On Friday night I went with my boss to see Guys and Dolls on Broadway. After the show we went backstage and congratulated his friends in the cast, of which there were many. It is intensely awkward back there, in the wings of the theater, re-introducing oneself to people who just performed for thousands. "Thanks for inviting me to your Bar Mitzvah," I said lamely to one of the stars, in a poorly-conceived attempt to dissipate the awkwardness. "Here's your check for eighteen dollars. Don't spend it all in one place."
I always hated seeing people after my own shows. I could never stomach those exchanges.
We ended the night at Bar Centrale, a restaurant on 46th Street, that is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in New York. Before we ordered I excused myself to use the bathroom. Finding it occupied I turned back towards our table. I saw my boss, his friends, his girlfriend. The place was lousy with actors and theater enthusiasts, underlit and hushed, dressed in perfect casual finery, leaning over tables under oversized light fixtures, or perched on zebra-print bar stools. I stood for a minute and I thought about "show people", and how lucky I'd been to find myself with such priveledged access to this environment. I thought about being a young girl and listening to Barbra Streisand's Broadway album from my white dual-deck stereo, imagining Broadway as a magical, glamorous, glistening place where all the women wore hats and stoles and all the men could jump to high heaven and hold a long note.
"Bess, you is my woman now," I'd sung to my reflection. "You is, you is, and I ain't going no where no how, less'n you share the fuuun!"