Catherine Zeta Jones starred in the cast of this revival when it opened. And after seeing her inexplicably Tony winning, bird-trapped-in-a-plastic-bag body language performance of Send in the Clowns on the Tony broadcast, I decided to wait until the new cast – headed by the inimitable Bernadette Peters – took over.
Boy am I glad I did.
The highlight of the show – perhaps of the Broadway season, is hearing Peter’s sing that signature song. Remember when you used to hear Send in the Clowns as a kid? I was always thinking “Clowns? Huh? wha? Are they going to the circus?”
Ah. The innocence of youth.
Now, as a forty something it takes on new resonance. And Peter’s does it justice, seeming to age on the stage, when she realizes her youthful love was too long ago to salvage. Watch her perform and witness a Broadway legend seal her place in history.
Luckily, Peters is sitting just about center stage when she sings the song, otherwise, I may not have seen her at all, since the woman in front of me clearly stopped at the store and bought a Bozo the Clown wig to wear to the theatre that night.
This was not just a head of hair in front of me. It was a triangulated, bright red, dense mass of curly hair hitherto unseen except in the nether regions of Ronald McDonald’s long lost sister.
Had the woman never seen a ponytail holder?
That was all she needed. Just a little piece of elastic to stave off the frizzy wall that blocked my view of the entire left side of the stage. During the song “My Wife,” sung by the under-appreciated Alexander Hanson – (he is charming, handsome, and completely winning as Peters’ lifelong love interest) there is a fair amount of mugging by Peters, who is decidedly UNinterested in hearing about her former lover’s child bride. But I didn’t see any of it. I just heard the laughs. Bozo blocked my view COMPLETELY. (And, just for the record, I am not exaggerating for comic effect; I saw ZERO that went on stage right (my left.))
Beccarama and I moved seats during intermission, only to find ourselves behind a woman who must have been about six feet tall, and had her hair piled high on top of her head.
This was passive aggressive theatre going at it’s peak.
If you’re just tall, it’s one thing. No one likes to see Yao Ming scooting his way into the row directly in front of them, but it’s not like there’s a whole lot he can do about being circus-freak tall. But if it’s just your ginormous hairdo, here’s a tip: TONE IT DOWN.
Tickets aren’t cheap (although, full disclosure: Beccarama received the tickets from the show’s PR department. I received my ticket because her sister got an ill-timed (for her) stomach bug.) You and your Hairdini aren’t the only ones who want to see what they paid for. Plus, it’s just RUDE. Don’t think for a minute that anyone thinks you’re oblivious: we know just what you passive aggressive hair bullies are up to. And it’s got to stop.
While I’m at it, here are some other tips for you, if you’re planning on going to the theatre on your next trip to NY:
1. Brush your teeth. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed. Ditto deodorant.
2. This is not your living room. Keep your comments to yourselves. Theatre is LIVE, people. You may not comment on the goings on on stage to the person next to you the way you would were you watching, say, The Real Housewives of New Jersey. (who, by the way may not even be live themselves – just well drawn cartoons.)
3. If you must smoke, give yourself at least a few moments to air out before you take your seat. Nothing spoils the illusion of being in the African Jungle, or the royal court like the stench of old cigarette smoke.
Of course if it’s a Mamet play, smoke away.
4. If you sleep, do not snore. I know what you’re thinking : how would I know I‘m snoring if I’m asleep? I don’t care. Snoring is disrespectful to the actors and the people around you. Tie a rubber band around your wrist, and if you feel yourself dozing off, give yourself a good hard snap.
5. If you MUST have a tuberculosis attack the second the lights go out, at least cover your mouth. Why does the coughing begin as the curtain goes up? Passive aggressive anyone?
6. No canoodling. Keep your head on top of your own shoulders, not snuggled up against your date’s. You’ll be blocking someone’s view. And making them sick from the cuteness of it all.
7. Finally, a list of the most obvious ones – but clearly, people need to be reminded: no texting, IMing, phoning, browsing the web, filing your nails, flossing your teeth (I saw that once. Disgusting.), eating your sandwich or making out with your girlfriend because this is your seventh weekiversary. Get a room.
Follow my rules for Hair and Hygiene when you go to the theatre, and you, too, can have a wonderful time.
Just don’t sit in front of me.