Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Not-So-Great White Way

As part of our recent invasion of NYC, KayJay and I were able to see The Smash Broadway Hit Musical, Wicked. And when I say "were able," I mean that we were part of the Fortunate Few allowed a spot in the pew at the Church of Stagecraft and Vocal Excellence.

Two-and-a-half hours before the show, our entourage of five was part of a crowd of well over 100 people waiting in a relatively ruly manner outside the theatre. We were waiting for the thrill of putting our names on index cards (notice...NOT flimsy pieces of scrap paper, but honest-to-goodness index cards!) and entering a lottery. The 13 winners of said lottery were to be given the honor of purchasing two of the worst seats in the house for only $26.25 each. Two hours before the show, cards were drawn and SWAWOSH's name was called, so I shoved cash into her hands as she rushed to the box office to buy two tickets on the front row.

For the uninitiated, let me explain why the front row is not the ideal place to view the best of Broadway: One, your knees are compressed against the orchestra pit wall. Two, when the special effects gurus use fake smoke to create That Special Atmosphere so desired for dream sequences, it spills off the stage and into your lungs. Three, some of those actors can really spit. (I felt like I was in the blue seats of a Shamu performance at Sea World.)

To be mostly honest, it was pretty interesting being close enough to see the microphones that were taped to the foreheads and off to one side enough to see the stagehand pick up a book that had been tossed into the wings and positioned just right so that when the mutant monkey-like beings made a surprise entrance through the stage floor Right In Front Of My Nose I think I peed a little.

But the whole experience taught me that there isn't really anything "magic" about Broadway (other than the way it can make money disappear from your bank account). Those people up on the stage had to work at memorizing their lines and learning their dance steps and keeping from injuring themselves when walking in those tight body suits. Each person on that stage had at one time been standing in line, hoping to be noticed...wanting to be given a chance to impress...just like ActorBoy and SWAWOSH are doing now.

There is hope. Keep trying. Never give up.

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