Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Broadway Baby

While I was home recuperating yesterday I got a call from my old buddy, Mark.

Mark is this disembodied voice on the phone who works in the subscription sales department at Roundabout Theater. Last year he sold me a 3-show package to see Alec Baldwin in Joe Orton's "Entertaining Mr. Sloane", a boffo production of Brecht/Weill's "The Threepenny Opera" with Alan Cumming, Jim Dale, Ana Gasteyer, Nellie McKay and Cyndi Lauper, fer Chrissakes, and a rip-snorting production of that old chestnut "The Pajama Game" with Kelli O'Hara, Mike McKean and Harry Connick, Jr., the three of whom tore up the theater and brought down the house at every performance.

So, instead of hanging up on him, I waited to see what Mark was offering me this year. Besides, he sounds cute. Oh, I know I'm old enough to be his disembodied father, and let's face it, if he's flogging theater subscriptions by phone at night, he must be an unemployed actor by day. (Close. He's an unemployed writer. He can't help it though, he grew up in California. His mom just sold his childhood home and moved to Chicago to be closer to his sister and her family... but I digress). The poor baby sounded sick. I asked him if he had a cold. He does. My heart went out to him. I wanted to hold and comfort him and spoon-feed him chicken soup. I let him continue his spiel. I told him I might be interested, even though the season is slightly less than rousing, but I have this "problem" with most theater seats... well, that didn't seem to be a problem for him. He assured me that my "special needs" could and would be met... if only.

Naturally I said yes.

It's not because I have a crying need to see "The Apple Tree" with Kristin Chenowith. I saw her two Christmases ago in "Wicked." She's fabulous. And I know what Alfred Molina looks like, I don't need to see him in something called "Howard Katz". And I'm certainly not wild about sitting through a production of "110 in the Shade" with Audra McDonald, although she's got more "Best Actress in a Musical" Tonys than God.

I'm going because, God help me, deep down inside, then, now and always, I am a Theater Queen. From the very first network Broadcast of the Tony's, in 1967, when I SAW (transfixed) Barbara Harris doing "Gorgeous" from The Apple Tree, and Joel Grey doing "Wilkommen" from Cabaret, I knew... I knew.

Watch the Oscars then watch the Tonys. Watch the dancers and you can SEE the difference between Broadway and Hollywood. Oh, they both have their places, including in my heart. But there's just something raw, electric, edgy, about the theater. Ask anyone who's ever set foot on a stage and they'll tell you. There's no "fixing it in post" on Broadway. It's YOUR ass hanging out there, come what may.

And that's why I go to the theater. I love to watch people's asses hanging out there. I love rooting for them to pull it off and I just love it when they do.

And if I'm not there, how would I know that they did it? So I just HAD to sign up.


Anonymous said...

Special needs? What kind of special needs? :-)

JoyZeeBoy said...

A Zookeeper.

Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in. You've certainly been off having YOUR fun, young man. Is there a B'way star you HAVEN'T run into on your travels?

John McMartin and Donna McKechnie were both great "gets." With the spirits of both Follies and A Chorus Line looking out for you, you can't fail.

As for my special needs, I meant LEG ROOM. Most B'way houses were built in the 6th Century... for Munchkins. Mark is putting me in seats for people with long legs, aisle seats, mostly.