Thursday, June 17, 2004

Musical Theater-aholics

I went CD shopping the other day -- something that I occasionally indulge myself in. Not because I don't love music (because I do), but because I have a lot that already doesn't get thoroughly listened to and appreciated, and sometimes I just get too busy to really devote the type of attention to it that it deserves. Anyway, C and I went to Virgin, which even if I never buy anything from there ($$$!), is the best place to go because of the listening posts, and I came out pretty darn happy. I was able to finish my frequent buyer card, which entitled me to a free CD ($20 or less), get a few bargains, and start a new frequency card, all in one fell swoop. All in one expensive swoop, but whatever.

When we got in the car, we both started ripping the cellophane (not ripping, because what is up with CD packaging these days? Remember the good old days with the non-environmentally friendly cardboard boxes that you could tear in half and get right to that new music? Now you need a 3-year old to get into a CD in less than 1 minute, so advanced is the plastic technology. There's the outer plastic wrap, then a sticky thing that was supposed to help you get the outer wrap off, then another sticky label on top holding the whole shebang together, and ...) off to see who could get a CD open first to pop into the car stereo.

I don't remember who won that particular contest. What does stick out in my memory is when C looked in the bag to see what I had purchased, picked one of the CD's up by the corner with thumb and forefinger like it had sneeze germs on it, looked at the title and said with no small amount of disdain, "When did we become our parents?"

"Huh? Excuse me?" (After all, I wasn't the one who had just admitted in front of me, Virgin customers and Virgin staff that I was a Fan-illow.)

"This," she said, gesturing to the aforementioned distasteful CD. "Since when did all you buy start being musicals?"

"Oh. Well, see, that's by-that-guy-on-Bravo-James-Lipton-who-wrote-a-musical-and-I-don't-know-antyhing-about-it-really-except-look-at-that-cast-would-you-I-mean-Carol-Burnett-Nathan-Lane-Bernadette-Peters-Mike-Myers-MIKE-MYERS-for-pete's-sake-there's-nothing-wrong-with-buying-something-like-this--it's-not-like-it's-Rodgers-and-Hammerstein-which-really-is-what-our-parents'-generation-listened-to-and-besides-I-like-musicals."

A smirk is all I received in reply.

So, I admit it. I like musicals. Well, I like good musicals. Which I know is purely subjective and different for each person. But I like music with meaning and meat and oomph. I like music with a lot of stuff going on and conflict and stories and character. I like music that you're just don't find on the local hip-hop or soft rock or even classical station. Don't get me wrong, I like some of that too, but there is something about listening to musicals that's fun and exciting and entertaining, and I shouldn't feel sorry for that.

Hi, I'm Laura.

(Hi, Laura!)

I like musicals. There. I said it.

My latest obsession, (and it really is becoming quite obsessive to the point of trying to figure out air fare, and a cheap, er, inexpensive hotel to stay near the theater district in New York so I can go see it before it leaves Broadway, because it won't start touring until sometime in 2005, and I just really don't see how I can humanly wait until then because the music -- vocals and orchestration -- just does something to me) is "Wicked."

I can't even describe how listening to this makes me feel, other than it gives me a desire to be involved in it. This means taking precautionary measures while driving or being in otherwise public places while listening to it, because I'm liable to start singing and dancing, and for anyone who knows me, participating in those events as a soloist is never a good idea, let alone trying to put them together. But that's what it does. It moves me -- both physically and internally.

I love it so much, I'm even seriously considering rescinding my self-imposed ban of not seeing "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" since I was a child. The flying monkeys scared me then, and I have no good reason to believe they still won't give me nightmares. But I'm willing to sacrifice it if it will help with understanding more layers of "Wicked," rather than slogging through Gregory MacGuire's (the original author) very dry book.

So look for me in NYC sometime this fall. I will be dragging Linda and another musical-loving friend with me there on a Thursday night/Friday morning flight to see shows on Friday evening, then catch a Saturday matinee and evening shows of something else, then fly out on Sunday. No, I'm not kidding.

To feed my cravings, I have season tickets to the Ahmanson -- always a crap shoot at best. I was quite pleased, though, with "Thoroughly Modern Millie" this past Tuesday. So much so that I've gotten my grubby hands on half-price tickets for this Friday. (Note to anyone interested in season tickets at the Ahmanson -- get them for a Tuesday night, balcony seats which are only $22 a pop, then upgrade yourself to box seats just before the show starts. I can't remember the last time I actually saw a show from the balcony.) (Note to anyone who works at the Ahmanson -- can you believe how rude some of these balcony people are? How dare they upgrade themselves to box seats! I demand that something be done!)

Yes, I love me some singing and tap-dancing something fierce. Now go. Shoo. Go see some live theater.

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