Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00
Last Saturday, beautiful Lorraine and I went into Manhattan to see a double header. No, not two baseball games or two movies; we went in intent on seeing two plays, on or off Broadway.
Thanks to the Long Island Rail Road and getting a parking spot at the Hicksville station, we made the 11:53 a.m. train to Penn Station. After the train, we stood on a huge taxi line, but it moved quickly, so we jumped into a cab to speed us to 54 East 59th Street. The play we wanted to see was Harrison, Texas, or three plays by Horton Foote.
We have seen some of Foote’s other plays such as Dividing the Estate and The Trip to Bountiful with Geraldine Page. This production is a trilogy. The first play, Blind Date, is the story of an uncooperative, surly girl who goes on a date with a boy she dislikes. It is both funny and poignant. The second play, The One-Armed Man, takes place in Harrison, Texas in 1928. A man who was injured by a cotton gin wants justice from the company boss. The third play, The Midnight Caller, takes place in a boarding house for women. All four residents are shocked and a bit pleased when the owner rents to a handsome man. Each woman reacts differently.
Horton Foote is a master of understatement. He portrays ordinary events with much feeling and tenderness.
After the theater, we had supper at The Fig and The Olive. It was average-priced for New York City. The next show was off-Broadway. The York Theater Company performs in St. Paul’s Church on 53rd Street. The play was Maltby and Shire’s Closer Than Ever. During the play David Shire, who supplied the music, sat down next to me and we discussed partnership while writing a musical. He lives in Piermont, NY and is extremely talented.
The lyricist Richard Maltby Jr. has won many awards for his body of work. There were 24 songs in the show, and I did not know any of them. Yet, the lyrics of each song had such depth, meaning and cleverness I was reminded of the brilliant Cole Porter, as well as Gilbert and Sullivan.
It was a lovely, exhausting day and we looked forward to seeing the Hicksville station on our way home.