April 22, 2010

“Hey Florence!” cast set for another run

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James Barnett, R.N., M.S.N., and Brooke West, R.N., during last fall's performance of "Hey Florence!" (photo by Mary Donaldson)

"Hey Florence!" cast set for another run

“Hey Florence!” is back for round two.

The musical about the everyday lives of nurses, starring active-duty nurses from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will have two encore performances May 7 in celebration of Nurses Week 2010.

“Hey Florence! received a standing ovation at each performance last fall,” said Donna Glassford, director of Cultural Enrichment and producer of "Hey Florence!"

“Many people from both the Nashville and medical community expressed a desire for us to perform the show again because they either missed the musical and heard it was great, or they wanted to see the show again and bring friends.”

The performances will be held in Langford Auditorium on Friday, May 7, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door (cash and checks only). CDs will be on sale in the lobby for $10.

Sandra Sandgren, R.N., charge nurse in the pediatric operating room, who stars in the musical, said she pulled the CD out occasionally to keep the songs fresh in her memory.

“The whole cast is excited about reuniting because our lives don’t really cross in the hospital. It’s great to get together again,” she said.

Sandgren said she only heard positive reactions after the musical’s debut last fall.

“A lot of people were amazed that nurses could put on a musical, but we all have talents,” she said. “Vanderbilt nurses are the best, and this musical is a validation and a thank you. It is so exciting that someone is recognizing nurses for the work that they do.”

Sandgren said that for her, performing the musical was an emotional rollercoaster.

“I perform a scene with Ellen Musick about losing patients, and when I first heard the song ‘Another Goodbye,’ I said there was no way I could do it without crying. It was very personal because constantly losing patients is one of the reasons I left critical care. This scene was a way to confront that and remember that one patient who put me over the edge. It was cathartic and painful, but it is what we nurses go through every day.”

“Hey Florence!” is directed by Australian playwright Craig Christie, and is quickly gaining national attention.

“The cast has been invited to perform at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and at the University Medical Center at Princeton in New Jersey. We are literally taking the show on the road with the original cast after the Vanderbilt performance,” Glassford said.