I had the privilege of going to New York City last weekend to catch up on some of Broadway's finest musicals.
My reviews on the musicals will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I'd like to share a story on what happened during "South Pacific," the Tony Award-winning revival.
First, the show is exquisite. Top to bottom, a truly outstanding production.
The house lights dimmed slightly, and the orchestra began playing. The first three chords of "Bali Ha'i" (the beginning song in the overture), were played, followed by the three drum beats. By the time the second three notes were played, the audience had fallen silent. And we listened. I can't remember the last time I heard an audience recognize the fact that the overture is the true beginning of the show.
The audience sat in breathless delight of hearing a full orchestra (again, unheard of with today's tightening budgets) play one of the greatest contributions to American musical theater.
I closed my eyes for a moment to fully absorb the sound magnificent.
Right on cue, the crackling began. What? You don't remember any crackling in "South Pacific"? That's because it doesn't have any. I'm referring to the Werther's Originals candies being unwrapped behind me.
I turned around to see who the offender was, and there sat an elderly couple; slowly (perhaps, painfully) unwrapping their candies, completely unaware that every head in the vicinity was turned their direction.
I couldn't help myself. I'd waited too long to see this show it's sold-out for months and is the biggest ticket in town. I turned around and said, "Are you kidding me?! Stop that!" Luckily for me, since that's a lonely moment in a theatergoer's life, those around me joined in and said, "That really is distracting."
Yes, I feel awful that I snapped at someone's grandparents. Perhaps that wasn't the best way to handle the situation. But here's the deal: The overture IS part of the show. That is the moment you should quit talking, put your purses down, and your candies should already be unwrapped.
When did we all forget that? Show after show, I've sat listening to long drawn-out conversations during the overtures. It's as if someone brought an annoying radio for background music.
The overture is the beginning of the show. Overtures are a moment to let go of your life: squabbles, the dinner bill, your parking fiasco. Hearing snippets of "Bali Ha'i," "Some Enchanted Evening" and "There Is Nothing Like Dame" helps you transition from your world, to the production's world in this case a beautiful little island in the South Pacific.
Don't rob yourself of this moment and, certainly, don't ruin it for others.
Too Strange? The Tony nominated "Passing Strange" has announced its closing July 20. Described as, "watching a concept album, live," "Strange" struggled at the box office in spite of critical acclaim. But Spike Lee loved it and he's going to bring it to the silver screen.
Speaking of movies: "Rent" will be hitting 176 movie screens across the country this September to help commemorate the closing of the mega-musical. The filmed version of the stage play (not the dismal Chris Columbus feature) will also have special closing-night extras as the original cast helps say goodbye.Speaking of closing: The Las Vegas production of "Spamalot" has announced a closing date of ... today. I always thought Broadway in Las Vegas made so much sense since not everyone likes to gamble, right? I guess I was wrong ... perhaps I'm the only one who would go to Vegas and try to catch a show!
E-mail: [email protected]