Either way, Idina’s character’s life would have turned out ok. We exit and pass the stage door. There are buses waiting for whom? For people from assisted living facilities? Yes, probably. It was not long ago that my mother was in assisted living. I remember she took trips on occasion. But the young people are all standing around behind the barriers. I am no dope. I go where the young people are. The actors and actresses come out one at a time. They come down the line and let the ones on line take selfies with them. They autograph the playbill. I am at one with these groupies even if I feel like a vampire feeding off the flesh of vibrant beings. I, too, wait, hold out my playbill, flash a picture.
Idina Menzel comes out. And she does walk down the line. I have her photograph and her autograph. And all I want to do, but dare not, is cup her cute youngish face and say: “Idinala, because she is one of us – a nice Jewish girl from Queens and Syosset – “please tell me you have a plan in place for your retirement,” because when you are sixty it must be very hard to belt out your soul on stage once a day five days a week and an additional twice a day two times a week.
During intermission I run to try to be at the head of the line – the line to the women’s bathroom. It is a common joke about the women’s bathroom during intermission. There are hundreds of women waiting to get into the very limited stalls. I look at everyone in front of me. I turn and look behind me. I see a sea of heads. The women are all middle aged. Their hair is dyed or gray or a combination of gray roots showing at the base of dyed hair. The faces are wrinkled. Some have stopped trying to cover up. Others have way too much make up on. The baby boomers are supporting the matinees, I realize. All of our children are at work. Has this always been the way? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO BROADWAY WHEN THE BABY BOOMERS ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO ATTEND?
The seats are really decent and we got them for half price. Idina belts out how her life would have turned out If/Then. She sings about two different scenarios. Idina herself is forty-one and newly divorced with a son. For all I know, she may just be belting out her own If/Then… on stage. I remember If /Then was on my mind a lot when I was forty. At fifty, not so much. Because by the time I turned fifty, the past didn’t matter to me. I was so involved in life, I simply did not have any extra time to spare. Just like the show suggests, I got over it, shrugged my shoulders, accepted that my life was never meant to be perfect, and forgave myself. The best song in the show, What the Fuck?! sums it up. You never really understand why you mess up, but you learn to just go with it and laugh at your own flawed humanity. At sixty, if I could sing, I would be singing WHAT NOW?
Enough is enough and we decide to go up and have our champagne. We are planning to get to TKTS early the next morning. It is our last day of vacation in NYC. Tomorrow is Wednesday and we are going to a matinee.
TKTS is exactly thirty two blocks away – straight going downtown. Everyone walks in NYC. I want to walk but my husband’s BPH does not allow it. (Until I wrote this, I had no idea what BPH stands for: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). He insists on taking public transportation. He wants to take the subway. I want to take a bus. Since I originally wanted to walk, he caves. We wait a long time for that downtown bus. When we get off at 47th street, we both have to pee. Before we do anything, we have to find a Starbucks. My conscience does not allow me to go in and just use the restroom, so we have to wait on line to get a drink, which we both know will only make me need to pee again real soon. We finally get on the TKTS line. We are in the company of tourists and middle aged or aging seniors. We get the tickets we hoped for. We are going to see Idina Menzel in If/Then… I am thrilled. The sun is shining. It is a warm autumn day. We walk to nearby Bryant Park to grab a bite for lunch.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIT STOP in NYC?
Bryant Park is full of people. A lot of working people from the surrounding office buildings come to play ping pong, chess, and other board games. There are kiosks of fast food. There is a public restroom with long lines. There are jugglers and a carousel. It is one of my favorite places to rest and feel energized simultaneously. You can’t help but feel young.
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW TOMORROW!!!!