We're always happy to hear from our friends, allies, collaborators, and neighbors. But sometimes when the phone rings, it's a stranger on the line. And more often than not, they have the same question: "What's the Fish Pirate's Daughter?"
These aren't idle requests for information about our famed original musical melodrama by that very title, which has been performed annually for nearly six decades. These are curious callers holding the remnants or crumbs of their lunch. On the table before them (or in a basket, we presume) is a plate- or basket-liner printed with "The Specialty News," a mock-up American newspaper of the middle-20th century.
On that paper are funny little headlines and images relating to food: "Top Rivals to Meet at the Potato Bowl" and "Allegations of 'Fish Stories' Par for the Course at Local Events" and "Record Crowds Are 'Peeling Out' to Get to Potato Festival."
But on the "top" of the page—"above the fold," so to speak—reads the headline, "Fish Pirate's Daughter Caught Up In Crowd." What follows is a short blurb about our very own original musical melodrama...and our First City Players phone number, which hasn't changed in decades.
We get calls at least weekly, and sometimes even multiple times daily. Whether from a ski resort in northern Michigan, or an island joint on the Gulf Coast of Florida, or even as far away as Germany, lovers of fried fish, burgers, reubens, chicken fingers, and fries see that number and make a decision (or accept a dare) to make a call.
Many of them hang up upon our answering, perhaps surprised to find that we are indeed real people, in a real theatre, in a real town, with a real show, in very real Alaska, Others are more polite.
For years we have simply laughed about this phenomenon. But in recent weeks, we've begun to ask a question in return: "Where are you calling from?"
We've begun to build a map. See below!