The lights on Broadway were dimmed twice this week to honor and remember two award winning actors, Ron Silver and Natasha Richardson. Don’t jump to conclusions…I didn’t know either Ron Silver or Natasha Richardson, but their work touched our lives and now sadly their untimely deaths do as well.
Live theatre is just that…live and filled with the unexpected. The actor that becomes ill, the lights that don’t work, the sound system that fails, every production is just slightly different and that is the magic that is ours to keep when the lights go down and places are called.
My theatre experience, albeit limited, has always been from the production side of the house, serving on boards for summer stock theatre or for California State University Long Beach’s Cal Rep. But this experience taught me that you just never know who you may one day see on Broadway. From 1992 through 1997 I watched young actors travel to New Hampshire to spend the summer months performing for the Mount Washington Valley Theatre Company (MWVTC). And as the years went by it was wonderful to watch some of these actors eventually act on Broadway…Steven Rosen (Spamalot), Ken Kantor (Guys and Dolls, Forum…and still today in Phantom of the Opera) Scott Davidson (Hairspray), Angela DeCicco (Les Miserables), Matthew Aibel (Candide).
In August 1998 we traveled to New York city for a memorial service for Dennis’ Aunt Beatie (Beatrice Helfand Cantor). While we were in the city Aaron and Dan asked if we could get tickets to see one of their favorite musicals, Cabaret. (Dennis played the role of Max, owner of the Kit Kat Club in MWVTC’s 1995 production of Cabaret.) The revival of Cabaret had opened on Broadway to rave reviews in early 1998 starring Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles. Sadly we could not get tickets as the show was temporarily closed on July 21, 1998, when a temporary elevator tower across the street from the venue had collapsed causing the production to be shut down. As I said, the unexpected is part of the “magic of live theatre!” Aaron and Dan were disappointed, but we did purchase a copy of the Cabaret production poster…and this week I stood in our home and stared at this poster remembering Natasha Richardson…in her Tony Award winning role as Sally Bowles. The Sally Bowles we didn’t get to see on Broadway, because of the unexpected!
So this Saturday morning I dedicate this post to those unexpected life events that somehow touch each of us. I thank Ron Silver and Natasha Richardson for sharing their lives and talent. I will remember Ron Silver as the crazy neighbor who lived downstairs from Rhoda from 1976-1978 or as Bruno Gianelli in West Wing and I will remember Natasha Richardson in Nell, The Parent Trap, Cabaret and Maid in Manhattan.
The lights go down, places are called and life happens all around us, including the unexpected magic and sadness. Enjoy listening to Liza Minnelli as she performs Maybe This Time from CABARET. Your thoughts?