Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Falling Stars and Other Ovations

The Hyperion Theater at Disneyland’s California Adventure was full of media and special guests tonight as Disneyland kicked off its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The celebrity host of the event was Kelsey Grammer, known to Disney film fans as the voice of the Prospector in Toy Story 2, but is probably known best for his television character Dr. Frasier Crane on Frasier.
Grammer took stage and opened his talk with a few laughs before he stepped right off the three-foot stage and almost collapsed. Most of us in the audience thought at first it was a rehearsed act, so smooth he was in landing on his feet. But shortly after pulling himself upright he says, “Oh shit! That hurt.” When people began running out from backstage to assist, the crowd went from stunned silence to murmurs. Cameras flashed, the audience buzzed with wonder, but Grammer held his dignity. In years past one might have attributed his stumble to green room imbibing, but in all honesty, the stage itself contributed. Imagine the stage edge with large stars cut all about it, creating voids where the points of stars jutted out from the main section of the stage. It looked awkward and created an awkward setting.

After a few tense moments. Grammer apologized for his language, rubbed his thigh, then nodded to the audience and resumed the stage to thundering applause like one hears at a soccer game when the kid on the ground gets back into the game. It was amazing to watch Grammer work through what could have been the end of the show for an artist of lesser panache. Grammer deserves a standing ovation for his composure and professionalism in a very embarrassing and tense situation.

I’m sure this was probably not his most embarrassing moment, but it makes me wonder what others have done when the cameras were pointed at them. Has anything embarrassing, humiliating, or nervewracking ever happened to you in front of a big crowd? And what did you do when the eyes were trained on you?

Disneyland knows how to throw a party. Watch for tomorrow’s update on the May 4 press and VIP day extravaganza. Disneyland’s Block Party opens to the public tomorrow May 5 (my birthday!) and runs throughout the rest of the 50th anniversary celebration year.

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