When I heard that Wicked was coming to town this summer, I hit the keyboard like a shot. I didn’t want anyone getting *my* seats, the ones where my theater buddies and I enjoyed Rent, Jersey Boys, West Side Story, and Hairspray. Lower Loge, in the little side section that hangs down over the orchestra seats and you can choose the row that is exactly as long as your party. As I constructed my email to the sistahs, I thought about how much my girl would love to go. She’s my front seat singing partner after all, and we’re all about the show tunes. It was so expensive, though. Way too much for a ten year old. But…. the dates coincided with her 11th birthday! And…three of my friends’ girls also had birthdays during this show’s run. It was destiny. I floated the idea, and two of the pairs were in town and interested, so we invested in six seats, two little rows of three, in our beloved lower loge.
When I told my girl the news, she was over the moon! We immediately set about procuring the soundtrack and listening from start to finish. We discovered our favorite numbers, we discussed the plot as best we could based on the lyrics and the sorta kinda familiar story. We listened to it a lot. We listened together and separately, until we both knew every in and out of every song. Recently our car singalongs have become bona fide duets, and it’s been so wildly wonderful to work out harmonies and just belt it out with my girl, adding jaunty yet restrained dance moves whenever possible (some of us are driving). It makes me so happy to sing with my girl, it’s so familiar and fun, and comes so naturally to her that I forget she doesn’t have all the sisters built in to do skits and sing duets and always know every single line. She’s got me, though. And we’re awesome! I have to begrudgingly let her be Elphaba sometimes, at least until she works out finding her upper range. But she understands that I can’t not sing the line “so if you care to find me, look to the western sky!” I really just can not not sing that. She gets me.
This weekend presented us with the perfect opportunity for a viewing, it was just a matter of figuring out how to make the VCR work with the cable and find the remote and find batteries for the remote and figure out the input of every freaking piece of connected machinery and then just like that we were on the farm with Dorothy. It was an old tape, as evidenced by the fact that it was a tape. We found the tracking and got it to a semi-clear image and we dove in. I gave my girl the remote to fast forward the commercials, and she did so diligently during every break while I did whatever one does during a break from Oz. At one point she said “Wow, that tiger has been on cereal commercials for a long time!” And it dawned on me that this was an old old tape, recorded a looongity long time ago, probably when we got that gigantic first VCR that dad was so proud of, with buttons the size of piano keys and audibly grinding circular gears.
From that point on, we put the remote aside and enjoyed the commercials; it was such a fantastical blast from the past! Low tech and supremely dorky, lots of white folks hawking sugary snacks and fast food, jingles and slogans, cbs newsbreaks by an anchorwoman sporting a silk scarf tied into a bow and a righteous Dorothy Hammil hairdo, and teasers for the newest episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati and the Dukes of Hazard. What a treasure trove! It’s amazing to note that although the world has so drastically changed since the night Dad simultaneously pressed two buttons to record this classic film for us, so much has not. Tony’s still the Tiger, you can still have it your way at Burger King, and Oh Auntie Em, there’s still no place like home!