I can’t believe it! All my life, I’ve been waiting for this moment. From my first dance lesson at age six with Madame Brosier to this date, 20 years later—at last, I’m on Broadway!
“Welcome to the Great White Way! We can’t wait to see you dance.”
Thanks! I’m going to be appearing in the Majestic in a big revue!
“Um, well, actually, you’ll be appearing in front of the Majestic in your big revue.”
“Broadway’s not what it used to be, kid. There used to be all kinds of dough in it, all kinds of folks who made sure that acts on Broadway were first class. But that ain’t the way anymore. Before Broadway was a musical destination, it was just a street, and now that it’s no longer a musical destination, it’s once again just a street. Which means that everybody can appear on Broadway. Like you!”
Yeah, but, I’m not talking about the street. I’m talking about the legendary theaters on the street.
“People don’t pay for shows anymore. They want it all free. All on the street. So all these theaters are in foreclosure. You can’t get in them unless you’ve got a hard hat. But good news for you is you can still be on Broadway by just being on the street!”
You mean, like a hobo.
“Course not. Hobos don’t sing and dance. They don’t have got a violin case for people’s change. But that, by the way, is all you get anymore on Broadway—change.”
So, now that the theaters are gone—after I’ve spent 20 years trying getting into them—and now that everybody expects entertainment for free on Broadway—
“Not for free. They give you some nickles if they like how you dance.”
—I’m supposed to be happy about this?
“You’ve been liberated from the system. You don’t have to wait for a director to pick you, for a producer to believe in you. You don’t have to rely on a bunch of marketers who don’t get you, a bunch of reviewers who don’t like you, and an audience who won’t pay to see you. Instead, you become all those things yourself.”
“You hold tryouts, for which only you perform. You are your own director, casting yourself in every role. You write your own script and build your own set and design your own lighting. You do all your own marketing and sell all your own tickes. You sew all your own costumes. You pay yourself to be ushers. You show yourself to your seat. You watch your own show and review it for the papers and interview yourself telling how great you are, and you make yourself your favorite star!”
Seems pretty narcisistic.
“THANK you! That’s the word I’ve been looking for. I knew it had something to do with a beautiful flower, narcissus, and you gave me the word. You’re even your own dictionary!”
I quit. This isn’t Broadway. This is hobos playing on Broadway for spare change.
“But remember: Hobos don’t have your talent!”
If I’m a hobo, they do.April 14th, 2011
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