Resplendent! I strutted into last night’s historic performance of Phantom of the Opera dressed in a crisp black tuxedo, satin half cape, ivory ascot and gold press phantom-mask. Such a costume would seem garish for any other occasion (or wearer!), but Broadway celebrated a new champion last night and appropriately the Majestic Theatre audience transcended the show itself in terms of posh glamour.
For the few of you that aren’t part of the New York theatre elite, unlike myself, Phantom performed its 7,486th performance last night, surpassing that hairball hacking Cats as Broadway’s longest running show by one performance.
The acknowledgment of the passing of the torch was symbolized by a feline-like (disappointingly no eighties glam makeup) dancer prancing and pawing around the stage offering her foot to the hand of Howard McGillan (the current Phantom in a far less regal costume than my own) before scurrying away into the backstage shadows. How sentimental. Someone call animal control.
There was copious applause for a pickled pack of Phantoms and a cavalcade of creaky Christines. At one point I secretly wished I was instead at the 7,486th performance of Annie, if only to see a stage full of former little orphans (now middle aged has beens – and Sarah Jessica Parker) wearing matching red dresses and curly, ginger wigs. Alas no. Tubby performer after tubby performer waved and smiled and finally Andrew Lloyd Weber (dandy) and the original phantom, Michael Crawford took the stage, said some hurrahs and goodnight.
Oh, but the night wasn’t over by a long shot. The true drama began while waiting in line for the restroom.
“Why Gayest Neil – it appears Halloween has come early this year!” Michaud smirked and brazenly scorned my designer theatre outfit. I’ll have you know the suit (and mask) is an original Santino! I blushed under my half-mask but refused to give Michaud the satisfaction of knowing his crass remark embarrassed me.
Fucking Michaud. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Michaud since he utterly ruined my First Annual Hurricane Katrina Relief Dinner & Symposium. And here he was standing behind me in line at the Majestic Theatre. And I had to go number two!
“Why Michaud – if you’re looking to cruise a restroom I’m certain there are lavatories more your liking at a gentleman’s video store a few blocks over.”
“Touché.” We tersely air kissed one another. We stood there in silence until Michaud cleared his throat and offered, “I really am sorry Neil for stealing the spotlight at your lovely dinner. I was quite looking forward to tasting that goat you had prepared.”
I was stunned. Here was one of my social rivals offering an apology for being so rude at my Symposium. I turned away and took a moment to compose myself.
What happened next shocked even me…