Tales of the Rhapsody 2004
Chapter Four: Beatlemania!
Written by Rick Archer
The Usual Suspects
So far this cruise writeup
has been all about Rick and Marla. The question is: Did anything
actually happen on the Trip besides the Royal Wedding? Good
that you asked. I am about to get to that.
However, before I go much further, I have to report about an amazing
Did you know that out of 120 passengers, a small group of 7 people
caused 90% of all the trouble?
To find so much mischief concentrated in so few is truly incredible.
Now I am not going to single these people out by name, but I will say
they are ALL sitting at the table to your right.
Please note there are 10 people seated. Three of them didn't give me a
All the rest misbehaved
terribly... and didn't show even the slightest bit of remorse.
One of the few
things I regret about the trip was missing the Beatles act
on the trip.
From the reports
I received, it sounded like our group had an
Apparently the antics of the
Usual Suspects reached new pinnacles this evening thanks to the coming out
party of Phyllis Porter, the Center of Attention.
Since I wasn't there, I
will let my ringside reporters tell the story.
Our Night With Beatlemania (Story One)
Story by Steffani Callihan
Photos by Steve Gabino
My name is Steffani Callihan and I've been a huge Beatles fan ever since
the Beatles arrived in America. Over the years, I knew there were
pseudo-Beatle groups who performed publicly, but I considered myself a
purist, and would never have put myself in one of their audiences. Then I
found myself on this great SSQQ cruise, in the second row of the stage in
the Broadway Melodies Theater, waiting for 'Beatlemania Live' to begin.
Our group consisted of myself,
Phyllis Porter, Steve Gabino, George Sargent, Gina Garza, Don Schmidt,
Maureen Brunetti, Eva Lue, Leslie Barkley, and about a dozen other dance
people. As showtime approached, the excitement grew and grew. Given the
personality of our group I knew I was in for a fun evening. Little did I
Beatlemania Live's performance ranged chronologically from the Early Years
through Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road songs. The guys changed their costumes
along with the changing times. They sang the first part of the show in the
crisp suits and and famous original Beatle haircuts, and moved on to the
beautiful Sgt. Pepper uniforms and the songs to match.
The group was very
entertaining, not only as Beatle imitators, but also as skilled musicians.
Their note-for-note versions of Beatles songs only added to the realism of
Steve and I, both huge Beatles fans,
began singing and harmonizing with each other right at the start and
continued nonstop through the show. Many others in the group and the
audience did the same. Our group was sitting in the first few rows of the
right side of the auditorium. This put us right in front of "John Lennon"
and right in front of the steps to the stage.
As we enjoyed the show, Phyllis, who seemed to take mischievous notice of
"John", turned to Steverino (aka the Great Gabino) and asked "Should I run
up on stage?"
Steve replied that he would give her a dollar if she would go up and kiss
him on the cheek. Phyllis took the bet and inched her way further and
further right towards the steps leading up to the stage, moving from chair
to chair to chair, and looking back at us with the funniest terrified look
on her face. We were all watching her, most of us knowing what was going
to happen, egging her on. Each time a song ended, we all looked to Phyllis
with rising anticipation.
And then it happened. She rushed up the steps, walked onto the stage, put
her arms around "John Lennon", and planted a big wet one on his cheek.
We are were very worried that the Beatles would not appreciate Phyllis'
mad rush to the stage. However our worries turned out to unfounded.
"John", for his part, played it up for all it was worth and welcomed the
attention. He put his arm around Phyllis and kept on singing. Soon he
proceeded to invite more of us to join him so up went Gina, Maureen,
Leslie, Eva, me and several others. We all loved them even more for
giving us the chance to relive some precious teenage fantasies.
Once "John" said, "Everybody get up",
we didn't need any more encouragement. The rest of us did just
that. We sprinted up there for our chance to join them on stage.
Goodness they were such
The band then ripped into
a rousing and spirited version of "Twist and Shout". I remember that in addition to Phyllis
and me there was Gina, Eva, Leslie and
Stephanie and probably a couple ladies who weren't in
I had the privilege of standing on one side of "John" and at one point he
put his arm around me and put the mike in front of both of us. It was a
dream come true... singing and dancing on the stage with "The Beatles", if
only for an imaginary moment in time.
As the performance continued, Phyllis wrapped her leg around "John". He
continued to play up the energy and grinningly explained "This is why I
picked up a guitar in the first place", a paraphrased quote which Lennon
himself used in interviews. The performance was an obvious crowd pleaser
and it was great fun being a part of it all.
At the end of the song, Phyllis gave him another big kiss and we all
returned to our seats. The band took an intermission before returning in
"Sgt. Pepper" outfits to continue the concert.
The show ended with an enthusiastic standing ovation which led the the
band to wave off the the cruise director not once but twice to play more
They remarked that this was one of the best crowds they ever played for.
