Last week Alan and I realized we are about to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and we should do something to observe it. So we made last-minute reservations in Stratford, where the Shakespeare festival isn’t quite up to full speed just yet, but the plays are starting to open, and still at preview-level pricing.
We drove over on Saturday and saw “Rent,” one of two musicals they’re doing this year. (The other is “Spamalot,” and as I’m only a casual Monty Python fan, the choice was clear.) It was very fine. I’m not much for sung-through musicals, but this was a good production. Just a few years ago, a 1996 play about the persecution of drag queens, homosexuals, AIDS victims, anarchist professors and others might have seemed dated. As it is, the only unrealistic thing about the show was the idea that artists could squat in a loft on the lower east side of Manhattan. The rest was pretty dead-on.
I was curious who was in the original Broadway production. I don’t follow B’way closely, but I recognized Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel (or as John Travolta called her at the Oscars, Adele Dazeem). Diggs played
Roger, the AIDS-cursed guitarist Benny the bad guy, and Adele was Maureen, who gets a couple of big numbers.
Living so close to Canada, I always wonder why we don’t go more often, even to Windsor. We’re so close to Canada you can see cars driving the shoreline roads, and yet, once you get there, everything is different. The accents change, people say “soe-rry” for the slightest offense, miles change to kilometers, the roads are as smooth as glass, your chance of dying in a mass shooting drops off the table. You can pick up a little French just by reading labels and street signs. Even their vodka-and-tomato juice drink is different, the bloody Caesar instead of Mary. And yet, you’re still speaking English, the currency is still dollars and cents, just different, gaily colored dollars.
God knows what Canadians think of us.
As always when I’m in Stratford, I bought books. “Station Eleven” from the Canadian-authors rack. “Birnam Wood,” which got a rave review in the NYT today, and the text of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which I’ve never read. And a blank journal for Kate, who stepped up to watch Wendy on short notice.
Speaking of the NYT, some great work today, not only there. First, an infuriating, extremely well-documented project on how three assholes worked a number of fake charities via robocall, raising $89 million in the process, and spending only 1 percent on the issues they were allegedly raising money for. I know you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn these guys are…well, you know.
This is older, but from ProPublica, a report on the nation’s worst-funded schools, which are falling apart. It’s not where you might think. (But once you know, it makes perfect sense.)
And with that, I’m going to doze and wait for my Mothers Day dinner with Kate. Hope yours went/is going well.