Sunday, November 05, 2006

Times Square on a Sunday night is as busy as a Haitian straw market. There are people hocking wares everywhere. Every block has someone selling knock off designer purses. The next corner people are selling scarves, hats and Broadway posters. At 48th and Broadway there are maybe a dozen caricature artists doing portraits. They are all Asian; I don’t know why, just an observation. I am amazed at their artistic skill. The trick is to make the subject look as beautiful as possible and they accomplish that with great style.

There are musicians playing every kind of instrument. There are vendors selling food. There are kids handing out flyers boasting a comedy show that is starting in just a few minutes. They swear you have seen this comic on every show from David Letterman to the Fox News. It is a festival every night out there.

It is hard to stand out in this field of entrepreneurs. But one guy caught my eye at the corner of 49th and Broadway. He is dressed up like Spiderman, full head mask trunks and tights. He is just standing there with an open duffle bag and a sign that reads, “Tips.” Now I know what everyone else is selling, but I am not exactly sure what I get for my Spiderman contribution. Are we supposed to throw money into his bag just because he doesn’t know that Halloween was last week? Does he want us to take a picture of him and send it to the folks back home and say, “Look, Doris, I saw a man dressed up like a comic book in New York City”. Perhaps he thinks he is the real Spiderman and he is soliciting contributions to keep the city safe. I even thought he might be saying to the public at large, “Hey I am freezing my ass off in these tights can you help?”

What ever his message, it is not getting through tonight. The purse sellers have tons of shoppers, and all the vendors have their share of patrons, but not Spiderman. I watch him for a while. Every so often he will strike a Spiderman pose. It doesn’t seem to attract the attention he wants so he tries another. Either Spiderman only has four good poses or four poses is all this imposter learned. Either way I thought to myself, what a tough gig this is. I left him there with his empty bag of tips, and made my way through the rest of the bizarre to go home.

But now I can’t stop thinking about him. Who is that guy under the mask? Is he a member of Actors Equity? Did he come to New York to seek his fame and fortune? Did his show close on Broadway and he needs money to get back to Tulsa? Is he “not the right type” to play Tarzan in the touring company? Was he the fifth Jersey Boy when they only needed four? Or does he go home to his wife and say, “I really got them with the out stretched squat pose tonight, Honey.” Maybe as he was looking through his mask he recognized me and thought, “a ventriloquist trying to make it on Broadway, poor guy.”

All I know for sure is I finished my week. Eight more Broadway shows and I’m exhausted. Tomorrow I have a night off. Tuesday I will go back to the Helen Hayes and do the best show I can. I am blessed to be doing a job I really love in a theater where I really love to work. I hope the audience will like my show, and I hope we sell out, but I am forever grateful that I am not standing on a street corner of New York City freezing my ass off in a pair of red tights.
As you were,
Jay

1 comment:

the other one said...

I think we're all pretty lucky to have a show we enjoy and work in a place with people that enrich our lives everyday.

I am also grateful that I'm not out there in Times Square, in the cold with the Naked Cowboy. Yes, I am blessed!

TOO