Viva La Frida was an eclectic Mexican Restaurant in Tampa that had a fenced in area off the main drag that had a patio and a small staging area. I went in and rebuilt and painted the stage and set it up to do small one acts. People would order off the menu and sit at umbrella tables and watch our shows such as "Lonestar" or"Sexual Perversity in Chicago". All the talent came from USF. After I moved to Tallahassee I gave the company, Marquee Productions, to my former Stage Manager, Joe Winsky and a great young actor, Jack Holloway, and it is now called Hat Trick Productions.
In 1963 I appeared in my very first play with my Mother, Ruth Ann Marple. I was 8 years old and I had helped my Mom at home memorize her lines and went to rehearsals with her. That is when I met the director, Bob Belfance. The boy who was playing Jim-Wilson, the son of my Mom's character in "All The Way Home", was sick with the mumps and Bob asked me if I would do the role since I knew the show so well. I said sure. That was my first taste of show business and,as you can see, I still have an appetite!
Three things I remember vividly about this show. One was that I would go to an icebox (refrigerators weren't common everywhere back then) and get Welch's grape juice in small bottles to drink. Second was that in the third act I would be in bed onstage and would start snoring and they had to wake me up for curtain call. Third was when we took the show to upstage New York to The Barn Theatre and my Dad drove us. It was raining and I remember my Dad got lost in Pennsylvania but he and my Mother woke me up when the sign "Welcome to New York" was just in front of us. I thought that one day I would live there. That eventually came
true years later.