In a pretty dramatic change of scene from my last field report on “Extreme Midget Wrestling”, last night I attended a production of the musical “Wicked.” Now as much as we here at the CWR try to maintain general neutrality in the culture war, the simple fact of the matter is that we do have bias, and as far as yours truly is concerned, the theater is hostile territory.
The musical was being done at the Smith Center- a performance hall in downtown Vegas, which isn’t really “down” anywhere because it’s about dead center in the middle of the city. Incidentally, the “inner city” is actually situated on the outskirts of town- but that’s all beside the point. The lobby of this place is fancy, as you might expect. Marble floors, ornate chandeliers, gigantic plaques with the names of wealthy supporters etched into them. And all packed to the brim with women in painful high-heels and impractical dresses, and men in expensive slacks and lopsided orange tans and flashy white smiles that you can only buy from the dental surgeons that other dental surgeons go to. These are the white people black comedians make fun of. The five-minute-warning bell goes off and panic sets in, as everyone hobbles towards the doors. I move along with the crowd and taking my seat up in the top-tier of the balcony. Clearly someone was a little trigger-happy with the bell, ‘cuz it’s easily half an hour before the theater goes dark. I try to make use of the time to get better acquainted with the rest of the audience.
Down below me is a guy wearing a polo shirt and carrying a pair of binoculars around his neck- he knew what he was in for. To my left are two women- no lie- comparing jewelry to determine whose diamonds are “shinier”. The program isn’t so much of a program as it is a magazine with a few pages on the musical nestled down on page 32. The rest of it is full of ads for such upcoming attractions as Cabaret Jazz (sung by white people), “A State of the Union Conversation: An Evening with Frank Rich and Franz Lebowitz”, and “Dr. John & The Blind Boys of Alabama Performing ‘Spirituals to Funk'” (Dr. John is also white). In fact, the only non-white guy I can find in there is a construction worker in an ad for some building project, tucked away between pictures suggesting your life might not be complete without Lexus cars and MJ diamonds.
The musical does at long last start, and- coming from a guy who hates musicals- this was really good. There’s not a whole else to say about it- if you want a summary, go to Wikipedia- if you want to see it, sneak in- because tickets to these things are ****ing expensive.
This I do have to comment on, though:
- The flying monkeys always have been, and always will be, terrifying. I don’t care who you are or how tough you think you are- the flying monkeys are the stuff nightmares are made of.
- If you can see the musical- go for it- just don’t see it with this crowd. They’re giggling like idiots at every single malapropism.
Glinda: “something something Confusifying.”
They didn’t laugh so hard at “Thrillifying”, so I thought they had gotten it out of their system by the second hour in, but then along comes “Scandalacious” and they’re roaring with laughter, so no- **** these guys.
- Can anyone tell me what’s up with that one munchkin in a dress? He’s not playing a female character or anything- he’s just wearing a dress. I ain’t judging or anything- I just couldn’t figure it out.
- To whoever made all those “wicked good” puns as we were walking out, I will find you and slap you in the mouth. You have been warned.
There’s not a whole lot else to be said. I had a good time, but these people- they were in heaven.