On Monday evening, I trekked uptown in the rain to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to attend the 14th Annual Broadway Blessing, an interfaith service and tribute to New York theater.
I'd visited the cathedral before, but hadn't yet had occasion to attend any services or events there. The inside is cavernous (as all good cathedrals should be) and might have proved an intimidating setting to perform, if the actors and dancers on the program hadn't been so dang talented and more than equipped for the task.
Because each play was celebrating its 50th anniversary, there were a number of songs and readings from both The Fantasticks and To Kill a Mockingbird. Question: Why does "Try to Remember" make me cry each time I hear it? Answer: I don't know.
Fantasticks lyricist Tom Jones (nope, not that Tom Jones) was there on Monday night; he wore a short-sleeve white dress shirt and waved to the audience vigorously when introduced. Also in attendance was Carol Hall, who wrote some of my favorite songs from Free to Be You and Me; she sang a song in tribute to Lynn Redgrave, who had done a reading at the event last year.
There was an interpretive dance performed to the hymn "His Eye is On the Sparrow," a sing-a-long to an old-school Isaac Watts hymn, a candle lighting, and then James Barbour sang "Measure of a Man." (Wowzer, that guy can SING.)
In his introduction to the event, the Reverend Canon Thomas Miller had said that the purpose of Broadway Blessing was both to ask a blessing for the upcoming season, and also to give thanks for the blessing that Broadway theater is to us. Amen and amen, Reverend Canon.
I do love me some Broadway. Even if it makes me cry, on occasion.