When I was eight years old, my parents took me to my very first Broadway show. As the curtain rose and the orchestral music swelled, a hush came over the crowd. My eyes grew wide with expectation.
And then the magic began.
The show was Carnival, with Anna Maria Alberghetti as the naive ingenue, Jerry Ohrbach as the puppeteer, and Kaye Ballard as, well, Kaye Ballard. I was mesmerized by the beautiful singing and dancing and the poignant love story that tugged at my heart. My eyes stung with tears when Lili, who I guess in modern times would have a diagnosis, was stunned to find out that her puppet friends were not real.
(As an aside, many years later I was thrilled to find out that there would be a run of Carnival at a local community theater. I purchased tickets for the whole family and excitedly prepped them for what was to come. Although well done, the play was so outdated that my kids — and my husband, I suspect– squirmed in their seats until it was over.)
For many weeks post-Carnival, I would race home from school, throw my belongings down, and turn on the record player to listen to the cast album. It wasn’t enough to memorize each note, word and inflection. I choreographed every song on the album, roped two friends into joining me, and persuaded Mrs. Wagner, my second grade teacher, to let us perform for the class.
It was clear that Broadway and I were meant for each other.
Was I obsessed? Yes, indeed, Yes, I was.
I’ve had the great fortune to have seen many more Broadway shows, too many to name. My favorites? Hard to say, but there are two I can think of right off the bat that had the same effect on me as Carnival did. I hear a couple of bars of the music and my eyes well up. And I know every word of every song.
So, you may be wondering … or not … would my passion for Broadway catapult me into a career on stage? I certainly had the emotional energy, the drive, the enthusiasm.
Just one thing was missing: any discernible talent.
But a true blue fan I have been and will always be, and I am currently bedazzled by a most wonderful show called Once that my friends and I were lucky to see.
Here we are after the performance. I’m the one in the middle. Can you see the stars in my eyes? Can you hear me humming the tunes?
Once is the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant who share a love of music. Last week the spectacular ensemble performed a number on David Letterman. Watch this and fall in love.
Bravo, Once, and may your run be long and fruitful. I can’t wait to come back.
Let the curtain rise. Let the magic begin.