I was at Gammage the other night.
That’s how we say it in Arizona: “I was at Gammage.” Old timers might say, “I was at Grady Gammage,” but most of us don’t bother with the full name.
If a big Broadway show is coming to Phoenix, you can be sure it will be at Gammage and this year we’re getting a buttload of them.
Even… (drumroll, please)… Hamilton!
That’s coming up in January,and it’s the main reason we bought season tickets. Fun Home was the first show of the season and I was anxious to see it.
Do you know the story? It’s based on the memoir of Alison Bechdel. Basically, it’s a coming of age tale, but unlike most of the coming of age stories you’ve heard, this one involves a lesbian.
Husband and I knew the story fairly well without ever seeing it. Son saw it in New York twice, and from his descriptions and playing the soundtrack over and over, we knew it inside out. Plus, I read the book.
Our seats were in the Mezzanine area, and in general, I’d say that’s a nice place to sit. We had ample space in front of us, meaning people could walk to their seats with no difficulty.
Except for one guy, who was without a doubt the slowest shuffler I’ve ever seen.
For those of you of a certain age, just picture Tim Conway’s “oldest man” character from the Carol Burnett show. (See him here.) Dress him in khaki pants that are too short and a Cardinals t-shirt and cap, and you’ve got our man.
Here’s the drawing I made of him:
That’s him shuffling in front of us, on his way to his seat. (Notice the three little lines to his right? That indicates movement.)
Please ignore the fact that he looks like he’s going to the bathroom. As I’ve said before, I can’t draw hands. I tried putting them in his pockets, but… look, just ignore that part, okay?
As to the musical, I must say, it’s interesting watching people’s reactions to a story you know well. There were lines that caused huge laughs, but Husband and I knew them so well we didn’t react.
That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the play. Far from it. Also, that’s not to say everyone found it funny.
I think we were about a half hour into the show? Not sure, but it was about the time college-age Alison has her first experience with a girl.
You don’t see it happen, of course, but you do see them tangled in sheets. It’s the point where she starts singing: I’m changing my major to Joan!… I’m changing my major to sex with Joan!
The audience burst out in laughter and applause, with the exception of this guy:
Yep. That’s when Shuffler shuffled his way out the theater. (Note how the three motion lines switched sides?)
I guess the subject matter was too much for him.
Shuffler aside, Fun Home was a great hit in Phoenix. If it makes it to your area, I highly recommend it.
Oh, one more thing: On our way out of Gammage, making our way through the parking lot, I noticed two women ahead of us. Older women, in their 70s I guessed, and they were holding hands.
Not like friends holding hands, but like a couple holding hands. For that is what they were. A couple.
And once again it hit me how very far we’ve come as a society. Sure, there are problems, and sure, we’ve got our Shufflers. But overall, things are so much better than they were. And if we don’t lose heart, I’m convinced they will keep on getting better.
Because eventually, even the Shufflers will get used to girls kissing.
Anyway. Those were some thoughts I had when I was at Gammage the other night.