Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Expectation Theatre

This past Sunday, eight Broadway shows closed while one continues to EDGE towards an attempt to become a BONO-fide hit. (In all fairness, winter is the hardest time in NYC to get patrons into the theatre, so some of those were already scheduled to close.)  Stopping to think a moment about the numerous shows I've seen on Broadway since my first show in 1984, I began to think about those I attended without any preconceived notions - and was pleasantly surprised.  

In 1985, I attended a performance of the play As Is - an early play about the AIDS epidemic which made a 15 year old slightly nervous, but found the play enlightening in so many ways. (Plus I walked into a theatre memorabilia store and the salesperson tried to trade my free button from the play for any in their store. I refused.)  By 1988 I was living in New York and saw Romance/Romance, completely loving how two acts in different time periods were woven together. The following year, I volunteered as an usher just to catch some odd show called Starmites and witnessed the diva Sharon McKnight in all her glory.  In 1992, I found myself in the midst of the most exciting audience I had ever witnessed while watching the life of Jelly Roll Morton unfold in front of me in Jelly's Last Jam. I didn't know what to expect going in - but Wow! What electricity I saw and felt that evening.  

The following year, I celebrated my birthday inside The Music Box Theatre where by the second song I knew I was in for a treat with Blood Brothers. I made it back to that show five times including the late Stephanie Lawrence's final performance in NYC. What an incredible performer she was and gone from the world too soon. In 1995 I attended Love! Valour! Compassion! only knowing it was a story about eight gay men - but having no idea how it would affect me by night's end. I didn't see Nathan Lane in the role, but surprisingly found myself enjoying the replacement who had annoyed me so much with his screaming on his children's show 'Steampipe Alley'. (Sorry, Mr. Cantone  - But you did end up making me see what an actor you are in that show.) I didn't know what The Life was at all when I ended up at The Barrymore, except that a friend of mine was in it. By the time Lillias White has completed 'Oldest Profession' - I knew I could sit in my chair as long as they wanted to entertain men. In 2002, I saw what would become one of my favorite plays of all times about a man I never thought I cared much for. Say Goodnight, Gracie was the most romantic, beautiful love story I believe I've seen...and the one man show knocked me out. When I went to the theatre to catch Wolverine playing the real Peter Allen, I didn't know that I was in store for one of the best performances to hit Broadway in years. The Boy From Oz was one of those musicals I was so glad I could say I got to see. I was late to the game in catching Next to Normal on Broadway - but luckily - I still went to it not knowing anything about it. One of the best musicals I've seen in years...I could not get enough, downloading the entire cast album from iTunes. And I went back to see the replacement cast too. 

Sometimes, it's great to enter 'live theatre' without any expectations at all about what is going to transpire in the evening. It's what makes the entire experience so much more fulfilling. And now I can't wait to see what the next years bring my way...I'm sure there's a hidden gem out there that I'll attend without too much fanfare and I'll fall head over heels for that one too.     


  1. I didnt know anyone else in the world who had seen, and liked, STARMITES!! Loved it!! LOL

  2. Just call me a theater freak/geek, Kathi.