The fabulous musical MCF: What a Life! was first performed at Mrs. Fleming’s 90th birthday celebration in August 2000. Cindy Smith, former Head of the TASIS England Parents’ Council, attended the premiere and wrote the following review of the remarkable performance.
By Cindy Smith
Picture a beautifully decorated banquet hall with flower-laden candelabras atop linen tablecloths and an impressive dimly-lit stage at one end. Expectancy built as 550 guests gathered with gaiety and anticipation for a grand party fitting for Mrs. Fleming's 90th birthday.
The TASIS all-purpose gymnasium was transformed for this magical evening. Alumni, teachers, administrators, parents, and friends traveled from all corners of the world to be a part of this celebration and witness a musical testimony to a life which touched each one of the guests. None of us, however, could have imagined the professional spectacle we were about to enjoy.
|From the opening scene to the closing song, we were spellbound and thoroughly entertained by music and dance as the story of a remarkable woman's life came alive.|
The stage lights went up and the performance began. Elie Crawford, playing Mrs. Fleming, entered stage left with her arms spread wide open as she exclaimed, "Well, hello, darling...why didn't anyone tell me they were sending such a handsome young man." The house went wild. From the opening scene to the closing song, we were spellbound and thoroughly entertained by music and dance as the story of a remarkable woman's life came alive.
The performers were TASIS students and alumni who came together for three intense weeks of rehearsals. The creative force behind it all was Todd Fletcher, who wrote and directed the Musical. None of the performers had seen so much as a line of music before they arrived three weeks earlier. Todd had not met his cast that was to perform what he had written. How they all worked together to make it happen in such a short period of time was a tribute to their talent, boundless energy, creative leadership, and the fact that their inspiration was celebrating her 90th birthday and nothing less than the best was good enough for her.
As the celebration continued that evening and into the next day, the Lugano campus was buzzing with the talk of the musical's "West End" quality, catchy tunes, and memorable stories. Lynn's vision, Todd's genius, talented performers, and M. Crist Fleming's life full of amazing material created a musical that will not be forgotten by any fortunate to be present for its premiere.
The Fete was a magical weekend celebrating a remarkable woman's 90 years of life. From tours of the Lugano campus to a boat ride on Lake Lugano, from a delightful cocktail reception on the lawn outside Casa Fleming to a stunning Musical it was a weekend fit for the grand lady we all adore. What a birthday party, Mrs. Fleming! What a life, indeed.
A 2011 performance of MCF: What a Life!
Maestro Jonathan Morris, who has adapted Todd Fletcher's original musical, leads a production meeting in February
M. Crist Fleming enjoying the final night of the MCF: What a Life! spring musical in the Palestra (March 27, 2004)
MCF: What a Life! returns to TASIS
The 60th anniversary performance of MCF: What a Life! will be presented to alumni on the evening of August 20, and there will be a special encore performance for the local community at 16:00 on the afternoon of Sunday, August 21.