Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NYC: A Stage I Went Through

                                  View from the Top of the Rock

During a recent business trip to NYC, I was given a few hours each night to myself. All of my friends told me about the wonderful Broadway shows, and how I should take some in while I was there. Glancing through the listings revealed the expected amount of fluff along with some potentially dangerous stuff. I had almost decided to stay in my room after reading what was running "on Broadway:"
The Addams Family
American Idiot
Anything Goes
Billy Elliot
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Brief Encounter
Donny & Marie: A Broadway Christmas
Driving Miss Daisy
A Free Man of Color
Good People
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
In the Heights
Jersey Boys
La Bete
La Cage aux Folles
A Life in the Theatre
The Lion King
A Little Night Music
Mamma Mia!
Mary Poppins
Memphis: A New Musical
The Merchant of Venice
Million Dollar Quartet
Mrs. Warren's Profession
Next to Normal
The Pee-wee Herman Show
The Phantom of the Opera
The Pitmen Painters
Promises, Promises
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles On Broadway
Rock of Ages
The Scottsboro Boys
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Time Stands Still
Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical
West Side Story
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

The Pee-wee Herman Show!!???

Off Broadway, some of the subjects were even more questionable,

All-American Girls
Ana en el Tropico (Anna in the Tropics)
Angelina Ballerina The Musical
Angels in America: Part 1
Angels in America: Part 2
As Is
Avenue Q Times Review
The Awesome 80s Prom
Banished Children of Eve
Black Angels Over Tuskegee
Black Tie
Blue Man Group: Rewired
Boom Town
The Break of Noon
Bromance: The Dudesical
Brothers From the Bottom
Church Girl
Circus Incognitus
Cirque du Soleil: Wintuk
Critical Mass
Dancin' in the Streets
Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical
Dear Edwina
The Deep Throat Sex Scandal
Devil Boys From Beyond
Dietrich and Chevalier: The Musical
The Divine Sister
Dona Flor y sus dos Maridos (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands)
Egg and Spoon
El Beso del Adios (Kiss Bessemer Goodbye)
El Insolito Caso de Miss Pina Colada (The Preposterous Case of Miss Pina Colada)
Emergency Used Candles
The Extraordinary Ordinary
The Fantasticks
First, Do No Harm - The Tragedy at Memorial Medical Center
The Flying Karamazov Brothers
Freckleface Strawberry
Freud's Last Session
Fuerzabruta: Look Up
Fyvush Finkel Live!
The Gazillion Bubble Show
Girl Talk: The Musical
Imagining Heschel (A Man Can Come Too Late)
In the Wake
In Transit
John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean
La Casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba)
La vida en los Esclavos Unidos
The Language Archive
The Libertine
The Little Foxes
Love Divided By Times Three
Love, Loss, and What I Wore
The Memorandum
Midnight in Havana
Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage
Murdered by the Mob
My Inner Sole
Naked Boys Singing!
Nearly Lear
Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
The New York Gospel Stars
Notes From Underground
Perfect Crime
Perfect Harmony
Phantom of the Opera
Photograph 51
Potato Needs a Bath
The Red Shoes
The Ride
The Science of Guilt
The Screwtape Letters
Shells Cocktail Hour
Shelly Garrett's Beauty Shop 2010
The Sneeze
Spirit Control
Squirm Burpee Circus: A Vaudevillian Melodrama
St. Nicholas
Steve Cohen's Chamber Magic: A Demonstration of Modern Conjuring
That Hopey Changey Thing
The 39 Steps
Three Men on a Horse
Three Women
Through the Night
Tigers Be Still
United Solo Theatre Festival
Way To Heaven (Himmelweg)
Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath
Zero Hour

A subject of interest popped out and struck me while glancing through the hotel's "Things to do in NY" magazine (you know, one of those little advertising gimicks that never contain anything of any redeeming social value). While "Notes From Underground" had a promising title, guess which one I chose?

(Hint: it was not "Naked Boys Singing!")

(Insert theme from "Final Jeopardy")

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Don't you hate blog games like this????

Here it is...

I wonder if anybody guessed?

This play was a dramatic rendering of CS Lewis' classic book (which I had read several years back). I really enjoyed this presentation, in part because it brought to life the very real presence of a tempter in our lives. It also showed a contemporary audience the cosmic battle over souls that we so often deny in this day and age. As far as the battle goes, we know Who will win, but poor "Uncle" Screwtape is doomed as he will never be able to figure out God's strategy. Screwtape holds fast to his hypothesis that God must have something up His sleeve when He says that He loves us "hairy creatures."  God can't really mean that! The penultimate schemer, Screwtape is incapable of understanding God because Screwtape only understands scheming and understands "purpose" to mean something that is driven by selfish desire. Agape is incomprehensible to these tempters.

Oh, but they do understand temptation.
"Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
Since that night in NYC, I have been more aware of the voice of temptation, and the power of God's love to make the tempters howl in pain.

So while it might have been tempting to check out "The Deep Throat Sex Scandal," or worse "The Divine Sister," I'm glad that I listened to the voice that told me that I needed a dose of CS Lewis.

The audience appeared to love it.

It received a favorable review from me.

And a good one from the NYT too.

Sorry Wormwood, we know you are out there.


  1. Had you chosen another classic from a slightly earlier era, namely, "The 39 Steps", you would not have been disappointed. John Buchan's suspenseful story is humorously retold on a fast-moving and artful stage by just five (well, so one is made to think) actors playing all of the dozens of characters. It would not have had the religious element of the "Screwtape Letters", but it would have given welcome comic relief nonetheless.

  2. I look forward to seeing this when/if it goes on the road. I'd really enjoy it, I think.


  3. I should think a rip-roaring night of La Cage aux Folles might better prepare you for the coming Episcopal tsunami.

  4. Thanks all.


    Just stroll on over to the "Bad Vestments" pages and you will see that we are already in "la cage"