So, I have realized that I will most likely be a bad blogger. I forget that I have one occasionally, until I come across something that sparks a memory, and I am left thinking that I should share it. Then of course, I think will someone care? will someone read it? Or am I just going to do it for myself. Well hell, even if it is only for myself why not do it when my brain remembers that I have a blog available to me.
So as I struggle to even remember what got me here today, I realize it was a post that I came up in my Facebook page that pulled me into a black hole of YouTube videos surrounding musicals. It started with a post comparing Lucille Ball’s Mame (movie) to Angela Lansbury’s Mame (stage). If you ever want to check it out, search for Musical Theatre Mash, he has a few others, including a comparison of Landsbury, Lupone & Bonham-Carter for Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, but I won’t get into THAT one.
So, with this spiral down into the musical genre, and a recent trip to New York City, for Comic Con, and dining steps from away from Times Square brought a FLOOD of memories to my frontal lobe. Some of my earliest memories revolve around my grandmother’s love of musicals. There was always a different soundtrack playing, Man of La Mancha, Sweet Charity, Zorba, and of course A Chorus Line. And being the young boy I was, I would sing along with most of them. I may not have known the words I was singing meant, take for example, Man of La Mancha…
I come for love, I come for love
I come to Aldonza for love
One pair of arms is like another
I don’t know why or who’s to blame
I’ll go with you or with your brother
It’s all the same, it’s all the same
This I have learned, that when the lights out
No man will burn with special flame
You’ll prove to me before the night’s out
You’re all the same, you’re all the same
Interesting song for a five or six year old to be singing, but nevertheless you sing what you hear. I am sure that if my Great Aunt Frances heard me sing this, she would have had a few questions for Margaret. I am unsure if the first musical Margaret brought me to was either A Chorus Line, Margaret’s favorite, and one I think I would see three or four more times, or Annie with Andrea McCardle. Either one was a start to a love affair with musicals, and New York City. In the beginning, Margaret, my Mom and myself would take weekend trips to the city, head down one day, spend the night, see a musical, have some good food, and head back home. Often these adventures were associated with the theater troupe Margaret was a part of, Albany Civic Theater, the travel group her and her friends started, BaMaNi Travel (For Barry Scott, Margaret Nolan and Nick Toscino) or later on, adventures on our own.
Over the past few years, thanks to the support of my loving father, birthday presents have included trips to NYC to see musicals. In the past three years, I have seen Neil Patrick Harris re-create the role of Hedwig, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and this year, I got to see Bette Midler in Hello Dolly. Everytime I go to New York City, I am reminded of these fond fond memories of my weekends in the city with Margaret. Occasionally I break out the soundtrack to one or more of the musicals I have seen, and just think of those amazing times. At times, I can hear Margaret sing along in my head.. especially at certain parts of songs that she would enunciate as they were her favorites. Thankfully, I will forever have those memories.
Shows I have seen with Margaret: A Chorus Line, Annie, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express, La Cage Aux Faux.
Shows I have seen since Margaret’s passing: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hello Dolly