Shanghaied In Astoria
August 7, 2018
Shanghaiing or crimping: the practice of kidnapping people to serve as sailors by using trickery, intimidation, or violence. A crimp is someone who uses these methods to conscript a person against their will. A related term, press gang, refers specifically to impressment practices in Great Britain’s Royal Navy.
Now, while I have not been kidnapped in the form of shanghaiing, I did enjoy being in Astoria this past weekend and watching a performance of “Shanghaied In Astoria” – a musical melodrama now in its 35th season.
It’s good old fashioned, politically incorrect fun with over the top characters and toe tapping tunes. From the Infallible Wikipedia:
“Shanghaied In Astoria is a musical melodrama that is performed by the Astor Street Opry Company every summer in Astoria, Oregon. It has run since 1984, and has been attended by over 55,000 people. Traditionally the play is performed three days a week from July to September. (snip)
The story is set in 1904 Astoria around the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival. The Norwegian hero, Eric Olson, must rescue his sweetheart Miss Virginia Sweet from Max Krooke, her ward.”
A couple of sturdy women with the character Sneak. He knocked it out of the park!
I’ve attended the play five times now and can sing along with the cast. In fact, I even participated in a walk on role a couple of summers ago.
During intermission of each performance (the past four years at the least) they sell auction tickets for baskets.
The first year I bought tickets to be entered in a drawing for a walk on part. I won the honor of getting to play the part of the sheriff! I was given a badge, a play gun, and had one line: “Stop Krooke you crook!”
When I attended with my sister, niece and her fiance the next year, I once again purchased tickets and, once again, won the role of the sheriff!
Having done it the previous year, I didn’t want to do it again so I offered it to the members of my group but no one (not even my niece’s now husband who, ironically, is a police officer) wanted the role. So I gave it to a guy sitting next to me. He was thrilled!
Due to some family circumstances I was unable to attend last year, but we did make it this year. But, alas, they were not raffling off the role of the sheriff so I bought tickets for one of the baskets and… won.
So I have a 100 percent success rate for raffles at Shanghaied. What’s not to like?
If you are ever visiting Long Beach or Astoria in the summer, it’s a fun evening of tossing popcorn at the villains, booing, hissing and cheering the hero (Sweet but Dumb!)
And be sure to enter the raffle drawing – who knows you might just get your big break on the stage!
A few links:
A brief explanation on Wikipedia (of course): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghaied_in_Astoria
And a video from a few years ago about the production: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR0xTIsV8vQ