Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Connect!

I love musicals. I do. But not just any musicals. I love Stephen Sondheim and Claude-Michel Schönberg. And whomever made Wicked, I loved that! Having just recently seen "Company", with Patti LuPone (and others), I was excited when I heard that she was coming to town!

So we went. Gussied up, late-ish on a Sunday night with a zillion other things to do but still, we went. And we were sadly disappointed. Her voice was great, her pianist was fantastic! The stage was simple, as was her attire of an all black pantsuit flowy thing. But she sang on without much pause between numbers in this endless barrage of Broadway bravado and machinated persona. The schtick was thick with a running series of fabricated anecdotes relating to the songs she was singing. She went from one song, and one trite anecdote to the next with no pause and no apparent passion for the music she was singing. I must confess that, perceiving a concert to come that could as easily be obtained over DVD or Spotify and at a more convenient time with better parking, we left at intermission.

On that night and on that stage, Patti LuPone made zero connection to her audience (i.e., me and my date). She shared her voice but not her soul (groan, I know but still..). I left knowing nothing more about her than that she can belt out a good tune, but I knew that before I went. Why did I even leave my comfy couch that night?

These days, we have a zillion and a half ways to disconnect from our world. They need not be named - you've already thought of at least five. The REASON a person leaves their house to experience something they might as easily sate with a quick YouTube search is to have an experience, to connect with someone or something that they cannot find in their own little bubble. It is the purview of the artist and the organization to make that connection, whether it be through personal stories and addresses, choice of dance/song/art piece, or by simply and unequivocally "Showing Up" to ones own performance. Without that little thing, that bit of soul and self, we are wasting everyone's time.