Monday night I took the 5:30 train from New Haven to Grand Central Station to attend Broadway Live at Joe’s Pub with Jana. I’d never been before. Our table was near the stage but there wasn’t a bad seat in the cabaret style house. You can link to Broadway Live to see what they’re doing, what their goal is. I was fortunate enough to be part of their first event, the first, I hope, of many more to come. The talent I saw that night was awe inspiring. These men and women stood at the microphone, said a few words about the songs they were going to sing (all of them by the composer who was also performing), gave a nod to the guitarist or pianist accompanying them, opened their mouths and blew me away. Their voices, strong at the start, grew stronger and bigger as they belted out their numbers. We were close enough to see their faces, see their expressions, see their emotions and they were real and true and humbling. I can’t put into words the awe I felt toward all of them, how much I appreciate the gift of a beautiful, strong voice, something I don’t possess. And, yes, I apologize for using the word awe more than once, it may show up again before the end of this post.
During one of their performances a singer forgot the lyrics shortly after starting. She was mortified, had previously recorded the song and as she said “knew the words like the back of my hand.” She looked to the composer for a cue, asked to start over and on the second go around forgot the words again at the same spot. After humming along for a second or two she recovered and carried on like the professional she is without any other incidents. Earlier, on the first stall, we all clapped and cheered and she smiled and asked “it’s okay?” We clapped and cheered louder in response, yes it’s okay!
‘You’re human,” I thought. “We all make mistakes, no matter who we are or what we do or how well we do it.” She may tell friends and family who weren’t there how embarrassed she was by her flub or how she can’t believe she blanked during a performance but it just reinforced in me that we are all vulnerable at times in our life; she kept her composure, handled it with poise and moved on; I admire that and hope her situation springs to mind the next time I take a misstep.
After the show we went upstairs to The Library, the bar. We had a lively conversation with the producers and sound designer and met the composer as well as some of the performers. I know very little about Broadway and its culture and politics; I was given a quick education about the ins and outs of the business, asked a question here and there but mostly soaked up the information offered. Hearing and seeing the passion everyone has for their jobs gave me a greater appreciation of the highs and lows of performing be it Broadway, Off Broadway or Tours.
When the cab dropped us off at our hotel I was hungry. We walked around the corner to Duane Reade, thankfully open at 1:00 am, and bought a big bag of blue chips and small bag of Butterfingers. I couldn’t wait to get back to our room, ripped the bag of blue chips open and started walking and eating. Back in our room, chips and candy eaten, my face washed and teeth brushed I feel into bed at 2:00 am. It was an awesome night!