Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I saw "The King & I"

What I saw: "The King & I" at the Lincoln Center Theater, on W 65th in NYC

What I wore: favorite dirty jeans, Chinese-made Australian boots, new Brooks Brother floral blouse, tan cardigan, yellow striped scarf that I think I bought at one of those gifty shops at U Village in Seattle a couple of lifetimes ago, black Baker-plaid trimmed quilted jacket

What I did beforehand: disregarded recent filings by the Department of Labor and went to B&H to buy headphones that don't go in my ears for listening to audiobooks when I vacuum because the in-ear ones from Apple deliver regular shocks from static electricity; walked 31 blocks up 9th Ave from 34th to 65th; stopped and ate hummus with dry pita at American Table at Alice Tully Hall where my three dollar tip was noted with a hearty "Thank you."

Who went with me: My cousin (the one who requested I see "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") texted me a couple of months ago, saying she and her husband would be in town, and that she had gotten tickets to "The King & I" on this night. 

How I got tickets: online, full-price
Why I saw this show: see "Who went with me," above

I could have vomited into the pit

Where I sat: Row C, seat 403, in the front row on the end. I had a view of the orchestra pit beforehand, and regular eye-contact with the bassoonist. 

Things that were sad: I was an alto in the chorus, starting in junior high school, and we sang a medley of the best songs in this musical. As the exquisitely talented Kelli O'Hara sang the opening phrase of the first song ("Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune..."), I began to cry. I also cried during "Hello, Young Lovers," which I thought was a stupid song in 7th grade, and during, "Shall We Dance?" 

Things that were funny: Afterward, I asked my brother about some of the things I was uncomfortable about in this musical, and he said:
There are only three ideas white people have about black and brown people--1) how to get things/labor from them2) how to save them from themselves 3) how to protect us from them 
Things that were not funny: How do I see a show like this and not talk about the "barbaric" King of Siam being rescued by insistent teachings of the spunky and opinionated English woman? Or about the fact that Asia is a huge continent, but any Asian face passes for Thai (or Burmese) on an America stage? Or about the broad and sometimes unintelligible accents? The underwear gags? 

What it is: A Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that gets revived regularly for the Broadway-musical-loving world. It is nicely staged in this venue. The singing and dancing were great. And it was nice to see my cousin and her husband.

Who should see it: men (there was a very long line to the cramped maze that is the women's restroom before the show, and an even longer line at intermission), people who can hold their pee 

What I saw on the way home: seven mounted NYPD officers, riding up 10th Avenue in formation
The best way to go uptown

And I lost a glove.

1 comment:

  1. After shopping at B&H, I had the opportunity to respond to a customer service survey. Normally, I hate these, because they don't ask open-ended questions. This time, I said two things; first, that I have always found the knowledgeable Hispanic female staff at B&H to be helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable. Second, I expressed concern that the helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable Hispanic female employees that I interact with at B&H might be treated like second-class workers, being left out of contention for management roles. I expressed the hope that despite the recent accusations of the US Department of Labor that this is not the case.
    I received the following reply today:
    "We appreciate your concern and your loyalty, and want to take this time to help you understand what has been happening recently. At B&H we value each and every customer; your concern is our concern. We know you have choices when shopping and your choice of our establishment is something we do not and must not take lightly. We want to continue earning your business and instilling pride in your choice for photo and electronics.

    B&H is a family owned business, a success that has been built for over 40 years from a small storefront in New York City to the worldwide enterprise we are today. This is credit to our dedicated and devoted employees, many of whom have been with our company for decades.

    Every one of our employees is treated with respect and dignity, no matter of race, religion or gender. The average employee tenure at B&H far exceeds most of our competitors and as well as most employers of any kind. Our employees are well compensated, offered generous benefits, and they are given 17 paid days off in addition to 3 weeks paid vacation. Few companies offer this.

    The allegations you have been hearing about are largely made by people who have never set foot in a B&H facility. For the time being, we will address several of the accusations, as they are far from factual. We can declare outright that B&H does NOT have any segregated bathrooms by race or religion, and anyone working at B&H knows that to be true. Additionally, any similar contentions are not only inaccurate, but bizarre.

    There are always areas where we can better ourselves, and these are issues that B&H is committed to strengthening as we move forward. Our goal is to create an even friendlier environment for our employees, where there can be no doubt that their needs, concerns, and well being are noticeably our primary focus. Our roots are from a place where discrimination affected so many of the very people who are now part of the B&H family, and we built this company and brand to defy what were the norms around us, and to give everyone the chance to succeed, to care for their families and homes, and to be happy. That will not change, but will only be improved upon.

    What you may not be told in these scurrilous narratives is that B&H chose to keep its jobs in New York, rather than opting, as many others do, to outsource jobs to areas overseas where labor rates are lower. Our call centers and online management teams are right here. We chose a very different route, and we continue to make daily decisions taking into account first and foremost our dedicated employees and customers and we will continue to do so.

    Over the next few weeks and months, you will hear more and see the growth, and we will make sure our customer and our employee are kept keenly aware of the situation. Please feel free to reach out to us with any of your concerns and we hope we can continue to earn your business in the future.
    -- -
    Henry Posner
    Director of Corporate Communications"