First, an apology. I had intended to post long ago, but the fact that I’m rarely home, and when I am I’m doing other things (O.K. “Call Of Duty”- See “Tin Soldier” coming eventually) means I’m now well behind schedule. Anyhoo….. As regular readers know I have made a number of shocking revelations in this blog over the years, and I’m about to add another: I’m not much of a fan of musical theatre. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Some months ago my sweetie informed me of the schedule at the theatre where she works. One show on the list was the Broadway production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”. Not my kind of thing by any metric, but as the father of a nine year old daughter, I know on which side my bread is buttered. It was a pretty easy decision as there was no danger of not being able to follow the plot and my daughter has a penchant for the performing arts. Of course, it did cross my mind that a day out of this nature would win me plenty of credit at the bank of daughterly good will.
We took the boat across in plenty of time and picked up my sweetie who dropped us off before taking my son to the computer museum, so they both got some one on one time that day. I had some idea of what to expect, but even so I was somewhat taken aback by the gender imbalance of the audience as there appeared to be a total of about two dozen guys in the 3,000 strong audience, and most of them were grandfathers. Making a quick trip to the bathroom I had my choice of stalls, but across the hall the line for the Ladies seemed to stretch around the block. This was 1 March, and I’m pretty sure there are still some moms waiting in line. I guess this is what it must have been like when The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show, only with higher pitched voices – the audience, I mean, not the performers. I suspect the average age was about twelve, taking into account all the mothers, of course. Tiaras and smart dresses abounded and more than a few of the younger element came in full Cinderella costume. I wonder if there is a theatre equivalent of football’s “Full kit wanker” ie, the guy who turns up to a football (soccer) match wearing not only a replica shirt but also shorts and socks as if somehow expecting to be called onto the pitch in an emergency. If the leading lady and her understudy had been struck down unexpectedly there would have been enough six to eight year olds in the audience for a full scale audition without the need for the costume department to worry.
Thankfully this didn’t occur, and the show opened on time. I have to state for those of you who haven’t seen this production that like almost all musical theatre, especially that of the classic R&H era, the show is fluff all the way down. Extremely well produced and engaging fluff, but fluff nonetheless. None of the songs are strong enough to survive outside the show but the production values, costumes and cast were of the highest quality,and for the best part of three hours everyone in the auditorium was lost in the story. I will admit that I enjoyed myself as it was a very impressive production and Cinderella’s on stage costume changes were stunning in the extreme. Of course, my daughter was riveted by the show and afterwards remarked that it didn’t seem like an almost three hour performance. It was very enjoyable and even though it is really not my thing at all, it was great to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the willing suspension of disbelief required for a show like this. I’m not so sure I’d have been as keen to see “South Pacific” or “The Music Man”, but what the heck, who could refuse to take his nine year old daughter to see “Cinderella”?
So there you have it. I have been to as many musicals as my daughter who is less than 1/5 my age. I enjoyed the experience immensely and got to see the look of joy my daughter wore for the whole performance. It won’t become a regular experience on my part, but at least I have been spared the horrors inflicted on my sweetie, who as part of her job had to sit through not only “Dirty Dancing” but also “Mama Mia”. Thank Goodness my daughter has never heard of ABBA, although if the music of One Direction is turned into a musical ala Green Day I may be forced to reconsider living within a thousand miles of a stage.