One of the best things about growing up & living in the “greatest city in the world” (New York, NY…so great, they named it twice!) was Broadway!
Between “going into the city”, i.e, traveling into Manhattan, when I lived in NY (Brooklyn…Holbrook in Long Island, exit 61…Staten Island) or traveling back to NY from wherever I happened to live after ’93 (San Antonio, TX, Scottsbluff, NE, St. Petersburg, FL, or Columbus, OH), going to see a play or musical on Broadway was always an absolute treat & a true highlight of my trip.
(Note: When you lived on Long Island (that is, either Nassau or Suffolk County, west of Brooklyn/Queens), you would normally add the specific exit # on the LIE/Long Island Expressway, a.k.a. the world’s longest parking lot, in addition to your town, so people would have a good idea of where you were located.
Note 2: All Citibankers should be familiar with 1 Court Square, the 50-story Citi tower located in LIC/Long Island City. Interestingly enough, LIC is NOT located in Long Island, but rather in the borough of Queens in NYC, close to LaGuardia Airport. BTW, that was the site that Amazon had planned to use for their HQ2 building & fill it with 25K people…and a $6B payroll…a couple of years ago before the idiotic politicians, “progressive” activists & union leaders caused so much trouble.
As a result, Amazon took their ball & went home, building a site in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia.
For a city & state so damned desperate for increased tax revenues, NY made an incredibly-unwise & shortsighted decision.)
Broadway is an absolute incredible area, that is, the area in midtown Manhattan (“the Theater District”) that houses 40+ professional theaters. It borders Times Square (where they “drop the ball” at the stroke of midnight, ushering in the new year) & has tons of restaurants & various tourist attractions.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see some incredible shows & performances.
“Cats” several times, including once in the first row, dead center. I think Laurie left with a bunch of feline hair on her. And you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Betty Buckley sing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ” Memories” live!!!Absolutely unbelievable.
“Chicago”, award-winning musical.
Hugh Jackman (a relatively unknown at the time) in “The Boy from Oz” about Peter Allen’s life.
A special, limited-run, one-woman show…with the incredible Katherine Hepburn. Laurie & I battled a freezing rain to make it to the theatre, but it was so worth it! It was like watching Ms. God.
“American Idiot” when Trisha (my fiancé at the time), her kids & I flew into NY from Nebraska & met with my daughter, Heather (who came in from San Antonio) & a bunch of my nieces/nephews to enjoy this amazing musical (based on music from Green Day) as well as a scrumptious meal @ Carmine’s Restaurant.
“Billy Elliot” when I took my Mom, my sister Roe, my mother-in-law Lorraine, our eternally-best friend Donna (this was well after Laurie had passed) & her beautiful Mom, Marie! Yep, and we also ate at Carmine’s.
“Phantom of the Opera”, “Les Miserables”, “Movin’ Out” (based on Billy Joel’s music), “The Lion King”, “Rent”, “Chorus Line”, “Momma Mia”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “The Producers”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “La Cage aux Folles”, “Dreamgirls” & quite a few others.
But, perhaps, the most, uh, memorable & unique performance was “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” which actually took place in the Village (Greenwich Village) in lower Manhattan.
“…’Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding’ is an ‘environmental/immersive theatre’ event based on a traditional Italian-American wedding and reception, with warm and intrusive stereotypes exaggerated for comic effect. Audience members are treated as guests at the wedding by the interactive, improvisational comedy cast.”
We started off at the St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street. We sat amongst the bride’s family for the ceremony.
We then walked over to Vinnie Black’s catering hall, a few blocks away, for the reception.
That where’s the real fun began!
We sat, intermingled with the cast, at the typical large round banquet tables & were served a “meal” (salad & baked ziti).
But the excitement began, innocently enough, when I had to go to the men’s room.
It wasn’t a big bathroom…just a stall, a coupla urinals & a sink.
I did my business (good to the last drop!), then sashayed (😱) over to the sink to wash my hands.
There were these 2 guys in tuxes (from the cast), along with an audience member, talking behind me.
What the hey, I thought, so I joined the circle.
One of the cast members takes out this really-skinny “cigarette”, sparks it up & starts passing it around.
(I once read about this stuff in a book & smelt it in the schoolyard another time, so I was pretty hip!
I took a toke, but it was nothing like what I read about, nor did it have that distinctive aroma. Perhaps because it was extremely skinny, almost like a lollipop stick. Or maybe it was just a “prop”, part of the whole “real-life”, interactive, audience-participative play.
“Hmmmm…?”, I wondered to myself. “Should I?”🤔
“Yeah, what the hell!”
(Yes, the Devil on my left shoulder beat the shit outta the poor li’l Angel on my other one!)
I go into my wallet & take out a fattie. Might as well go for the gusto, no? I light it up, er, discreetly. The discretion disappears as soon as I start passing it around.
Our li’l group of 4 has now expanded to 6.
I take out another.
We’re up to 8 players now.
And one more blunt to make it official.
(Editor: I fully understand that I just washed my…*cough, cough*…lily-white reputation 🤪 down the proverbial drain. Half of youse guys out there are “Right on!!!” while other members of our audience are writing letters to my Mom & praying fervently for my salvation!)
Guys are laughing, having a great time! (This was some outstandng shit.) Everybody’s friends now. I get several acknowledging nods thrown my way.
All the while, other guys (I don’t know, maybe they were vegans or Communists) came in to pee, then left, usually casting a suspicious eye our way. I mean, the aroma was suffocati, uh, quite evident.
After about 20 minutes, I announce, “I gotta get back to my wife. She’s probably wondering where the hell I went!”
“Thanks, Mike!” “Appreciate the refreshments!” “That was great!”
They were smashed.
I left my bros behind & joined Laurie at the table. I figured a good offense would make the the best defense at that particular time so I opened with “You’re not gonna believe what just happened in the men’s room, babe!!!”
As always, she was a bit skeptical of my tale…I get “the look”.
I’m like, “Why the hell would I make something like that up?
“Here, smell my clothes!”
(I did have some reservations about writing this particular piece, but like everything else…
Ah,🖕🏼it! Right? Open kimono.)
We continued to finish our ziti, listened to the DJ, slow-danced, witnessed a few (staged) drunken fights & arguments amongst the families break out and just had a great all-around time!
Oh, BTW, in case you’re wondering, I haven’t in years, that is, neither partied nor gone to Broadway.
I only miss the latter.
And, as always, thank you so much for listening!