The best show in town this week was not ‘The Book of Mormon.’
The best show in town this week was the cast of ‘The Book of Mormon’ putting on a holiday Christmas show Monday evening at Tony Dee’s place, Tropics, in Wilton Manors.
This was a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. On their last free night in town, before the touring national cast heads on to Charlotte, Cincinnati, and Atlanta, cast members appeared individually, on a small stage, before a small audience, but with large, generous hearts and loving songs.
I can’t tell you whether any of these young actors or actresses is the next Hugh Jackman, but they singularly exhibited extraordinary vocal range in an intimate setting that lent beauty and ‘bellisimo’ to the holiday season. Ultimately, there is nothing any of us really have but our health and each other, and the Christmas season is a chance to create spiritual bonds that count and matter. Tropics pulled that off this week.
The cast auctioned off a backstage Broadway experience for their few remaining shows, and three persons donated $2,200 each for the opportunity. Thank you Howard Solomon, Rudi Dostal, and Ray Griffis. It was the most the cast had raised on a single night for Broadway Cares while on tour. But what mattered most was that Tropics provided a ringing tribute to the holidays, and gave the cast of a major show a forum and stage to give back to the community that supports them.
Candidly, SFGN would not have succeeded these past four years without the arts community supporting us, from the Broadway Center to the community gay choruses. The LGBT community appreciates entertainment and talent, theater and the arts. Our Fall Arts section was a resounding success, and our advertising team is out there right now marketing the Winter Arts Guide. I realize though that it is more than just a magazine and a newspaper. We genuinely care about the arts and give life to them.
The arts are what bring us together as a community, in music on stage and magic in the theater. These young cast members are in their eighteenth city in 15 months, and they do 8 shows a week, with just one night off. Tropics gave them a chance to shine, and not just on a stage apart from the audience, but as part and parcel of a community of caring supporters who were able, one on one, to say thank you for the energy they bring to the table. I left my life as a thespian behind in college, but every show I see stirs a quiet spirit within, asking ‘what if, what if?’
I am just a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but Tony D’s Christmas undertaking raised money for a good charity, and raised the souls and spirits of everyone who attended this surprisingly special and unheralded event. It made that neon Christmas tree on Wilton Drive shine just a little bit brighter when I left his club. May you too find spirit and love throughout this holiday season, whether you are ice skating in Rockefeller Center or gathering in a small office party with friends. There is a place in the holidays for all of us to find sharing and caring.
Hey, there are a million stories in the Naked City. This was one of them.