I have loved the arts since as long as I can remember. I’m not a very outgoing person these days, but once you get me talking about anything in pop culture, good luck trying to get me to stop. There’s a good chance that if you ask me who was in this show or that, I would know. I’m full of theater facts and anyone who really knows me now will tell you that. I was that person growing up who would always try out for the annual school musical but I was not born with a singing voice so you could guess how that turned out. Although, in middle school the school’s production needed someone to turn pages for the accompanist, I signed up to help and was the page turner for three productions. Sure, it was a small contribution, but I can remember that time fondly as having had a part in some way.
I have always loved musicals and plays my whole life.Something about seeing a live production can be so exciting and fascinating. It’s amazing to see the amount of work that goes into just a single performance. It wasn’t until tenth grade that I actually saw my first Broadway show on a bus trip. I went to see “Footloose the Musical” based on the film. I remember liking it a lot. If I’m being honest, at this point it’s been awhile so my memory is a little foggy on the actual production. Although, it was a great first show to see. After that I remember thinking that I liked it and wanted to see as many shows as I could. From there on in, I was glued to the theater. I signed up for as many bus trips as possible. I soon went from seeing zero Broadway productions to several.
The next show that got me even more interested in Broadway productions was the musical version of the popular 70’s film “Saturday Night Fever” which I saw on another bus trip. Bus trips are an excellent way of getting into the city to see shows. The trip handles round trip transportation and getting the tickets. The only downfall is that you don’t always get to choose where you sit. As in the case with my first outing to see this show, I was literally in the very last row of the theater. So yes, that view wasn’t what one might call favorable. Although, my Broadway viewing experiences as this point were still in the single digits, so I was just happy to be there at all. It was still all so new to me. “Saturday Night Fever the Musical” is one show in particular, that will always have a special place in my heart. I loved everything about the production. It was simply just a wonderful, fun, lively and energetic show with the most magical songs of The Bee Gees. I became such a fan of the cast. Many recognizable names in the entertainment industry were in fact in this very musical. Names such as James Carpinello, Orfeh, Richard H. Blake, Bryan Batt, Andy Blankenbuehler, Casey Nicholaw and Andy Karl to name a few. Anytime I see a performer from this show in another show I always tell them, “I loved Saturday Night Fever”.
I was able to see “Saturday Night Fever” a total of three times on Broadway. The first was on a bus trip, the second time was when the performer who originated the lead part of Tony Manero, James Carpinello, played his final performance. My entire family and I had a car service drive us in to see the production together. The first time I saw the production he wasn’t there so I thought it would be fun to see someone’s last performance, which was a special performance to have seen. The last time I saw the show it actually almost didn’t happen. The show was scheduled to close on New Year’s Eve 2000. I had tickets for the very last Saturday matinee. My parents were never ones to travel into the city by car. Driving in New York City can be a bit crazy to say the least. So my mom’s friend offered to drive my mom and myself to the show and she came to also see the show. All week there was talk of an upcoming mega blizzard that would make its way to the East Coast right before New Year’s Eve. As the days went on it seemed like the storm was going to be as bad as the weather forecasters were predicting. My mom’s friend said she would still go see the show with us if we could get tickets for Friday night’s performance if they were available. My mom called and thank goodness there were still tickets available, and as predicted the weather was that bad. There would have been no way to get from New Jersey to New York in that storm. I always feel so fortunate whenever I get to see a Broadway show. This one time I especially felt lucky because it almost didn’t happen. One of the last songs in the show was “How Deep Is Your Love”. To this very day, I will always remember turning to my mom, who was just as much a fan of this show as I was, and saying, “This is the last time.” I will always talk about this musical as the show that truly peaked my interest in Broadway, and will forever be a show with a place in my heart.
Since seeing “Saturday Night Fever”, I have been lucky to see many other wonderful productions. A live production of a show is a special thing to be able to see. For those few hours at the theater, you get to see something come together before your eyes. I will go to live theater for as long as possible. I will hopefully, even in my old age still go to see the hottest shows in town. For I will forever be that true theater loving nerd who was never able to carry a tune.