Sunday night, June 12th. I tune in to the Tonys. 60 Minutes has already run a segment on Hamilton—one of the most extraordinary shows ever created/produced. I had the foresight to snag tickets (face value) when it had just moved from its hot Off-Broadway run to the Great White Way. There are not many shows I want to see more than once—Rent was one. Maybe I’ll be lucky with Hamilton when new blocks of tickets go on sale.
More to the point, the horrific news of the day had me in that unsettling place between grieving and craving more than run-of-the-mill weekend-to-weekday TV distraction. What could be better than to let myself be swept up in the theatre world’s night to salute itself? All those smiling faces masking crying clowns. Women dolled up in all their designer-dress glory. Men in black and grey and white, and all the subtle shades in-between.
The show, indeed, does go on, even if the script takes an appropriate detour here and there. James Corden, in his introductory remarks, said what had to be said in short, bittersweet terms.
And the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda, in accepting his award for best original score, brought me to tears with a sonnet that had to be pretty much spontaneously composed:
My wife’s the reason anything gets done
She nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is a perfect symphony of one,
Our son is her most beautiful reprise
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they’re finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day
This show is proof that history remembers
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love lasts long
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
Cannot be killed or swept aside,
I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music love and pride
On another night, it would be easy for me to be glib: Fiddler on the Roof again? On this night, “Sunrise/Sunset” gets right to my heart.
On another night, I could be tempted to dismiss School of Rock as a “why bother?” theatre experience, the movie as classic Jack Black as it gets. On this night, Alex Brightman and those extraordinarily talented kids lift me.
Early in the day, I would get a text from my daughter, who lives in West Hollywood.
“Do you think it’s safe to go the parade?”
Not that she wouldn’t have gone, no matter what I said.
Not that she didn’t admit, the day after, how scary it was to be there.