Every day when I walk to the subway I walk past Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre (I also walk past Juilliard, Alice Tully Hall, Laguardia High School of Performing Arts…not to make you jealous or anything…) South Pacific was just playing there and oh am I sorry if you missed that show. It was beautifully done and really would make anyone miss the classic Broadway musicals, Rodgers and Hammerstein. I was lucky enough to see it with my old high school friend. He and I had been in the show our senior year of high school (South Pacific is a terrible show to do in high school FYI, but especially when your high school is 60% Asian because non-traditional casting just doesn’t work in the show as race is the huge theme of the show.)
I’m sad the show is over, not just because it is a show I would have liked to see again (though it did have an airing on PBS of a live performance- you should check that out). I’m sad because on my walk home I will no longer see this sight: A man with a crew cut, a button up short sleeve shirt, and snug, high waisted (by today’s standards) pants looking like he’s straight out of WWII era, leaning against the wall smoking a cigarette (totally completing the 1944 image the cigarette does).
This was some guy in the chorus- I bet you the same guy every time- that I saw many a night on my street. He always made me smile, not just his picture perfect 40’s-ness but the fact that he defied everything the director of my highschool’s South Pacific said. Do you think Broadway actors do things to destroy their instrument like smoking? You can bet they don’t! Defies the costume designer too: Broadway actors don’t eat in their costumes, they don’t go outside in their costumes, they treat their costumes with great care, and so will you! Through college they did this to us too Do you think Broadway actors don’t know their lines 2 weeks before the show?? Broadway has always been the standard, we’ve always assumed it’s where everything is perfect and perfectly professional, and perfectly flawless and nothing less. But now I know the truth! I’ve seen it with my own eyes! Broadway is where you take smoke breaks between your scenes on the street outside the theater (where nosy little aspiring actresses will see you and get all excited)!
There was a dumpster outside the theater with general debris, “South Pacific Backstage” signs, and prop plants from the show. I thought about taking one as a souvenir but then decided I was above it. Had the same debate about asking my smoker to sign my program. I may be a nosy little aspiring actress, but I still have my pride.