On my way to the theatre last night I was walking through Times Square (one of my least favorite places to be on this Earth, second only to the gynecologist) and I stepped over that crazy, drunken homeless guy who panhandles tourists outside the Palace Theatre… Not Laura Bell Bundy - the other one. My New Yorkers in the house will know who I’m talking about. He sits there, all dirty and scratchy and frizzy, with cardboard signs that say ironic little quips like “Can U spare a beer?” or “Need money 4 Booze! At least I’m honest!” And it just made me think to myself as I slipped a couple of dollar bills out of his tin can: “Ain’t that New York for ya? Ev-er-y-one’s gotta have a fuckin’ gimmick.” I mean… normally, it would be enough for him to just pee on the sidewalk and harass us for spare change. But here there’s always the added pressure of constantly having to outshine our peers and colleagues because there are so many of us, and we’re all trying to accomplish the same exact things; everyone’s trying to be an actor, or to be a dancer, or to be homeless. And there’s no room for mediocrity because there will always be someone who’s done it before you, who will do it after you, and will do it better and homelesser.
Which brings me to Title of Show (which is in no way mediocre, but it is a little homeless.) I was at the final performance last night, and what an experience it was! The only other time I’d ever seen it was opening night, which was incredibly moving as well. For the nine schmucks who don’t know about TOS, it’s a “show within a show” like no other; the completely exposed skeleton of a musical which quite personally and honestly documents its own creation and journey to Broadway. So to have been there for the actual Broadway opening was sort of like watching home video of a nine-month pregnancy condensed into an hour and a half, and then watching the actual birth, live on stage (but with much better music and much less placenta.) Last night’s closing was just as emotional, if not more so. The audience was packed with fans, friends and family, which resulted in about five possibly record-breaking standing ovations throughout the night, the last of which I’m pretty sure went on for like 45 minutes. (In fact, there are probably a couple of queens at the Lyceum, still clapping.) And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. There has not been so much sobbing and wailing from an audience since the Patti LuPone/Isotoner incident.
Anyway, I’m so glad I could be there. I feel a little like Sally Field in “Steel Magz”: I realize as a homosexual how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful little musical drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. Of course, don’t let’s get too hasty. A curtain speech by Hunter Bell (pictured Right, with Yours Jew-ly) fueled a few rumors that this most likely is not the end end. I have a feeling Broadway hasn’t seen the last of this little gem, and I really hope that's the case. I think it’s so important - not only because it’s adorable and speaks so perfectly and so affirmingly to artists – but because a successful run of a show like this proves that original and intelligent work still has a freakin’ shot in this alarming time in which scaled-up, dumbed-down commercial doody dominates.
After the show, it was on to the closing cocktail party at Bond 45, across from the theatre, where my husband Norm Lewis completely ignored me the entire time (I don’t wanna talk about it) and I got the chance to spend a little time with the cast – Hunter, Heidi Blickenstaff, Susan Blackwell and Jeff Bowen - who are so adorable and lovely that I would like all four of them collectively to be my boyfriend. We’ll see how that works out.
L-R: Frank DiLella, Heidi Blickenstaff, Moi
L-R: Christian Coulson, Michael Arden, me, Susan Blackwell, Frank DiLella, Michael Berresse (TOS Director and Broadway gorgeous)