Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine for one

Cut flowers wrapped in paper everywhere today. In office lobbies, standing like soldiers at a lineup. In the arms of messengers, headed one way or another. In the arms of those doing the giving. Or later, in the arms of those who received them.

I got a cheap ticket to Birdland (site plays "The Lullaby of Birdland") tonight. My first time at the famous jazz institution, born on 52nd Street, now on 44th. It was a special early set at 7 (most nights the music's at 9 and 11) featuring the original Annie on Broadway (1977), Andrea McArdle, who grew up and managed to make a full career out of singing. I'm not a huge fan of that musical, but hearing her vocalize that quintessential version of "Tomorrow" was still a treat, since it's the one out of which most imitations and parodies (good or bad) grew. She also played Eponine in Les Miz, and her version of "I Dreamed a Dream" this evening was definitely goosebump-worthy. Other than that, most of the songs she sang were passable but nothing to write home about. The one other worth mention was a slowed-down single voice version of "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" by Sondheim from Company.

The whole eating dinner and drinking while watching the performance was also something new for me, and even though I was by myself, it still seemed a bit distracting to have the waitress stop by so frequently. I guess I'm just used to focusing on one or the other. The food was tasty (I had a BBQ pork sandwich and sweet potato fries) if a bit pricey, and they sat me right in front of the stage, although off to the side a bit.

When McArdle first came out of the green room, she attempted to step up onto the stage right in front of my table, but realized there wasn't enough room and then dashed around to the center, and lost her shoes and a fake lash in the process. Her between-song patter ended up being thrown off for about half of the set because of repeated frustration at her heels not staying on, so maybe she just got off to a bad start and wasn't hitting on all cylinders tonight.

I'll have to make a return visit to Birdland to see a jazzier performance.

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