Thursday, October 14, 2004

Years ago, I saw Little Shop of Horrors during its original off-Broadway run. Prior to the show, I didn’t even know what it was about; the play had been recommended to me probably because of my budding phobia of plants. But instead of being further traumatized, I was enthralled. That jive-talking man-eating Audrey 2, brilliant songs like "Suddenly, Seymour" and the biker-sadist who turns out to be -- what else? -- a dentist!

So I caught another performance at the Ahmanson Theater last night. It didn’t have quite the impact and thrill of seeing it for the first time. I couldn’t help but think the dentist guy wasn’t as good as Steve Martin in the movie. Still, it was a really great show.

The situation reminded me of a former girlfriend who was really into the theatre. A stylish world-traveler who spoke fluent French and had very refined taste. But she wasn’t pretentious -- she could appreciate my blow-‘em-up action movies (she agreed Terminator 2 was awesome) and I could be all sophistimicated when I needed to, check out her foreign flix (we both loved Cinema Paradiso). So I thought I’d make her happy and got us tickets to Les Miz.

At the time, I didn’t know that -- with the exception of the excellent Evita -- Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals (or ALW-type musicals -- thanks, Riz) sucked. And Les Miz tops the Tonys of Terribleness. I didn’t catch the show on an off-night either -- the actors, musicians & crew all did what they were supposed to do. It’s just a horrible play. Forced lyrics and music, uninteresting characters, and I never read the original book, but what the hell was Victor Hugo thinking? I mean, at least when he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it had a mutant, a hot gypsy chick and flying buttresses. This was just a buncha Frogs and their class struggles. Excruciating.

Finally, the lights came up. Thank goodness. But then I realized it was just the intermission. Jeez, I had to sit through a second half of this merde?!

Okay, okay, I knew everyone loved this play. Didn’t wanna complain, come off like some kinda Philistine, or my girlfriend probably wouldn’t give me none. I forced a smile -- straining every muscle on my face. But man, I was dreading having to fake this.

My girlfriend turned to me. I couldn’t get a read on her expression. Did she look as uncomfortable as I did?

Very tentatively, she said, "I hope this doesn’t ruin it for you, but... this is the worst play I’ve ever seen."

I grabbed her right there in the theatre and kissed her.


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