In honor of my favorite show (Rent) returning to New York as well as the Summer return of Hair I have decided to re-post this blog from way back in August 2007. It's amazing that not only much time has passed but how little Broadway has changed. Agree or don't agree. It's your choice. Enjoy.
Broadway for the Next Generation
April 29, 1968. Anybody know what happened on that date? Well like most people I know, myself included, I was not alive in 1968. Heck I didn't even discover musicals until 1984. I mean let's be realistic the last thing a wild 11 year old wants to do is sit in a stuffy old theatre when instead he could be outside playing baseball with his buddies. Then one Easter Sunday that all changed. I remember my 5th Grade music teacher Mrs. Dawson told us about her favorite movie. The Sound of Music. Now at first the idea of watching a story about a nun who takes care of a bunch of kids in Pre-Nazi Germany didn't really interest me. But I figured I might as well give it a shot. Besides since I wasn't doing that hot in music class maybe watching the movie might secure some brownie points with my teacher.
As soon as I got home I asked my Mom if we could watch the movie. To this day I still remember her exact words." Do you know how long The Sound of Music is? Three hours. There is now way you are going to be able to sit still for that long." I always like a challenge. Well not only did I watch the whole movie but I was glued to my seat the entire time. I didn't even get up during the commercials. From then on I was hooked. Over the years my love for the theatre has grown even more. Of course after living in New York for the past 15 years my tastes have changed. When I first moved here I would have run to see shows like Crazy For You or 42nd Street. Heck back then I might even have liked Mary Poppins. Not that there is anything wrong with those type of shows. Their just not my cup of tea. My favorite show is Rent. It has been since the first time I saw it back in April 1996.
Over the years I have seen it over 20 times. And it never gets old. I still love it for the same reasons. Even after all these years I still cry in the same places. Who says a real man can't show emotion? I remember when Rent first opened people were calling it the "Hair of the 90's". Maybe that's true. Maybe it's not. What it did was give the kids of my generation something to believe in and do something that today in my opinion doesn't happen enough in the theatre. Rent makes you think and above all it makes you care. Not to mention the fact that it showcases music that speaks to me and to so many others. People in the 60's had Hair. In the 90's it was Rent. in 2007 it is Spring Awakening. What will be Broadways next "Rock" musical. Will we have to wait another 10 years to see the next one. I hope not. And by the way the answer to my little Trivia question was "Hair" That's where it all started. By remembering the past it will help make the future even that much brighter.
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