Monday, April 9, 2012

Buzzing Broadway

We hosted Z’s family for the holiday yesterday.

I actually didn’t find out about it until Z asked me to run down to the store for some extra mint jelly, and when I returned there were several yellow school buses parked in front of the house.

I guess they must’ve decided to all drop in at the last minute…all at the same time.


Luckily Z had a lot of food on hand and whipped up a BIG holiday feast on a moment’s notice.

That Z….

Anyway, now that the last of our Easter revelers have been recovered from behind the couch, dusted off and put back on the bus, I can tell you, as always, that it was quite a day…a day of  bunny candy and colorful eggs, along with a small herd of roasted sheep and all the complimentary side dishes. 

Not to mention the excellent homemade Bunny Cake we had for desert, which for some reason you don’t see too many other times of the year…for some reason.

So that brings to a close another festive holiday season. Or is this a somber holiday season? Or maybe it’s a little of both with a lot of mixed signals? 

Kind of like most occasions when Z’s family gets together.

And, like most holidays, every family has their yearly traditions. This year Z and I did something a little different than our usual Easter tradition of dressing up like Bunnies and going from door to door asking for eggs. I mean we wanted to do that again, but last year the police suggested we try something different that didn’t involve dairy.

So we went to a Broadway show with our friends, Rosie and Frank.

You might remember Rosie and Frank from our other traditional foray into the city each year to see the BIG Christmas tree in Rockefeller center.

Well, this was the same kind of thing, except without the BIG tree, the Santas on the street corners and the 40 layers of sweaters and coats we pile on.  There’s also more early evening daylight this time of year, so you can spot the concealed weapons better…plus, like I said, we were going to see a Broadway show.

Well, technically it was a Broadway show but it wasn’t really on Broadway. It was more on 52nd street which was just off Broadway.

Not that this was an “Off Broadway” show—it wasn’t—it was definitely a Broadway show, cuz it said so on the ticket and at the theatre, plus it cost A LOT of money…but it just wasn’t on Broadway...technically.

There were some “Off Broadway” shows nearby, but they were on…Broadway….

Not off….

So it’s a little confusing.

But the play was entertaining and the performances were good, even though the lead was crucified, which normally would make you believe that he tanked it.

But he didn’t…..

He was just crucified.

Maybe you can guess that we went to see “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I figure you all know the ending so I’m not giving away any big secrets. 

I’ve always been a big fan of “JC Superstar” ever since I first heard the title song sitting in the parking lot of a McDonalds one morning, around 1970.  I guess the irreverent tone of the lyrics and bouncy, glitzy nature of the melody appealed to my rebellious Catholic high school disposition.  I soon after bought the album and to this day can still belt out the Tim Rice lyrics and almost carry the Andrew Lloyd Webber melodies with the best of them.

“What’s that buzz, tell me what’s happening… What’s that buzz, tell me what’s happening…”

“Always thought that I’d be an apostle…knew that I could make it if I tried. Then when we retire we can write the gospels so they’ll still talk about me when we’ve died….”

I mean, who needs Oklahoma?

Anyway, it was all very different and innovative at the time—the first so called “concept” album, rock opera—and the first telling of the Jesus story that you could tap your toes to that didn’t involve enduring 4 hours of the endless stations of the cross, which I partly blame for my funky knee situation today.

I mean how many times can a person kneel and get up, kneel and get up?

Oh sure…I know the response. I heard it every day for 14 years…”Jesus suffered and died for your sins, so the least you can do is spend a little time on your knees in church!”

Yeah…but at least Jesus didn’t have to go to Catholic school. 

Anyway, they resurrect this show, so to speak, every decade, give or take, and stage a new production. 

I didn’t see the original 70’s Broadway version, which was one of the first Broadway over the top extravaganzas, but I did see the 1973 film version and a subsequent local regional theatre production about 10 years ago along with a new film version of the circa 2000 stage version. So you can say that I know this show pretty well….

“What’s that buzz, tell me what’s happening…What that buzz, tell me what’s happening….”

Maybe too well, which is why I thought it lacked a little something compared to some of the other productions.

Not that the staging wasn’t original and creative; or that the music and singing wasn’t excellent—it was…all of it.

It was just that the cast, for the most part, lacked that extra something from the past. 

Maybe because they’re from Canada…. 

I’m hardly a theatre critic, but a lack of credentials has never stopped me from giving my “expert” opinions before. And, like I said, I know this music so well, it’s kind of like listening to someone else perform the Beatles.  No matter who it is, it’s going to feel like there’s a pebble in your shoe. 

But we all enjoyed it, despite the pebble, and after we bade 33 AD adieu we headed off for a very late, excellent, Italian dinner so far down Restaurant row, we were practically in the Hudson. 
We didn't mind though cuz we were all so hungry, even at that late hour, that we gobbled up everything in sight...even something I thought was fancy schmancy bread, but turned out to be part of the centerpiece.

But, like I said, it was all good
Even though Frank ordered a Rib Eye but was served a shank of veal or something. 

Still, the rest of us enjoyed watching him watch us eat, while the waiter tried to conjure up a miracle of his own, turning the veal into beef…so it was worth it.

Even the water logged post-midnight hike back to Grand Central…humming….

“What’s that buzz, tell me what’s happening… What’s that buzz, tell me what’s happening…”


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