Having said that, I've been waiting for tonight for weeks. The new production of The Normal Heart, a play from the late 80's, was coming to Broadway and usually that doesn't mean a whole lot to me, but the cast was what made me excited.
First, Lee Pace was in the cast. Lee is someone who I loved in Pushing Daisies and in The Fall. You're probably familiar with both of these if you've kept up with this blog at all. Pushing Daisies being one of my favorite shows from television and The Fall being one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. So I was excited to see him. (cut to actually seeing him on the street before the show...tallest and skinniest man alive. I wanted to take him to dinner, make him eat donuts and talk about The Fall. Alas, I just saw him in the play.
But let's be honest. The real reason here was that Luke MacFarlane, aka Scotty from Brothers and Sisters, aka my favorite show on television. How could I not go? How could I not go "fan out" and tell him how much I loved the show (both on stage and on TV)? How could I not? And so I did. Nice guy too.
Ultimately, it wasn't about either of them though. The Normal Heart was really an incredible piece of theatre. As the second act was coming to a close, it was like I was kicked in the stomach, that's how moving it was. Actually, amidst the sniffles and tears in the theater, one guy was so moved that he had to leave the theater because he was so emotional. I wasn't that guy, but it was incredibly moving. The play was written not too long after the AIDS epidemic hit and claimed the lives of far too many people, so the point of view it had was all first-hand. The performances were all really quite incredible from a cast that included Ellen Barkin and Joe Montello (which might not mean anything to most people but he directed Wicked and won a Tony for Angels in America so he's big in the theatre world).
AIDS has been something that I've cared about for a while now. Living in suburban America, it's not something that you really deal with. It's not all around you all the time and it seems to be this thing that happens in New York and San Francisco. But I remember the first summer I spent in New York was important for a lot of reasons, my own awareness of the impact of AIDS being one of them. Never before had I known anyone that had AIDS or known people who had lost friends and family to AIDS. Since then, I've donated money when I could and in a few weeks, I will be a part of the AIDS walk because my company will have a team. We work with a lot of AIDS and HIV patients so being a part of the walk is important for us. So perhaps my heightened awareness and compassion toward people who have been affected by AIDS is why I was so moved by the play, but either way, it was really tremendous.
On a side note, it stands to be mentioned that my play-going buddy Stuart and I went to not one hole-in-the-wall diner tonight but two and had some pretty terrific food if I do say so myself.
It was one of those nights that just couldn't happen anywhere but here.