Stan Rosen dresses up in a gorilla suit and brings a bunch of happy birthday balloons for Marlene Dragisics.

Stan Rosen dresses up in a gorilla suit and brings a bunch of happy birthday balloons for Marlene Dragisics.  Mary F. Calvert (THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The fur flies


By William Glanz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
September 16, 2005

    "I enjoy it because I like being an entertainer. I do community theater, and every one of these [singing telegrams] is a chance for me to hone my skills a little more and actually get paid working as an entertainer," he said.
    He has delivered singing telegrams dressed as a clown, a chicken and as Superman. But the gorilla suit is his favorite.
    "I push the gorilla costume. It's a classic," he said.
    He charges about $150 -- depending on mileage -- to sing at birthdays, office parties and bar and Bat-Mitzvahs.
    Mr. Lenet knocks on the side door of the van and says it's time to go. Mr. Rosen pulls the gorilla mask over his head, grabs a handful of balloons and steps carefully out of his van. He has a bit of trouble locking the door of the van with his gorilla gloves, then closes the door.
    Going through the parking lot, Mr. Rosen bobs up and down to imitate a gorilla's walk and attracts a few stares.
    Mr. Rosen has no peripheral vision because he is wearing a mask, so Mr. Lenet guides him into the real estate office, through a series of hallways to the door of a conference room. The door opens and Mr. Rosen storms into a room with nearly 50 real estate agents attending a weekly staff meeting and finds his target.
    "Marlene?"
    Marlene Dragisics, branch administrator of the real estate office, happens to be standing in the front of the room talking to agents. When she sees a gorilla invade the staff meeting and call her name, she has a momentary look of dread on her face.
    Once the shock fades, she begins to smile and Mr. Rosen breaks into song.
    "When I first turned around, I really didn't think it was for me," she said later.
    Mr. Rosen sings three songs and his performance is a success. The real estate agents have pulled off their surprise and Ms. Dragisics is amused.
    "She had no clue," Mr. Lenet said.
    Not everyone is as willing a subject as Ms. Dragisics. Mr. Rosen went into a bar once while still in Chicago to deliver a singing telegram to a bartender.
    "He gave me five bucks to shut up," Mr. Rosen said.
    And when he dressed up in his gorilla suit recently to sing at an 8-year-old boy's birthday party, Mr. Rosen frightened the boy to tears.
    "You never know how it's going to go over. Once in a while it all goes wrong," he said.

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