It’s a sad day here in our home today…..we are going to the funeral service of our very good friend Ed Chapa today. Ed was the owner and Executive Director of the Aurora Arts Theatre. As many know, Paul walked into that little theatre last summer and changed all our lives! He went in to see about renting it for an Absoflutely! concert and ended up in the “house band” for the show Cabaret.
Needless to say, Paul LOVED it! This was really his first regular gig since becoming a “full-time musician” at the beginning of 2010 and he really felt at home there. Of course, we all went to see him and were AMAZED at this wonderful little community theatre and this incredible man with this booming voice and big bear paw hands! Ed Chapa was so happy to meet us and went on and on about how great Paul is……that’s MY kind of guy! lol!
So Cabaret ended and the next show was Rocky Horror. Growing up in Cincinnati I had been to the downtown midnight showing of Rocky back when I was….uhhhh….YOUNG….anyway….it’s iconic and so much fun! Paul, of course, signed up with the bad again and I became the “Professional Volunteer” selling popcorn, drinks and such……Then I ended up the “Shout Out Queen” sitting in the audience every show and doing “shout outs” at the cast…..there was dressing up in crazy costumes, yelling out obscene things in a sold out theatre, fantastic music and lots of Time Warping…..it was the BEST……
By this time we were full-fledged adopted children of the Chapas…..I learned the recipe for Chapa Corn (the best popcorn you will ever eat!) and I would sit in “Chapa Row” in the back, reserved for the staff…..and Paul and Ed developed a friendship …… a good one…..and for those that know my husband….REALLY know my husband….that is rare. He has lots of friends and a few select “buddies” and Eddie was one of them…..
Paul would just pop into the theatre on a weekday afternoon and sit and “shoot the shit” with Eddie…..theatre, music, life….no topic was off limits…..and Eddie confided in Paul as well….sharing his frustrations of opening a brand new venture….(the theatre celebrated their 1 year anniversary last month). They were friends……and we are crushed…..
The next show was Footloose and I gave serious consideration to auditioning (note: I have NEVER considered auditioning for a play in my LIFE!) but the timing wasn’t right…..kid drama kept me at home…..and I feel it was God’s hand saying “not yet…”…because I swear that show as cursed the moment it started….
It was just a rough show…..went thru 3 directors and the last one walked out the day before opening night….went thru one or two choreographers….2 stage managers…..everyone hated the set design and the cast was very inexperienced…..one of the cast members had to be replaced 1/2 way thru the run…..drinking problem apparently…..sickness and laryngitis ran thru the cast like wildfire……it was just HARD…..it was like it was being FORCED into being……and it ended in the most tragic way…..
Last Friday night we all went to the show….the kids helped with crowd control….I was working the concession booth and of course, Paul was in the band……last Friday night show, we all had Saturday off then we would come close the show on Sunday with the matinee……I spent the evening huddled in the office with Ed’s wife Mary and his sister-in-law Norma, telling them our tale of misdiagnosed gall stones and biopsies and possible cancer…..Mary shared some of the trials and tribulations of Ed’s recent knee replacement surgery (done 2 weeks before). Little did we know when we said goodbye and handed out all our hugs what was in store for the next 24 hours……
Eddie was sitting at his computer around 3:30 Saturday when he had a ….. we don’t even know….heart attack? aneurism? does it matter? His sweet Mary was there by his side as he was rushed to the hospital but their efforts were futile……Eddie was gone…..
Sudden……tragic…..and a great loss to our family as well as the community as a whole…….we are just crushed…..
We sure could use you right about now Ed! And I know he was very concerned about Paul’s health…….but I know there is an advocate in heaven right now pulling for Paul and that brings me some comfort…….
Please say a small prayer for us today as we weep and say goodbye to our dear friend…..
“Live theatre Baby! Live theatre……..” — Eddie Chapa