Long time readers will know that I am a pretty big Broadway buff and I’ve often tried to figure out how that happened. I, of course, blame my wife who is also a big fan, but I carry a little responsibility. In junior high I flirted with drama. I was The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and had a bit part in a comedy/musical revue, but my nails on chalkboard voice and complete lack of rhythm kept me out of the musicals. I remember the associated high school putting on Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story. Coincidentally, these were about the only two soundtracks available at the local library. I listened to them until my ears bled.
In college a friend of mine asked if I wanted to volunteer to usher at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. All it involved, she explained, was wearing black pants and white shirt, handing people programs and pointing them in the general direction of their seats. For our efforts we were allowed to sit in the aisle and watch the show. Since my girlfriend and future wife was in town that weekend, I got her in as well. We saw a wonderful tour of Evita. A few years later my wife won tickets off the radio to see Cats. We had crummy seats in the back of the orchestra and the sound was terrible, but the bug had bitten.
We had moved to Tampa at the time the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center opened and decided to buy season tickets for the Broadway Subscription Series. Since it was the inaugural season we got great seats in the third row and saw three years of bus and truck productions. A typical Broadway tour series includes one must-see show, two mediocre shows with has been stars, and two gawd-awful clunkers. To keep the good seats, we had to take the good with bad.
Then we had a kid and both us and our priorities moved a few times. It took us four years to discover that Baltimore is only four hours away from Times Square with the real thing. Our first Broadway show was a mediocre adaptation of Saturday Night Fever. Once we realized how easy it was to make a long weekend in New York, we kept going. Two or three times a year we sneak up to New York and see a couple of shows. We even planned a summer vacation to Canada around seeing Mamma Mia! in Toronto before it opened in New York.
These things add up. After twenty years of tours and the Great White Way, we have seen over fifty different productions. With my addled memory, some Googling, and a look through our saved Playbills, I have roughly listed all the various musicals we have seen. This list ignores plays, which would tax my memory even further.
Saturday Night Fever
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Phantom Of The Opera
The Boy From Oz
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Woman In White
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
|Major Tours, Toronto|
The King and I
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Song And Dance
Me And My Girl
A Chorus Line
Into The Woods
Phantom Of The Opera
The Secret Garden
Beauty and The Beast
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
Whistle Down The Wind
The Lion King
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
A Chorus Line
Blue Man Group
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical
They’re Playing Our Song
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Menopause: The Musical
There is both a lot of wheat and chaff in that list. I wouldn’t wish Edwin Drood on my worst enemy. You will also notice some repeats. We have seen A Chorus Line and The Producers three times. The best version of Chorus Line was by the Atlanta School For The Performing Arts. Good theater comes in all sizes.
This year my son’s marching band is doing a show based on West Side Story and every chance I get I embarrass him by warbling “Maria” off-key.
I am also proof that exposure to show tunes does not affect your sexuality. Despite seeing thousands of actors randomly break out into song, I am still relentlessly heterosexual. Although my wife worries just a little.
See you at the stage door.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: Ask me my opinion on any of these shows and I will answer in the comments.