I forget about theatre sometimes04/16/2006 01:50 PM
I spent Saturday afternoon and evening
in New York. Whenever I forget how much I love theatre, something
always reminds me.
As a reward for getting through part
of diagnosis for a sleep disorder, I took myself to New York yesterday.
While everybody else was doing... I don't know, whatever it is that
people do on Saturdays in the spring, I was driving up 95 to have dinner
in Manhattan -- alone, despite a last-minute post looking for a companion
-- and see Grey Gardens, a musical based on the 1970s documentary
about some lesser-known relatives of Jackie Kennedy, then fallen on harder
times. The show, despite being extended twice, is closing on April
30, and I figured that if I was going to see it, I'd better see it now,
even if I had to do so alone.
I still can't get used to the fact that
those two damn ugly buildings aren't sitting there on the end of Manhattan.
It's been almost five years, and still, when I'm coming up the New
Jersey Turnpike near the Goethals Bridge, I look over, and there's nothing
there. Nothing to indicate when the Island of Manhattan ends.
I still can't get used to it. I look 50 blocks uptown and calibrate
my "where is stuff in New York" on the Empire State Building,
but it's not the same. For the heck of it, I crossed over in the
Holland Tunnel rather than the Lincoln, and came out on Hudson Street.
There was nothing to look up at, but if you look very carefully in
Lower Manhattan, you can still find little places full of leftover crap
from the destruction of the towers four and a half years ago. I wonder
who cleaned off all the rooftops and ledges?
Anyway, I went to dinner at Angelo &
Maxie's, a place I've liked for several years now. Had a very nice
martini, checked email on the new MacBook Pro, and noticed that while two
years ago, everybody's WAPs were open, most of them now are at least WPA-protected.
Selfish dorks. Dinner was good, and then I trekked uptown and
parked on 41st Street near the Nederlander Theatre (where Rent has
been for years) and walked over to Playwrights' Horizons on 42nd near the
Post Office and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It's a pleasant,
comfortable place, not nearly as old as some of the on-Broadway theatres
but not as sterile as some of the really new places. Every seat was
good... the house holds maybe 800 people.
The show was tremendous. I can't
describe it... it tore open my guts in a lot of ways I can't easily explain,
except that the theatre is somewhere where it's very easy for me to cry,
and this show gave me lots of encouragement. It's not really an "up"
show, it has a lot of melancholy and disappointment, but also lots of hilarious
inside jokes and references to all sorts of cultural icons. I almost
wanted to reach out and touch the show with my hands, pull it up through
all my senses. It was terrifically cathartic, but that's all I'll
say about that.
Afterwards, there was nothing left to
do but pick up the Volkswagen, chuckle at the Rent groupies hanging
out in front of the theatre hoping for autographs and face time with the
players, and head to New Jersey through the Lincoln Tunnel (narrowly missing
some jackass who seemed rather unconcerned about his Mercedes' fenders).
I think it's time for me to play music
again, and get involved in theatre again.