It has been well over 15 years since I've been to New York City. I actually have tonnes of relatives all over 3 of the 5 boroughs. I even have an ol' college buddy who lives on 'Da Island." Not to mention... it's been over 25 years since I've seen a show on Broadway. Hmmn. Some theatre geek I am?
But.. it's been 15 years. Interestingly my sense of direction kicked in after the jet lag wore off. I remembered how the subways work. I remembered how the city worked.
We went to see if we could get lottery tickets to see Rent. It was decided awhile back that Rent should not be a musical that poorer folks were deprived from seeing. So, the decision was made to take the center section, first two rows and make $20 first come first served seats out of them. People began camping out overnight at the theatre to get the tickets.
Local ordinances and safety eventually prevailed. There's no longer camping out for the seats. But they now hold a lottery. 2 1/2 hours before a show they have a real-live new yorker (To the point of babbling to people in mixed English/Italian) sitting at a table with blank index cards. You put down your name and then tell them one or two tickets. 2 rows, 17 seats each. 34 tickets
So we both wrote down our names and that we wanted 2 tix. We wandered off to a nearby comic store which had an UNBELIEVABLE amount of grey market video. We only had 30 minutes because at 2 hours before the show they call names. So, they lined us up in front of the theatre. It was very Chorus line, Rent (stage) 2nd act opening.
They called a name and a girl squeaked happily and lined up. Then another name and another person. The third person was of... undetermined gender, but friendly. 4 more names... 7 more names. The person said (my friends already in line... I don't need 'em), 9... There were only about 40 people standing around and I was doing poker odds. They hit 15 and it wasn't looking good.
The third person on line looked at us. Do you want our extra pair? It turns out, that while most people forfeit their extras once they have a pair of seats, this person decided to be a true good samaritan. When the two of them both win, they claim all 4 seats and then look for the two people who look like they really wanted to get in and pass them (for cost $20 each). Which in New York absolutely blew my mind.
While really only having discovered this musical for myself quite recently (less than 6 months after the continual prodding of my loving jnanacandra it has become a very important piece of my life. I've showed it to a few local friends who've kinda scared me by not all getting it.
There is nothing like a live show. Ever. I love film, I love TV... And they are but casual romances... compared for my love of the stage. It's there, it's real, it's in the moment. Oh... it can suck up a storm.. but it sucks big, when it does. And this show by far.... did NOT suck. Personally, (And I may die at many peoples hands for this)... I think the understudy covering for the current Broadway Maureen was better than Menzel.
The show was hot. And the actor who plays Mark was amazing. I was nervous at first because he had this dachau denizen buzz cut. But his energy was amazing and his line readings were different enough to make his own Mark beyond Rapp's performace while still staying true to the character. "La Vie Boheme" was incredible. Roger was harder for me to deal with. He had the intensity that I so felt was lost from the film in "One Song (Glory)".. but the guy struck me like a New York thug, more than a post withdrawal rocker. He had two emotional states... Fun and Angry.
My contact with the show has been the original broadway soundtrack, the film, and the dvd extras. And it still paled. Knowing the songs inside and out was interesting. Actors choosing different inflections. The understudy besides Maureen was Mimi. I felt badly for the actress because it felt like her Mic was misbalanced down in volume. She also felt like she really didn't climb into the role until about 1/3 of the way into "Out tonight"
I expected, "Contact" (Red Heat) to be difficult for me. I'm still in my own way dealing with the passing of elqahar. The movie now causes me to tear every-time since that occurred in my life. What I didn't expect was that the pain the character goes thru occurs in "Without You." Further when the eulogies begin, Angel rises from the back with a huge white blanket, walks slowly off stage and then looks back and smiles. the smile was horribly difficult for me, because I now see that smile whenever I do mass.
Above all, the cast was having fun. The cast was loving every moment of what they were doing. Even the ensemble which lit up all the cut pieces. I love the staging in its High-School-Marching-Band-Scatter-Drill frenzy. Simple stage, simple sets. Beautiful show.
The film does a good job with the show. It think it's fairly faithful. I wish the film had not cut Angel and Collins from "You'll see (boys)" and I really wish the film hadn't cut, "Halloween and Goodbye Love"
Likewise.. I think that Contact doesn't work. I'm glad it was cut for the film. I think that the expansion of the Tango Maureen is amazing. I'm not sure but were the "Where did you learn to Tango" lines always in the stage show? I also felt that the pacing on "What you Own" on stage really dragged. This sucks because it's probably one of my favourite songs and one of the reasons I most unbelievably identify with the character of Mark.
the show did kindle one thing in me... which I will need to sleep on. My personal direction this past year has been quite an enigma. I really think I need to evaluate what it is I'm doing, what I'm looking for, and what will make my life complete. (I'm too damned young for a mid life crisis.) But I feel happy and of good spirits.
I mean ... there's only one sentence I can end with:
No day but today :-D