This may have been part of their normal concert banter, but I suspect that
they really meant it. After all, they had never played to a crowd of SSQQ
Steve paid Phyllis and said it was the best dollar he ever spent.
Steffani on stage with John
Phyllis has more
than anyone could ever imagine
Eva, Phyllis, Gina, Maureen
A Night With
Beatlemania (Story Two)
Written by Abbie
A group of us went to the
Beatlemania Live show aboard the ship. Phyllis and I sat in the front
row because there were no other seats in the row with the group. The
show was fabulous from the start. The audience was totally into it - I
personally didn't realize I knew the lyrics to as many songs as I did!
Phyllis got this idea to rush the stage - she turned to Steve Gabino, who
was sitting behind us, and told him that she thought "we" should do
this. He said he would give her a dollar if she would do it. That is all
it took. She gave me her camera and told me to hang on to it in case
security came and threw her out.
Slowly but surely throughout the next song, Phyllis moved down a couple of
seats at a time to the seat in front of the stairs leading to the stage.
I have a great picture of her just before she jumped on stage with this
"Oh God I can't believe I am about to do this" look on her face.
The next thing we all knew there was Phyllis running toward "John" and
screaming his name like a crazy banshee woman as she approached him. We
were all in hysterics. He looked at her and half-smiled, half-cringed.
At the end of the song, he asked her name and we all cheered. He told
her to stand a little ways from him to dance because they were about to
play "Twist and Shout".
Phyllis was pretty much glued to this guy and didn't go anywhere. The next
thing we knew, about 6 other SSQQ divas jumped the stage and were all
dancing. I was laughing so hard I couldn't do it.
At one point, Phyllis was behind John and you see her leg come up and
wrap around his. He started giggling in the middle of the song. I
am sure the band enjoys audience participation, but I doubt they were
used to this!
When the song was finished, our girls came off the stage. Phyllis promptly
went to Steve and asked for her dollar. Not sure if he has paid up yet!!
The rest of the trip, there wasn't a day that went by that Phyllis wasn't
recognized by someone who was at that show. They called her by name. She
of course was totally eating this up.
Phyllis may have some juicy pictures from our hot tub adventures, but
nothing beats the ones we have of her re-living her youth by jumping on
stage during a rock concert.
Brava, Phyllis! You go, Girl!
Abbie and Phyllis
Phyllis Porter Story: It's All About Me!
Rick Archer's Note,
Six years have
passed since Phyllis made her crazy charge to the stage.
Since then, this amazing woman has time and again
demonstrated an amazing ability to create mischief and fun
for everyone. Hot Tub Stuffing, Wild Bus Tours,
Margarita meltdowns in Cozumel... you name it... if there's
trouble afoot on a cruise trip, you can assume Phyllis is
behind it all.
misbehave at all on her first trip, Jubilee 2003. But
she definitely made up for lost time on this trip.
At the start of our 2004 cruise, I thought
Phyllis' most active role would be as a Paparazzi tormenting her favorite
victim George (Mr. Handsome) Sargent. Phyllis took some amazing photographs,
always at Mr. Handsome's expense. Phyllis was
determined not to let Mr. Handsome get away with any naughty
behavior. Not only did she bring an camera capable of
taking underwater pictures just in case that was where the
hanky-panky was taking place, she made the special move of
downloading her pictures in a secret location just so Mr.
Handsome couldn't steal her camera and delete the
However the Beatlemania adventure
marked the emergence of Phyllis as a
major star of the trip in her own right.
The sneak attack was so beautifully carried off by Phyllis and so
skillfully handled by "John Lennon" that she became a major celebrity. The move could have backfired, but it was so cute that it
had everyone laughing and clapping... even the performers themselves...
although for a moment there I am sure Phyllis had John
scared out of his wits. For her efforts that night,
Phyllis earned a new nickname: Center of Attention.
Now that was one nickname that was well-deserved. As
proudly pointed out whenever she saw me, for the rest of the trip, all
kinds of people from the ship constantly recognized her
from her tour on the stage with "John". They loved to stop and talk to her
about it. This was how Phyllis genuinely became a Cruise
Phyllis definitely has a style of her own. She loves to wear tee-shirts
with interesting social commentary printed on them. Isn't
it interesting that Phyllis was wearing her favorite "Center of
Attention" tee-shirt for her big adventure?
And now you know how she acquired her nickname "Center of Attention".
It was the perfect nickname as she was always in the MIDDLE of things
wherever we went, whatever we did.
The big question was what message would Phyllis be wearing on her dress at Formal Night? Alas, there was no
message although several people - including Mr. Handsome - suggested
several slogans she could wear. Mr. Handsome even
wrote up a sign that said "Pain in the Ass" and asked if he
could pin the tale on the donkey's tail.
Center of Attention nearly threw the man overboard. We were all
so disappointed when she didn't. Now that would have been such an
excellent conclusion to the trip!
If you would like to read another
story about Phyllis the Troublemaker,
Dancing Aboard the