Sunday, February 8, 2009

This must be Broadway

I was walking along West 47th Street yesterday afternoon en route to a matinee performance of "August: Osage County" (which was excellent, by the way) when I happened by an odd tableau: a huge iron stage door open to the sidewalk and, there on the pavement, a pile of about fifteen day-glo hot pink flamingos, replete with wispy feathers.

Their essential frivolity stood out from the prosaic, gritty sidewalk scene, but fit into the internal logic of a showbiz neighborhood. A frantic, harried-looking woman was supervising the several stagehands who were picking them up a few at a time and bringing them into the theater.

Speaking of harried people, I had about twenty minutes left in which to run an errand at the Barrymore Theater, find myself a slice of pizza and get into my seat at the Music Box Theater before my show started at 2 p.m. (all missions accomplished, plus the procurement of a Saturday New York Times for crossword purposes, with time to spare; it's the small victories in life), so I didn't even pause to try to figure out what show was using all the flamingos.

All I can do is make an educated guess. The first two candidates off the top of my head are the Boy George memoir "Taboo," which closed years ago, and "South Pacific," which is playing up at Lincoln Center. Do they even have flamingos in the South Pacific?

I'm going to guess "The Little Mermaid." It's playing at the Lunt-Fontanne on the north side of 46th Street, which would be consistent with a backstage door on the south side of 47th. Also, I'm pretty sure they cut the flamingos out of "Hedda Gabler" during previews.

I'd neglected to carry a camera, unfortunate since a snapshot of the flamingo pile would have fit right in this space under the title "This must be Broadway." They say a picture is worth a thousand words; I don't need that many, so if you'll do me the favor of imagining a bunch of stage flamingos piled on a sidewalk, my work is done here.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it wasn't for a show at all....just a very rich Miami expatriate longing for some home flavor? Forgive my ignorance...they couldn't/wouldn't fly away? Maybe they had their wings clipped?

Ben said...

Hey Reuben, I like your theory. Off the top of my head I can think of only one man who owns absurdly expensive real estate in both greater Miami and Manhattan, and that man's name is A-Rod. Maybe he's as fabulous as he looks and "Take Me Out" wasn't based on Jeter after all.

Incidentally, the other night I stopped by a landmark Broadway neighborhood diner called the Edison Cafe en route to "Speed-the-Plow." I nearly ordered (and photographed) a Reuben for your site, but I just wasn't feeling it. At that moment it was all about Reuben's second cousin, the pastrami sandwich.

Anonymous said...

A-Rod in Manhattan with his pink flamingos. Did they look bulkier than the average flamingo? Did they look like the kind of flamingo that might do well in rehearsal, but fail in the big moment with the lights on?

If you were not feeling the Reuben, I'm glad you didn't force it. The sandwich knows when it is unwanted, and often toughens up in disgust.