A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 32: Chorus Confessional

July 28th · 4 Comments

I have a confession to make to all my beer-guzzling, baseball-cap-wearing guy friends: I love musicals.

Pathetic, I know. It is perhaps even more pathetic to admit how much I enjoyed tonight’s performance of “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, which is the capital of musicals in the same way that Wisconsin is the capital of cheese. I did wear slacks, though, and all sequins were small and tasteful.

I brought my ladyfriend, Joo, to see A Chorus Line because the soundtrack is part of my family’s musical canon. My sister Susan was a freak for musicals, and every time we’d see one she would rush out and get the soundtrack and for the next month she would play nothing else. As a result, while others of my generation were listening to Pink Floyd and blowing pot smoke in the face of the family dog, I was marching on stage in my high school’s production of “Hello, Dolly!”, wearing a cape and beret and waving a tiny American flag.

But I digress.

The most remarkable thing for the musical aficionado about entering the Theater District is realizing you have a lot of company. The number of people grazing down 45th Street was alone greater than the population of Corpus Cristi, Texas. In just a few square blocks one could take in The Lion King, Legally Blonde, Avenue Q, Spamalot, Rent, Hairspray and Young Frankenstein, but none of these have a place in my heart like A Chorus Line. It is the story of 24 dancers competing for the eight slots on a coveted Broadway show, and along the way they tell some heart-wrenching and funny tales.

I had seen it many years ago, but this time, seated way up on the mezzanine, I fell for it all over again. A tingle went up my spine from the brassy, blatant joy of numbers like “Dance: Ten, Looks: Three” and the big finale of “One,” where Mario Lopez led the ensemble in gilded tails.

Afterward we stood and were prodded from the Gerald Schoenfeld theater by a jaded succession of ushers, waving us toward the exits as wearily as a 55-year-old airline attendant pretending to inflate a life jacket. They shoveled us out like cattle so the next crowd could stampede in.

Hmmm. Perhaps Manhattan is closer to Wisconsin than I thought.

Tags: Entertainment · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anne // Jul 29, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Musical theater? You are full of surprises.
    You MUST see In The Heights! Even jaded locals cheered. Did you patronize the half price ticket booth?
    I am coming to town to see Frank Langella in September. He is not expected to burst into song
    at The Roundabout. But, Stockard Channing is doing My Pal Joey in February if you want to be my date. Btw I loved Hello Dolly and saw Carol Channing do it on bway. Yikes I sound old.

  • 2 Susan // Jul 30, 2008 at 1:00 am

    What do you mean “WAS a freak for musicals”? I am not dead, nor have I lost my love of the genre. I do attend fewer shows these days, but that is mostly a function of a tight budget and a husband who just doesn’t feel the magic like we true musical fans. I plan on doing my best to indoctrinate our baby to a love of musical soundtracks as well, beginning now while still in the womb. You can’t start too early!

  • 3 Kimberly Winston // Aug 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Oh, David, I love this blog! You bring back such (usually) happy memories for me. I saw the original production when I was – what? – 12? 11? It was a transforming experience for me then. I love A Chorus Line!!!! I love the Shubert Theater! Did you go to Sardi’s across the street? It must be awful now, but oh, when I was a kid, the cheesecake!

  • 4 Gerry // Apr 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Very true! Makes a canheg to see someone spell it out like that. 🙂

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