When I was a yoot (thank you, Joe Pesci), traveling to New York City was THE big thing for me. I did it annually, thanks to the Sacred Heart Band, which marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade every year for about 20 years. And I would continue to visit at least once a year throughout my time in high school. Back then, it was possible to see a Broadway show for a price that insanity had not yet overcome. (I don't know if that sentence makes sense, but I'm going with it, regardless.) I believe I saw CABARET for six bucks, mainly because I purchased a last-minute, half price ticket. So the ticket was twelve bucks. Or maybe it was 24 and I paid 12. Whateveh! It was cheap. I remember that Anita Gillette played Sally Bowles and she was terrific. I saw both Ginger Rogers and Pearl Bailey play "Dolly," in different productions, of course. Pearl's "Vandergelder" was Cab Calloway. One doesn't think about the iconic position these people would take when one is 15. I saw Robert Goulet, much maligned as a lounge lizard in his later career, in his wonderful, Tony-winning performance in THE HAPPY TIME, a lesser-regarded but beautifully written musical by Kander and Ebb. I saw Ruby Keeler in NO, NO NANETTE, along with Jack Gilford and Helen Gallagher. Irene Ryan doing her show-stopping number in PIPPIN. Ben Vereen, too, of course. (I think so, anyway. Not sure if he was still in the show when I saw it, but since Ryan was, I assume he was as well.) Jerry Orbach in PROMISES, PROMISES. Jack Albertson and Sam Levene as the original SUNSHINE BOYS. Later, when I was a grad student, I saw Robert Duvall in AMERICAN BUFFALO. Suffice it to say, I've seen some good theatre in New York.
I'm going back tomorrow, for the first time in maybe six or seven years, to meet with the actress Judith Ivey, to talk about her interest in my play, THE PORCH. I will meet with her carrying no expectations, because expectations in my business, at least with me, often lead to black holes. But the fact that she's interested, and seeing me, in the midst of the run of her one-woman show about Ann Landers, makes the trip well worthwhile.
And I may see a Broadway show. But it'll cost me $125.
It was better when I was a yoot.