Three years ago I was offered a job to review Broadway Across America touring shows which was like a dream come true. First of all I love Broadway and have been going to the theatre since seeing the original Broadway cast of "Oklahoma" with Alfred Drake and Celeste Holm. Living in New York during the 50s and 60s I saw all the legends--the actors, the shows--from Mary Martin to Ethel Merman to Julie Harris, Bea Lillie, Gertrude Lawrence, Robert Preston, Yul Brynner, John Riatt, Shirley Maclane, Angela Lansbury, Joel Gray, Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh and on and on. I saw Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire", Shirley Booth in "Come Back Little Sheba" and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Judy Holiday in "Born Yesterday", "Hot Spot", "Dream Girl" and "Bells Are Ringing". I was stunned by "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and couldn't stop crying hearing/seeing Richard Kiley in "Man of La Mancha", I screamed myselfhorseyelling "Brava" for Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl", Carol Burnett in "Fade In-Fade Out" and "Bravo" on opening night of "West Side Story" and it was there I started my love affair with "A Chorus Line" and Donna McKechnie. You name the legends--show or actor and I have seen them , remembered and cherished them including shows you probably never heard of like "Along 5th Avenue" with Nancy Walker and Sid Caesar or "Little Me" with the latter. I heard the great composers, lyricists of the eras and saw set designs and costumes that would knock you over.
Most of that came to an end in the 1990s as I was broke and shows were far too expensive for me to get tickets including for local theatres and then it happened! I was reading a Broadway web page and there was a poster asking for someone in the Florida area to review any Broadway shows coming through. In my high school senior graduation book I had put "to be a Broadway critic" and here, almost 60 years later, I got the job!!!
In the past 3 years I have seen over 40 shows from an aisle seat in the orchestra of the Arsht Center in Miami and the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale including "Mamma Mia", "Warhorse", "Wicked", "West Side Story", "Shrek", "The Adams Family", "Phantom of the Opera", "Jersey Boys", "Les Miserables", "Mary Poppins", "The Lion King" along with seeing Kathleen Turner in "High".
Next month the new season starts with "Chicago" which just became the longest running American show on Broadway with 7,000 performances and then the following month the biggest show with the hardest tickets to get, "The Book of Mormon" followed by "Once" and various shows continuing through May when the last show of the 2013-2014 season will end with the "Blue Man" show. I anticipate each show counting the days until the next one.
You will be able to read the reviews at showbizbroadway.com a 5-7 days before I post them here--that's part of our agreement. Corine, Charlie and Charlotte have made this 'old' man a very happy guy. There is nothing that compares to an evening getting ready to watch a Broadway show with the lights going down, the overture starting and the curtain going up and then THE SHOW! WOW! Whether the show is good or not I am always mesmerised by what I see on stage from the actors, singers, dancers, sets and how it all works.
You don't see too many children at the theatre in the evenings but whenever I do I remember that boy in 1945 and I wonder if they will be as entranced with what they see as I was and am?