Having waited tables in Santa Fe—as everyone here does at some point—I get how singing while one works must be pretty sweet. If I could’ve taken a breather to sing some number from Guys & Dolls while I did my best not to murder the lady who had clearly never worked in food service and didn’t know the meaning of the word “rude,” I might have lasted longer in the industry.
At any rate, I recently dragged my weirdo father—whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years—to La Casa Sena, where I’ve been meaning to catch the singing waiters for some time.
Ben Callan and Stephanie Duran take their places and begin to belt out a number from Call Me Madam. Perhaps it’s my crippling fear that entertainers will try to include me in some capacity or perhaps I’ve just never seen anything quite like this, but hearing the people who are serving you food break out into song takes a minute to get accustomed to. I mean, these are waiters that look happy, and I’ve never known anyone like that. Callan and Duran’s voices work well together, and the song ends on a crisp note. The audience clearly enjoys the tune, and a spirited round of applause ensues.
Pianist Debbie Wagner begins an interlude from Pippin as the waiters get back to serving. Orders are taken, plates are delivered and wine is poured. I think to myself that it’s taking a while to get this show rolling, but it dawns on me that customers probably still want decent service in addition to the entertainment. Bastards.
Callan takes the stage again and begins a song from Chicago, a musical I don’t much care for since the film came out and ruined it for us purists.
Fortunately, Callan is really selling it, and his love of singing is right in my face. Manager Juli King, bartender Pat Briggs and Duran chime in with backup harmonies as they continue working. This is awesome. I’m enjoying myself—weird. My weirdo father is all but laughing because he’s having so much fun. Normally I’d be embarrassed by his crap, but I haven’t seen him in forever, so I let it slide.
Briggs comes out from behind the bar and performs a less-than-spirited tune from Mame. I don’t care for this song, and it appears he doesn’t either. It reminds me of those poor bastards at Cold Stone Creamery who have to sing every time somebody drops so much as a dollar in their tip jar.
Next we’re on to a jam from Wicked performed by King with Duran as co-star. Duran isn’t singing, but her portrayal of the Wicked Witch being ragged upon by a bitchy and elitist Glinda is quite funny. King’s singing is a trifle flat, but her voice is gorgeous. All these waiters have fantastic voices and presumably are good waiters. I’m not eating, so I don’t know.
Callan begins singing “Desperado” by The Eagles. I hate The Eagles so hard that I know it’s time to get the hell out of there. The dulcet tones follow my father and me down the hall and can still be heard as we exit the courtyard.
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