We went to see a musical comedy at the Belasco Theater last Thursday, and I want to give it a shout out because it was nonstop fun, and it’s called “Gettin’ the Band Back Together.” I won’t give too much of the plot away, even though when we saw the play they gave the whole plot away anyway by the time it was over. It involves a middle-aged do-over of a long-standing feud that began with a high school battle of the bands.
Somewhere in the middle of the first number, which was nothing to sneeze at, I notice that there’s a kid next to me coughing up a storm. An actual storm- you could almost see the germs in the air, with their little faces, looking around for the nearest theater patron to rain down on. Which was me. His dad kept reaching over to cover his mouth with a handkerchief after he had already finished coughing. Aren’t you supposed to put your arm over your face and cough into the inside of your elbow? This kid was laughing and hacking at the same time, and his elbow was lounging around on the armrest, healthy as an ox. The only thing he was using to treat this possibly life-threatening malady was a huge Kit Kat bar.
I’m trying to enjoy the show, and we’re leaving to go out of town for a long weekend the next day, and now I have this kid next to me with consumption or the croup or something, and my attention is focused on getting the hell out of there without attracting too much attention. I was pushed up against my wife so hard she had a dent in her shoulder for an hour after the show from my nose pressing into it. I wish I had brought some disinfectant so I could have hosed him down. This miasmic moppet was the most dangerous thing I’ve seen at the theater since John Wilkes Booth. We stood up to make our getaway, and just then the leading lady broke into this dramatic ballad of love lost. It’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop if this kid wasn’t coughing so loud, and angry people are looking up at us in the balcony, so we quickly sat back down.
I have a healthy respect for the theater, and I’d like to keep it that way. Next time I’m going to bring a thermometer, a stethoscope and a tongue depressor so I can perform a few quick medical tests on the people sitting around me. It’s not like I’m a germophobe or anything, either. Rene at work used to wipe the telephone down for cooties and spray it with Lysol. It seemed like she was afraid that the cooties might actually call her up and give her an earful. I used to tease her mercilessly that she missed a cootie and I saw it crawl into her purse to lay eggs. I read somewhere that the sponge in your kitchen has more bacteria on it than anything else in your house, so that thing you’re using to wipe your counter is actually spreading germs all over the place. Maybe you should clean your sponge with another sponge before you tidy up.
Anyway, the show was really light and funny, and I would have been rolling in the aisles if I could only make it out of my seat. Marilu Henner was in it, who I had a real crush on back in the day. She has this weird medical condition called hyperthymesia, which enables her to remember what she did on any given day in her past. You could ask her what happened on March 28, 1977, and she would tell you she was wearing a blue dress, watching the Oscars that day. If you asked why in the world “Rocky” won instead of “Taxi Driver,” she wouldn’t be able to tell you that. So when you go on a date with her, don’t do anything stupid because she’ll remember that you spilled spaghetti sauce on her sweater for the rest of her life, and she won’t ever let you forget it. That’s the number two reason I would never go out with her. The number one reason is that she would never agree to it. But twenty years from now, if you ask her what she did on August 30th, 2018, she will have no choice but to say that she was at a Broadway show with ME!
Finally we got up and found an empty pair of seats- right next to two teenage girls who were howling so loud I couldn’t hear the play. Admittedly their laughter was infectious, but HOW infectious? I thought, here we go again....
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