Sunday, January 20, 2008

One hundred posts

This is my 100th post since I started Gratuitous Violins on Sept. 30, 2007. The number 100 is considered a milestone in the school year, in Congress and in presidential administrations, so why not in blogging?

When I check my statcounter, I'm amazed to see the places readers have come from - all over the United States and all over the world. Unfortunately, I haven't always been able to answer the question that brought them to my blog. So, to mark my 100th post, I'll try to answer some of them.

Which Broadway plays have stage doors?
I think they all do. The actors have to leave the theater somehow. Although sometimes they have ways of slipping out unnoticed. I never did see Frank Langella or Michael Sheen after Frost/Nixon. Sometimes the stage door is right next to the theater entrance, other times, it's around the corner in the back. If you're unsure, ask an usher, or just look for the metal barricade and a crowd of people clutching Playbills and Sharpies.

Broadway meeting the cast stage doors
If you have the time, you can and should go to the stage door after the show. Most of the actors will stop and sign autographs, pose for pictures and chat with you for a minute as you express your admiration for their performance.

Easy to meet David Hyde Pierce at the stage door?
Yes, it's very easy. I met him in April after a Friday night performance. He was very nice, signing my autograph and posing for a picture. I told him that Curtains was my first Broadway musical, and the previous evening, I'd seen my first Broadway play. He seemed genuinely interested and talked to me for a few minutes about the experience. In fact, the entire cast of Curtains is friendly and gracious and I loved the show. So definitely stop by, and tell David Hyde Pierce I said hello. He'll be in the show through Aug. 31.

Are jacket and tie required for going to the theatre in New York?
No, a jacket and tie are not required to see a show on Broadway. Sure, some people will be dressed up, especially if it's a weeknight and they've come from work. But generally, it's pretty casual. A nice shirt and pants are fine. You can wear whatever you want - some people come in jeans, sneakers, t-shirt. It doesn't matter. Nowadays, people dress for the theater pretty much like they dress for a movie. Maybe that's good, maybe that's bad, I don't know. But that's the way it is.

Swordfighting in Cyrano
Yes, there was swordfighting in Cyrano. It was my first time seeing swordfighting on stage, and it was great. Unfortunately, the show, with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner, has closed. But don't despair: it was taped for airing on the PBS series Great Performances. There's no air date yet.

Lower East Side NYC dangerous
Hmmm, I don't know. I do know that crime is way, way down in New York City and I felt very safe and comfortable everywhere I went in Manhattan. As always, avoid unfamiliar, deserted places, especially at night, and especially if you're alone. But generally, the places where tourists venture in New York are safe, the subway is fine, and the people are incredibly friendly and helpful. As in any big city, or small town for that matter, just use common sense and keep your wits about you. So go, and have a great time.

Theme from Ice Castles
I guess this 1978 movie has lots of fans, because I've gotten a number of searches about it, including one for "hot sexy Lynn-Holly Johnson," who plays teenage figure skater Alexis Winston. Someone else wanted to know how the movie ends, but I don't want to give it away for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. The theme song is "Through the Eyes of Love." It was written by Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch, and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Song. In the movie, it's sung by Melissa Manchester.

The 25h Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Vanessa Ray
Vanessa Ray plays Olive Ostrovsky in the touring production, which I saw in November. I loved the show, and I thought she was great as the shy and vulnerable Olive, waiting in vain for her father to come watch her at the spelling bee. Here's a short video of Ray talking about the role, and here's an interview.

Who invented the violin?
No one knows for sure. The violin owes its origins to many instruments, dating back to the ancient lyre. The violin emerged in its present form in northern Italy in the 16th century. According to this site, some theories hold that it could have been invented around 1520 A.D., since that was when the first painting including a violin was created, Madonna of the Orange Trees by Gaudenzio Ferrari.

Happy birthday on the violin?
I'm not sure about this one, since I don't actually play the violin, or any other musical instrument for that matter. But this might help. Click on the "play" button if you want to hear how it sounds.

Jerusalem food
Since so many Israelis trace their roots back to Middle Eastern countries, the food is much more kubbe, and not so much knishes. When I lived in Israel 10 years ago, it was hard to find a good bagel. If you want to learn more, Joan Nathan has written some great cookbooks on Jewish and Israeli food, including The Flavor of Jerusalem and The Foods of Israel Today. If you're planning a trip, here's a list of restaurants to check out. I'm not sure if it's there anymore, but one place I liked is The Yemenite Step.

Shalom Chaver
This is the phrase that former President Bill Clinton memorably uttered to eulogize Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995. It's Hebrew for "goodbye friend." The phrase, and variations, such as "friend, you are missed," and "friend, I remember," became popular ways for Israelis to remember Rabin. It's also the name of CD from a memorial concert held in Rabin's memory in Jerusalem and featuring many well-known Israeli musicians.

Some of the questions stumped me: sentimental ideas for a 40th birthday party, (I can't think of any off the top of my head) using the musical Wicked in wedding speeches, (I guess it's ok. My suggestion would be to check out the "For Good" lyrics) and the length of Debra Monk's contract in Curtains. (I have no idea).

However you found my blog, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, the first 100 posts are only the beginning.


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Happy 100th, GV!! I'm very proud of you and all that you've accomplished in such a short period of time. Your voice is one that deserves to be heard around the world - thankfully, your blog enables you to achieve that amazing feat.

As for David Hyde Pierce, my "twin" just told me today that he witnessed David Hyde Pierce obliging every last person wishing an autograph and a picture just yesterday despite the Big Apple chill.

I love thinking how I was able to get DHP to sign a special program of Curtains just for you!

Here's to the next 100!

Your bro, with love, SOB

Esther said...

Thanks Steve! I wouldn't even have a blog without your encouragement, so I'm very grateful for all of your support. You knew I'd take to blogging like a duck to water, even if I didn't know it at the time. I'm hoping my next 100 posts will be just as fun. Luckily, I have some great theater trips coming up to write about.

That's a great story about David Hyde Pierce. It doesn't surprise me at all. He's a truly kind and gracious man and a real trouper. I'll always cherish meeting him, and the very special Curtains program that you got the whole cast to sign just for me!

Love you, too.
Your sis,