Cleveland Woman Tries to Rattle Wicked Understudy

Merideth Kaye Clark began as an understudy. However what she came back as was one tough cookie.

What could have been a show biz disaster instead turned into a beautiful moment of theater where the 2,700 members in the audience and actors onstage shared in something, said Clark, recalling the experience on Wednesday.

According to Steve Quinn, tour manager for Wicked, on Thursday night at State Theatre located at Playhouse Square during the middle of the quietest part of the enormously popular Broadway tour, an obscenity filled, drunken bawl started to break out from the audience.

Clark, a standby who is filling in as the green witch Elphaba, needed to make a fast decision while members of the audience and police scrapped with and eventually handcuffed and removed by force a screaming woman from the audience.

What Clark could have done was follow the lead of Patti LuPone and Hugh Jackman, who stopped shows recently when cell phones started ringing from the audience. What Clark did instead was sing the beautiful and sad song, “I’m Not That Girl,” in spite of the increased invective and volume, until the woman had been escorted out.

Clark said, I thought to myself, if the show comes to a stop, she wins. If we go on, then she loses.

While Clark sang the song’s last note amid the new silence, members of the audience stood up to give her a standing ovation. Clark said, it felt like it lasted a whole minute. It was quite magical. I think I took some sort of bow.

The other woman from the story was identified by police as 49 year old Kathleen Holmes from Rock Creek. Holmes had two misdemeanors charged against her. If she had not attacked her booking officer, the police would have released her. Holmes received a felonious assault charge and spent Wednesday night in jail.

This morning Holmes will have the opportunity to do her own singing when she is a member of the judge’s audience.

By Julie Harmon On December 11, 2009

All photos made available via creative commons licensing courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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