Coo Coo Ca Choo / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Tonight I saw a production of Sweeney Todd performed by high school students. In itself, that's pretty cool, not to mention that it was fantastic. But what I really want to tell you about is my close encounter with one of the actors.

And by "close encounter" I mean "intimate moment." And by "intimate moment" I mean "I almost went to jail."  Let me explain.

As part of the opening number, the chorus lined up at the feet of the audience members in the front row (which is where I was sitting, courtesy of the restaurant serving me super slow prior to the show and a little hiccup in finding the address of the theater ... which led to the only available seats being literally ON the stage). I should have known I was in for an interesting production when the announcer said, "Please remember to turn off your phones, there will be gunshots during the show, and for those of you sitting in the front row ... good luck."

Anyway, the cast started singing at our feet and then slowly worked their way closer and closer, while trying to be dramatic and creepy, until they were practically in our laps. This would have made me only slightly uncomfortable, if it weren't for the fact that the guy who'd singled me out was probably the cutest thing this side of the Mississip who probably still has a learner's permit.

By the time the song was almost finished, this guy ... strike that, kid, he's just a kid, a lovely lovely kid ... was inches from my face. My first thought was "Oh my god, he's going to kiss me."  My second?  "Oh my god, I could be his mother."

Luckily (or perhaps unluckily, depending on how you feel about Mrs. Robinson) the singing ended before what appeared to be an increasingly inevitable underage lip-lock. But this beautiful boy evidently got such a kick out of the encounter that he found me AGAIN later in the show and sang directly to me. In my head, I'm thinking, "He's sixteen, he's sixteen, he's sixteen ..." and in my heart I'm thinking, "Dammit, dammit, dammit!"

Don't think I didn't appreciate the irony of having a mini-crush on someone in a play about a demon barber who may or may not have actually been shaving yet. And don't think for a minute that I'd ever be a Statutory Sally. 

I'm just saying that, if I had to choose between being repeatedly spit on by a recklessly emphatic lead actor (which the lead actress did and took it like a trooper) or being lovingly gazed upon and serenaded by someone who doesn't remember typewriters or cassette tapes ... I'll choose the latter any day.