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By Roz Rogoff

He drives at night

Uploaded: Jul 4, 2014

I need a blog break from the Tassajara Valley cemetery and the nasty comments that accompanied it. My sister Alice and her husband David live in San Francisco. They are my only family members who aren't thousands of miles away in Maine or Europe.

I wanted to see "Ella, the Musical" when it was playing at the Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek last October , but by the time my sister and her husband agreed on when to go and where to sit, the remaining seats had sold out.

The show was brought back to the Lesher Theater this year for a short run from the end of June to the beginning of July. I jumped on the chance to get tickets and pressured my sister to agree to the front row seats I was able to locate for Thursday, July 3rd. My sister is also a fan of Ella Fitzgerald and her husband drives at night.

That's important because I don't drive much after dark and my sister Alice was never a good driver. So her husband David does all the driving, which reminds me of an old joke my mother told me when she lived in Florida.

An elderly woman announces to her friends that she is getting married again. "Is he handsome?" one asks. "No," the woman says. "Is he smart?" another asks. "No." the woman replies. "Well is he rich?" the third one asks. "No," she says again. "Then why are you marrying him?" they blurt out at once. "He drives at night!" That's a funny joke when you are over 70.

Alice and David were on their way here to pick me up last night, when she phoned from the car at 5:25 pm. They were on Highway 24 coming out of Lafayette. She said the traffic was very heavy and they were worried that we might not make it to the theater on time.

I told her Walnut Creek is only half-an-hour away and we could leave as soon as David gets here. The back of the tickets offered a 15% discount at Scotts Seafood in Walnut Creek. I phoned Scotts to get the address and make a reservation. They said they are one block from the theater and we wouldn't need a reservation.

Alice and David arrived a little after 6 PM and we left at 6:25. The traffic wasn't nearly as bad as they feared. We got to Walnut Creek before 7 PM, and parked at a meter across from the theater and walked a block and a half to Scotts. It was busier than I expected since I was told we wouldn't need a reservation. We got a table quickly but Alice and David were still worried about making it to the show by 8 PM.

They asked the waiter how long each dish took to make and took so much time deciding what to order that it was almost 7:30 by the time we were served. We finished up and headed for the theater at 7:50. Our seats were in the front row and we got to them just in the nick of time.

The show is a mix of Ella's biography and musicography. Yvette Cason plays Ella, but this isn't an impersonation. She doesn't look like Ella Fitzgerald and her voice doesn't really sound like Ella's, but her scat singing is dead-on.

This is a tour-de-force performance. I recommend everyone go to see it, but there are only two performances left. The Sunday show appears to be sold out, but there may still be seats available for Saturday night.