Thursday, August 02, 2007

How do you measure a year?

“How do you measure a year?” I figure that lyric is fitting since I am approaching my one year anniversary of moving to NYC. Faithful blog readers know that I have been having quite the adventures here and it looks like they will continue since I just resigned my lease for another year. Another fitting Rent lyric “no day like today” basically explains my lifestyle in the city.

Yes this will be a post dedicated to the Broadway show Rent. I first saw (and fell in love with) the show back in November. I heard a month or two ago that the original Roger and Mark (Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp) would be reprising their roles for a limited time, so I immediately snatched up a ticket. I used my fake AAA membership and my KSU student ID (hey no expiration date, may as well) to score front row balcony discount seats! I seriously rested my chin on the railing and watched the entire performance in utter awe.

Not only are Anthony and Adam incredible performers, but they inspired the rest of the cast. This being their second performance with the regular cast, you can tell they were still being shocked/surprised at what the others pulled out. I caught many sidelong glances between the two followed by a smile or a slight chuckle. The best was during Maureen’s cow over the moon interpretive speech. She pulled out all the stops and was a complete riot. The boys had to cover their mouths to hide their laughter. At one point, she mooned the crowd! Okay the last time I saw the show, the Maureen was not as funny or over the top, so I thoroughly enjoyed the new one’s antics.

The chemistry between Adam and Anthony was incredible. During their duet you can tell that they just fed off each other and were having a blast up there. Seriously, I can only describe their interaction as fun! Adam embodied the anguishing rock star. It took my breath away when he first stepped on to the empty stage clutching his guitar. Plus, even for his age, his voice was powerful and true. Anthony brought the quirkily loyally of the eccentric Mark. His funky dancing and incredibility passionate acting fit the character. Plus how can you not love a guy who played the teenage pervert in "Adventures in Babysitting" it, love it!

I have never enjoyed a song like La Vie Boheme as much before. With the Angel strutting and Mark swinging on the tables, the cast in sync with coordinated seated choreography, yeah you can tell I was impressed. The “did I just see that moment” came when Roger jumped up on a table and took a bottle of beer, shook it up, and let it erupt out of his groin like some massive ejaculation. Yeah, shocked but hey it worked.

The second act opener, Seasons of Love, brought tears to my eyes (again) and chills down my arms. I remember mouthing along to their beautiful performance of, “one song, glory”, “I should tell you”, “I’ll cover you” while being on the verge of emotional spillage. Okay call me a sap, but you would cry too if you only had one year to live. Relax, I am not dying, just thinking of the circumstances around the play.

During the final notes, the audience could not contain their appreciation and gave the performers an immediate standing ovation. I sneaked out the side door and luckily snagged a spot near the front of the barricade. Okay they set up this barricade in front of the theatre so that the stars could sign autographs without being crushed by the mob. At the end of the barricade was a get-away car.

Well I was surrounded by teenage girls. Seriously, these girls were all 14 or 15 years old and they just went ape shit at the drop of a hat. One was proclaiming seeing Anthony Rapp was the highlight of her life and I thought “well, yeah makes sense seeing that you have not even experienced puberty yet”. Some girls from Jersey had made t-shirts with “I heart Adam Pascal” or “I heart Anthony Rapp” on them. Some girls screamed out “I love you, marry me Anthony” and some nearby guy said “you know he likes dudes right”. Ah ha ha ha.

Okay being covered by screaming teenage girls may be the fantasy of some dungeons and dragons boy or seriously disturbed creepy uncle, but I was having no picnic. Especially when Adam and Anthony came out, the girls erupted into a vocal level only heard by dogs. The girls rushed the barricade and essentially pinned my arms to my side. When the boys were within reach, I pried one arm out and outstretched my playbill to them. I swear they gave me a sympathetic look since A) I was obviously a lot older than the rest of the crowd, and B) had the most, “my God this is insane” look on my face.

I was surprised that they fulfilled some requests from the crowd. One girl asked for a high five? Okay, laaaaame. Others asked for hugs to which Adam lunged into the crowd (two away from me) and was grabbed at like the last package of ketchup in a hot dog feed. Yeah, I touched him…gently. Another girl three down from me asked for a kiss, and Adam gave her one smack on the cheek! Yeah I totally aimed way too low asking just for a simple autograph. Mental note, next time ask for tongue.

Anyway, only the first few rows of people were able to get stuff signed (t-shirts, posters, playbills, books, candles, etc). Therefore the rest of the crowd started launching stuff into the void. I saw playbills with pens flying by the guys (in fact Anthony was beamed by one UFP….unidentified flying playbill). I also saw a dozen roses chucked into the mass. Now call me crazy, but if you throw you item at them, how are you supposed to get it back? I’m sure people probably pocketed the stuff before it reached its owner ten rows back.

I had gotten Adam and Anthony’s signatures when the crowd went nuts again. I look to the stage door and the original Tom Collins (Jesse Martin) walked out. I guess he came by to watch his friends. Luckily the youngsters did not realize who he was and I was able to have a chat with him as he signed my playbill. We joked about how insane the girls were and the antics people were pulling then and there. He said “man, I don’t know how they are going to get the car out of here” since the car was completely surrounded by dozens of girls. I replied “well they are young, I’m sure they would bounce”. Ah ha ha, made him laugh. The next star to emerge was Mimi. I guess it was some American Idol girl and American Idol is like catnip to Midwestern teens. She was alright, but the Mimi I had previously seen was more convincing, athletic, and sympathetic. I discreetly slipped my playbill back into my purse so that she would not sign it. Yes I am that bad, but I don’t think she saw me retract.

After the stars had done a generous amount of signing, they all jumped into their get-away car. The problem is that the car is surrounded by a crowd no less than four deep. The crowd went crazy and started banging on the windows and hood. I thought “get a hold of yourself; these are people not piles of gold bullion!” Eventually the security staff and police pulled people out of the way, and they sped off.

While leaving I chatted with some of the crowd. One middle aged woman said to me “whew, that was sooo much more exciting than Hairspray”. I asked her who was in hairspray that would warrant a mob. She said “Well Ashley is currently in it and soon Lance Bass will be staring”. FYI I later found out Ashley is some boy band MTV person. I looked at her shocked and said “you waited for a boybander?”. She got all huffy with me and said she always tries to get autographs from all the really great performers…you know Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Adam, Anthony, etc. I walked off because how could I listen to someone who would compare talented performers with ex members of N-Sync, whatever. Okay call me a snob but seriously, how is she older than me? She shouted out at me “one time I went backstage with Alabama, and I have Brooks and Dunn tickets in October”. Rock on strange old lady, rock on.


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