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by Joe Hanrahan
August, 2021
The St. Louis Fringe Festival

Midnight was back at the Fringe, with another new show on a very new topic. When I got the word we were would be in the Fringe, I wasn't entirely happy. I was in the midst of prep for other shows, and didn't know if I had it in me to create something new, somewhat fast.

That was around my birthday in late March, and as chance had it, I received a Facebook birthday greeting and an offer for drinks from Amy Greenhalgh. We'd worked together once - a one-night Amy sit-in for LITTLE THING BIG THING - and had stayed in loose touch. But the moment I received her Birthday wish, my mind snapped to a book I'd been prerusing every day during the pandemic - YEAR OF WONDER by Clemency Burton-Hill, a book of daily recommendations of classical movie pieces accompanied by Burton-Hill's always fascinating stories and commentary.

And I thought - Violin Show! I'd only have to write half of it and Amy'd play the other half. I started researching the history of the instrument and found all sorts of wonders concerning it. So I got a pitch ready and met with Amy. I acknowledged the Burton-Hill inspiration and Amy said "I grew up with her." First positive note. Then talked about other things about the instrument that fascinated me, including the very lengthy, very expensive repair work that went into restoring one of the classic violins, including a famous incident from 2008 in London with violinist David Garrett.

And Amy said "I was there," playing in the London Philharmonic behind Garrett. (Another good coincidence.) Suffice to say, Amy immediately grasped the interest and fun of the idea, jumped on board, and away we went. Much due to her skills and professionalism, we had a rapid, fun rehearsal period building the show, and a handful of good performances at the Fringe. At the beginning of the process, we both acknowledged, "We have a show," something we can do again, almost anywhere. Let's hope we're there again soon and often.


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