The Unbearable Banishment: That damn race music

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

That damn race music

The Tony nominations came out and I actually saw two of the four nominees for Best Musical. I'm not much for musicals so it's an unusual coincidence.

My pal CB is a writer in the fashion industry and he did a piece on Chad Kimball, one of the co-stars of Memphis. (That's him in the poster.) Are you ready to feel like an under-achiever? Not only is Mr. Kimball in a Broadway hit musical and nominated for a Tony (Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical) but he, along with his brother, are successful clothing designers. Bastards! Their line is carried in Bloomingdale's. I'm not sure if you can do better than that.

Mr. Kimball invited CB to a performance and I tagged along. We had house seats. House seats are the best seats in the theater. They're held back by management for VIP's, press and hangers-on. When I go to a play, I usually sit in the last few rows of the balcony. It's all I can afford! Sitting up front is a completely different experience. It's easier to get sucked into the performance. I guess that's why they cost so much. Duh.

[Side comment: Many years ago I was upgraded to a first class seat on a flight to Las Vegas. It was a terrible mistake. It warped my perspective. My days of blissful ignorance in coach are over.]

This isn't just another jukebox musical with a plot loosely built around an artist's catalog, as were Movin' Out (Billy Joel songs), Come Fly Away (Sinatra songs), The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan songs), Mama Mia (ABBA songs) Good Vibrations (Beach Boy songs) Love, Janis (Janis Joplin songs) etc, etc x 100.

The story takes place as rhythm and blues music was just starting to be embraced by a young, white audience. There is much parental angst in the plot. The songs are genre originals written by David Bryan, a member of the girlie band Bon Jovi, and playwright Joe DiPietro. The music kinda worked for me, but what really sucked me into the story was the performance by the two leads. Seeing two actors inhabit their roles so completely was the real treat of the show. And sitting front and center certainly didn't hurt.

A public thank-you to CB.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the "blissful ignorance" part. There are definitely some things I'd be better off not knowing.

May 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...



May 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

i dream of first class seats every time i get on a plane! *sigh* we upgraded at the last minute on an overseas flight and life has never been the same...the last time i had house seats was at a performance of The Phantom of the Opera at the music center in la...i was there because it was our then young daughter's favorite, not by my choice. xoxox

May 26, 2010 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Kykn: Seriously, I think it's one of the keys to a healthy, happy existence.

Map: It's so easy to dislike the successful, but you have to give them their due if they earned it.

Savannah: There's nothing wrong with Phantom. It's a gateway drug to more serious fare.

May 26, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Ah, good seats. Yes, they make all the difference. By the way I adore and constantly use the expression "race music."

May 26, 2010 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

There's nothing wrong with Phantom. It's a gateway drug to more serious fare.

indeed! 3 years later SHE was on stage! xoxoxo

(i LMBO when i read y'all's comment, sugar! thank you for that.)

May 26, 2010 at 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

every now and again i get a glimpse behind the 'upgrade' door - either on flights, concierge-level hotels, or hanging out with my 'tech start up rock stars' who worked hard and made millions...

hasn't ruined 'the grind' for me. but i appreciate luxury when it happens... giggling like a school girl... (sigh)

May 26, 2010 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

C'mon down UB and we'll go to Memphis. The Rendevous is calling...

May 26, 2010 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Leah: I had second row center seats for a Rod Steward concert at MSG. One of the best!

Savannah: Does she still act? (On the stage, I mean.)

Daisy: It's nice up there, ain't it. I use to occasionally go to top-tier resorts on business. La buena vida.

HIF: I would LOVE to visit Memphis! Music galore! I'll bet you know all the good spots.

May 26, 2010 at 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Sid said...

Did you call bon jovi a girlie band???

May 27, 2010 at 4:28 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I once travelled first class on the eurostar... bliss, and they have their own VIP lounge.
I can't bear to go on it again and have to travel in cattle class.
Anyhow, I've seen a few musicals in London theatres - doesn't matter where you sit, it's a damn uncomfortable experience because the theatres, although old and beautiful, are poorly designed for modern day theatre goers.

May 27, 2010 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

not anymore, she's a teacher now. wait, hold on, given her job, yeah, she's still an actress! just a different stage. xoxoxo

May 27, 2010 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sid: Yes. Bon Jovi is a girlie band. Too much HAIR, too little TALENT.

Scarlet: That's a very astute observation. Many of the theaters in NYC are OLD. They were built when people were shorter. Seriously. There's very little leg room.

Savannah: Glad those acting chops came in handy.

May 27, 2010 at 2:06 PM  

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