Yesterday, after seeing Crazy Love, I passed this movie poster:
WELL!? Just look at it... obviously, I had to see this movie and obviously I'd have to be quick 'cause God knows it wouldn't be playing very long.
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned my love of theater, and specifically musical theater, but it's a long standing love affair. There is a moment in the best of shows when there is a single soul on stage singing their guts out. I mean literally giving it their all and it brings me to my knees every time. I literally cried when I saw Gimme, Gimme performed. A woman stood on stage under a spotlight and made me weep with her voice. Unbelievable. Stupendous talent makes me cry and it's always a thrill.
Despite this strange reaction, I've wanted to see a show on Broadway for as long as I can remember. I finally got the opportunity in the summer of 2004. It was my first trip to New York and I was absolutely going to see a show... no doubt about it. My friend had done some online research and learned when exactly one should get in line at TKTS and get decent seats to a show. I don't remember the details but I do remember being about third in line that August morning. Our choices were limited to shows that had been running for a while. That's how TKTS generally works. We decided my first Broadway show should be a quintessential Broadway Musical. That narrowed it down to Little Shop of Horrors, 42nd Street or Fiddler on the Roof. Well, naturally Little Shop didn't qualify but the other two could definitely fit the bill. We decided we would go to which ever show had the best seats available. We sat about 10th row center for Fiddler. It was fantastic. I was literally misty throughout the show because I kept thinking 'OH MY GOD! I'm sitting in an old Broadway theater seeing a show. OH MY GOD!' And Fiddler truly is a great show. When I got home, and friends asked what I'd seen they seemed somewhat disappointed in my choice. I, on the other hand, never had a doubt. I'm sure 42nd Street would have been magical, but being in New York city and experiencing a beautiful classic tale of soon-to-be immigrants through music brought me a joy I'll never forget. To this day Fiddler holds a very special place in my heart and I'm glad I chose it as my first.
Show Business: The Road to Broadway is also special to me because it covers the shows that were on Broadway when I first visited. If you dislike musical theater you will hate this movie. But, if you love it, as I do, you will undoubtedly enjoy it. The movie follows four Broadway musical productions: Wicked, Avenue Q, Caroline or Change and Taboo from inception to some triumphant Tony award acceptance speeches. It features interviews with the Performers, Writers, Producers, Directors and theater Critics. It's funny to watch the critics nitpick when you know how the season all shakes out. I loved the backstage rehearsal footage and watching the composing process. I love to see things from a new perspective and this film definitely does that.
I've always known of the extraordinary money and effort that goes into creating a show, but sheesh! For instance, when Wicked premiered, it was the most expensive show to hit Broadway with a price tag of $14 million. Obviously, the risk was very high to the investors. For Wicked to simply break even they had to produce four months of sold out shows. Theater, unlike films, can't make money off multiple screenings a day in theaters across the country for a week. In theater, you park it at a the theater and can only earn money from 8 shows a week. The most surprising thing to me was how small Broadway theaters are. It's a wonder they make any money at all.
Tonight is one of my favorite Sunday nights of the year because tonight CBS airs The Tony Awards. I've loved the Tonys for so long because they feature a song from each nominated musical. (You can see a lot of them on Youtube if you're so inclined.) It's a great chance to taste a slice of Broadway. I just wish more people could go to theater nowadays. Live shows are such a thrill but they are pricey and happen to tour through big cities and not everyone can afford to get to shows.
You know how we all have that "I won the lottery" fantasy? Mine would be to spend the rest of my life making multiple trips to New York to see every show I could manage. *sigh* Oh, to dream...