly appeared face to face with my nephew, Scott Sorensen, 7, he was infatuated. He freely answered her questions and promised to meet her afterward. But another little boy approached in the same way during another performance became terrified and began sobbing. Smoothly, Schlappi scuttled that part of her act and found an older man to invite to the stage where he awkwardly danced to the accompaniment of "Honey Bun" from "South Pacific."
On the first night I saw it, the older man chosen was feistier than he was supposed to be. He promptly wrapped his around Schlappi and responded with sexier answers than were warranted by her questions. "That was unusual," says Schlappi. Almost all of the patrons give shy responses to her musical flirtations.
Schlappi cuts hair at a beauty salon during her "off" hours. Last year, as Miss Orem, she was among the top 10 finalists for Miss Utah crown. She is getting married in two months and is uncertain as to wheater she will pursue a show business career.
Angi Cannon, 20, is from Salt Lake City and possesses an infectious smile. In her third year performing at Lagoon, she sees herself more as a teacher. She has chosen a major yet at Brigham Young University. She thinks she is a better dancer than a singer, but the audience loved her sultry version of "Cabaret."
Cannon claims that audience makes a huge difference, and that the result is "a new show every night." She would "jump at the chance" for a full-time performing career.
Camille Bailey, 19, also of Salt Lake City, is a communications major at the University of Utah, but her "passion is music and theater." Yet she sees herself doing it only on the side while pursuing a broadcasting career. When Biley was only 12, she sat in the audience at Lagoon and watched an earlier tribute to Broadway, thinking, "I want to do this!"
Besides entertaining, Bailey works for Zion's Bank as a secretary. She says all those in the troupe are "really good friends," despite the pranks. "The REAL show every night is backstage. Someone is always getting a face full of whipping cream or a mask full of ketchup."
LauraLyn Oldham, 19, of Kaysville, is the only one in the show who has memorized all four parts, showing her agility and versatility. And this is only her first year in the show. She worked in the Lagoon office for two years before auditioning. LauraLyn's major at the U. is engineering, although she teaches piano lessons on the side.
Another performer, Angela Burnett, 20, Centerville, was selected Miss Davis County on July 17, her day off. Angela has had 12 years of ballet training and wants to sing professionally and open a studio for voice and dance. Her major at Weber State College is English, with a dance and history minor. During the year she is assistant manager of the Trolley Stop Ice Cream Shop in Draper, and she also teaches voice lessons.
Bret Wheadon, 22, Centerville, is in his second year in the show. He loves Broadway music and has taken private vocal lessons. He has show business ambitions. but would prefer to pursue them in local productions in Utah. He has learned a great deal from the show - especially how to handle emergency, such as slipping on stage. He plans to attend Weber State University next year.
Jeff Whiting, 18, Salt Lake City, works 25 hours a week at the Athletic Bag Co. as a fabric inspector, in addition to his five hours at night at Lagoon. His real interest is in music composition, the major he plans in the fall at BYU. He has written music for the past four years and taken vocal lessons for three years. He foresees the necessity of leaving Utah eventually to pursue a career in composing.
Tim Shoemaker, 18, Salt Lake City, works as a model for McCarty's. He poses for catalogs and does commercials for ZCMI. But next fall, he is enrolling at BYU to pursue a career in retail marketing. He will continue to cultivate his performing interest as a sidelight. He believes there is too much insecurity in entertainment as a profession.
Roger Stephenson, 23, Salt Lake City, works as a ski instructor during the winter months, and is recovering from knee surgery made necessary by a skiing accident. But it has not slowed him down onstage. He plans to pursue a nursing career, not a singing one, despite an appealing voice he has cultivate by singing with the radio since the age of 3. He says making costume changes in such a short time is a major challenge. "If you miss one shoelace, forget it."
As company manager for the show, Brett Bradford, 25, attends even on the nights he is not performing. Brett, from Bountiful, did a lot of singing in high school, and performed five rock n' roll shows a day at Six Flags magic Mountain in California in 1986 and 1987. Besides his Lagoon commitment, he works a full day in the engraving department at the Franklin Institue.
As could be predicted by their ages, not all of these young men and women listen to Broadway music at home - but they all love what they are doing and put enormous energy into their performances. Their onstage chemistray is superb. They rarely make mistakes, but if they do, they keep going and hope no one notices.
Their enthusiasm is contagious. A lot of people in the audience feel the way the man did who was seated next to me. At the end of the show, he turned and said, "Now THAT"S my type of music!"
When Lagoon swithces to weekends-only after Labor Day, "Music USA" will continue on Saturdays through September, with times changed to 7 and 8:30 p.m.