Thursday, September 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Gee, all of a sudden I'm running around like a mad thing - which is altogether fine, as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday I had a temp job...a dull office receptionist thing, but it made me a little money and they bought lunch and had a refrigerator full of free Diet Cokes (there were other things, of course, but we all know that my heart belongs to Diet Coke). Then just as I was almost home from that, Caesar called so I went and met him and had a couple of beers and some food.

Wednesday I went off to see Wicked again with my old pal Marty, and it's still terrific. I had intended to stay home and watch TV Wednesday night, but it suddenly occurred to me that it was the last night I had free to go and see The Cradle Will Rock, so I ended up going to the Wicked matinee and then coming back downtown, taking myself out to dinner, and seeing that - two shows in one day! I felt like a New York theatre tourist.

Parenthetically, I do wish people would thoroughly explain what's going to be on a plate in a restaurant. Foodwise, I am allergic to exactly one thing, which is evidently some sort of preservative that is only used in marzipan. I have absolutely no problem with this because I happen to HATE marzipan. The only reason I even know I have the damn allergy is that the two times in my life I've eaten it unawares (a sweet roll with it inside and a petit four which had a layer under the frosting), I have immediately come up in violent, large, madly itching hives all over my body. I mean, within three can actually see them form, which is interesting, in a disgusting sort of way.

So I don't usually annoy wait people about the food I order. However, the NoHo Star dealt me a cruel blow on Wednesday. I was interested in the Grilled Seafood Plate, which was a special, and I asked what was on it because I truly dislike calamari...even deep fried, it tastes like rubber bands to me, and when you get the little ones with all the teeny tentacles, I find it actively unattractive. The waiter told me the plate had clams and mussels and shrimp and scallops, which sounded terrific (well, it does, doesn't it?). Guess what was on it besides, when it arrived. Bleeccch. However, I managed to eat around the chewy squiggly little rings and leggy things, and the rest of it (which even included two lovely oysters on the half shell) was quite lovely.

Then I went to see The Cradle Will Rock. This show is a musical by Marc Blitzstein, who did the original American version of Threepenny Opera, the one everybody knows (well, you do if you like Weill and Brecht, which I do). He wrote The Cradle Will Rock for the WPA Federal Theatre Project during the Depression (no, no, the one in the 30's). It's a landmark of American theatre history because of what happened to it.

Blitzstein, John Houseman and Orson Welles got the thing up, with elaborate sets and costumes and a full orchestra...and it was prevented from opening by some trumped up excuse on the part of the government, who decided it was a Communist production.

Not daunted, the three rented a different and much larger theatre and got a piano, and Marc Blitzstein was going to just sit at the piano and do the whole thing by himself. Well, he started it...and the actress playing the first character chimed in with her part from the audience...and the entire rest of the cast (who had been told by Actors Equity that they could not perform it on stage) did the entire show from the house, singing back and forth to each other.

Isn't that just GREAT? That's one of my favorite theatre stories in the whole world.

The production last night was a staged reading, essentially the show with choreography, costumes and all, but with scripts in hand, which you didn't really notice after a bit. It was wonderful. It was just absolutely fantastic. The show tells the story of Larry Foreman, who is trying to unionize the steel mills of Steeltown, USA, against the will of Mr. Mister, the fat cat who owns them. I had to see it, because although I've always known about it, it's very rarely done these days...but boy, is it ever worth it. And tonight's the last night. If you're in New York and at a loose end, you might be able to get a seat for tonight...look up The Cradle Will Rock - 45 Bleecker Street. You should see it if you can.

And as an interesting little side note on the evening, the cast contained an old (I mean like 30 odd years back) drinking buddy of mine who seems to be following the family career...none other than Jason Robards III, who looks so exactly like his father that it was rather scary when he walked onstage. (Yes, I also knew his father, in a casual sort of neighborhood way.) He was very good, too, by God. And I stayed to say hello to him, and we had a nice chat.

And tonight I've off to dear old Croxley's to eat many chicken wings at my kid's farewell party from her office, at which she had her last day today. Naturally, now that there are no jobs out there for anybody, she picks NOW as the best time to decide that she's bored after 5 years. Ah, well...I understand the boredom...after 8 years at my last 9 to 5, I spent damn near all my days in a half doze from extreme boredom and leapt like a trout to the bait when they offered me a buyout to get out of Dodge.

But I can't stay out too long, because there's a location van in my morning plans! Yay! This time it's something called The Other Guys, and I have no idea where they're shooting - what else is new. I'll get my details when I call in later tonight. But maybe...just MAYBE...I might be in town, since I'm supposed to be a tourist. Let's all cross our fingers.

Love, Wendy

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