Broadway It Ain’t


Yesterday we hit the road bright and early for a trip to San Antonio.  In fact, I did not even know we were going until late the night before.  My crazy wife and her surprises…

One of the places we stopped was called “Buc-ees”. I think Bucee is a beaver or something. Gas station, trading post, etc.

What should have taken five hours actually took eight due to our stops to check out the scenery and to let the kids (and the grown ups) use the potty.  Better we were all dry when we arrived I suppose.  Remember that season pass to Six Flags we bought at the start of the year?  Well guess where our first stop was.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas!  That’s right, built on the site of an old rock quarry in a newly fashionable part of the vast expanse that is San Antonio, Texas stands a glittering amusement park.  Compared to the park in Arlington, this one, in my opinion, is a sparkling gem.  Not too crowded, not too dirty, this place provided for a very pleasant afternoon.  One of the big “attractions” at the Six Flags parks is the array of shows offered in their many theaters.  Remember Atlanta?  I believe my big quote from that piece was “I’ve don’t remember these songs being so soulful” or something like that.  Well here in San Antonio it seemed the reverse was true.

We headed into the cavernous venue.  “Honey, what is this show?”  I hadn’t bothered to check the signs — so worn down from running after the kids was I.  My mother-in-law chimed in from a few seats down.  “I think it has something to do with Broadway.”  OK, I like Broadway.  In fact, you could say I was raised on it.  My sister Maureen took me to my first show when I was 7.  I was just hoping they wouldn’t go all “tourist-y” and fill my time with Les Miz and Cats and, God forbid, Susan Strohman choreography!  Either way, it was air conditioned inside.  Outside was 103 degrees.  I thought about it and determined I could even stand the Strohman.

And then the curtain went up.

Normally in a Broadway musical the orchestra plays something called an overture first.  It’s a sampling of five-ten pieces of music from the show to sort of whet one’s appetite.  However, for the next fifteen minutes a chorus of high schoolers sang extremely short verses from about four hundred musical selections.  I’m all for covering the bases but this was ridiculous.  Literally, they ran so fast through some of them.  For instance, one actor would step forward and sing “I dreamed a dream in time gone by…” followed immediately by another who would step on the first actor’s last line with “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!”  It was bizarre to say the least.

Not sure why he’s smiling…

Then the show began proper.  For the first ten minutes I thought they had skimped.  You see, there were four young men (all out of sync with each other) on one side of the stage and three young ladies slightly less out of sync on the other.  The spot lights would alternate between the two groups.  The guys sang a song from Jersey Boys while the girls would sing a number from Dreamgirls.  And here comes the money line.  Wait for it…  “I don’t remember the Dreams being so… what’s the word?…  white!”  Someone should have pointed out to the producers that skinny ties and dark suits do not make the Four Seasons and sequin gowns and long gloves do not make the Dreams.  In my mind I knew what had to be done.  By about the third time I heard one of the white girls attempt to belt out “Move, move, move right outta’ my life!” I was fully prepared to charge the stage and take over.  For the love of God, I had more soulful anger in my heart and lungs than all seven of these clowns combined.  However, I lacked the energy.  And the show continued.

Next up was another of my favorites: Pippin!  Only I don’t remember Pippin having a Raji accent.  Just think about it for a second.  Corner of the sky never sounded so slumdog.

They moved into a rousing rendition of Age of Aquarius and I prayed that God, in His mercy, would either burn my eyes or stop this horrific production before the teens on stage stripped naked (as they do in the actual production).  Fortunately, they had to move on and I got to listen to the next five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes of something called American Idiot.  Wow, Greenday wrote a musical.  Cute.  I threw up a bit on the lady in front of me.  Did I mention that before the curtain had even gone up this audience rose to their feet to cheer?  I remember something my mom said when she and I saw a production of No, No, Nanette at the Paper Mill Playhouse (regional theater, and one of the best, but still not Broadway).  “These people would applaud my laundry basket.  True, only a true New York audience would know exactly when to applaud (and who deserves such an honor).

Fireworks over the rock quarry.

In the end, I thought, it really wasn’t bad considering the circumstances.  And I got a chance to cool off!  We spent the rest of our evening doing theme park stuff.  I never ride the rides (except the kiddie rides with my kids).  The day closed out with a fireworks show over the side of the 80 foot rock wall (remember, it was a quarry) that surrounds half the park.  Then we hit several fast food places — Wilma needed fish for it was Friday and she’s all holy, the kids wanted specific nuggets, and I wanted lots of fat and protein.  We returned to the hotel feeling a sense of accomplishment.  And then I remembered that I hadn’t hit the gym today.  Oh well, there’s always tomorrow, I thought to myself while unpacking the car.  And then I noticed a feral cat or a fox of some kind run past my in the parking lot.  Where in the hell was I?…


2 responses to “Broadway It Ain’t

  1. And our mother is mothing, if not a true New Yorker! Of course our father, born and bred in New Jersey, comes close with his jaded sense of whatever… I remember his quote at an event where the singing and dance were dreadful. When the audience started to applaud, he placed a hand on mine and said, “Don’t encourage them!”

  2. I like how after your long rant on how atrocious the whole thing was you then go on to say that it wasn’t that bad.

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