my strongest suit...

why take all the trouble and expense to go to nyc and see a musical ON broadway? when you can see the same musical in a year or two touring in a venue closer to home. or catch a high school production of a musical? or a community theater production?

i don’t know. (which is my favorite thing to say about almost all subjects these days. just ask my friend, debbie. she will tell you that i say that on a pretty regular basis to her.) but this i do know...

i saw the musical, aida, in previews in atlanta. i was teaching some classes at the alliance theater and sir elton john (who lives in atlanta) was working on his new musica, aida, and i was able to sit in on some workshops for it. the songs were catchy. the story was epic. but i didn’t love the musical. it seemed flat to me. not all put together.

fast forward a few years and adam and i went to NYC to a wedding. no biggie, just our good friend tony hale. a wedding attended by saturday night live stars. and us. we attend celebrity weddings all the time. if “once in our life” means the same thing as “all the time”. one of the shows we saw during that trip (because our nyc motto is “a play a day and sometimes two”) was “aida”. and seeing it on the broadway stage made me fall in love with that play. it had expanded. become something of substance. of style. of strength. and glory.

a good story is a good thing. an essential thing. but add into it some incredible voices. a spectacular setting. some special effects. and clever over the top costuming. and then you have the full package. and it is rare to have that full package unless you are seeing a show broadway.

this is one of those numbers that just didn’t have the sheer awe factor without all the bells as whistles. dress has always been my strongest suit sung here on broadway by idina menzel. who was featured earlier in may in my blog in a photo with millie. maybe we do hob nob with more than just the hoi palloi. the over the top fashion show during this number was a stunner. breathtaking and witty.

then there was the showstopper number. again, i am a huge sucker for the showstopper number. this one wasthe gods love nubia. and we saw it with the original cast and the amazing heather headley. i love a good gospel style number. 

i remember that we had really bad seats for this show. we bought the tickets at tkts at the last minute. i had “seen” the musical in atlanta and was curious about how it was in its completion on broadway. but not enough to pay full price. i went in as a skeptic and a critic. but left singing the praises of aida and with nothing to complain about. the bad seats didn’t matter once the curtain rose and we saw the show with all the pieces put together. not just the epic story. but all the bells and whistles. and the bells and whistles made it a broadway play. 

the whole concept of “all the bells and whistles” reminded me of something tim keller writes about in his book the meaning of marriage (he also mentions it in this talk on the book that he gave at google.) 

Have you ever traveled to a mountainous part of the world when it was cloudy and rainy? You look out your windows and you can see almost nothing but the ground.  Then the rain stops and the clouds part and you catch your breath because there, towering right over you, is this magnificent peak.  But a couple of hours later the clouds roll in and it has vanished, and you don’t see it again for a good while.  That is what it is like to get to know a Christian.  You have an old self and a new self (Ephesians 4:24).  The old self is crippled with anxieties, the need to prove yourself, bad habits you can’t break, and many besetting sins and entrenched character flaws.  The new self is still you, but liberated from all your sins and flaws.  This new self is always a work in progress, and sometimes the clouds of the old self make it almost completely invisible.  But sometimes the clouds really part, and you see the wisdom, courage, and love of which you are capable.  It is a glimpse of where you are going.
Within this Christian vision for marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love.  It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me!  I want to be part of that.  I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne.  And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!’”  Each spouse should see the great things that Jesus is doing int he life of their mate through the Word, the gospel.  Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory.
tim keller, the meaning of marriage

i am the story part. hopefully a good story. though some days, i doubt even that part. but like the musical that i saw in atlanta, i fall hopelessly short of a“broadway quality” production (for instance my costuming budget is wayyyyyy too small.) but i hope that every now and then someone (especially my husband and my children) get to see me with a few of the bells and whistles. that the clouds clear and you can catch a fleeting a glimpse of the totality, of the perfection that one day i will achieve when i stand before the Throne.