It's bad enough that I have to walk through Times Square eightteen times a day, to get to work,to go home from work, to go to the bank, to get coffee, to go to Duane Reade. Fighting off tourists, matinee crowds, the urge to run up to the Spring Awakening box office and spend my rent money on a week's worth of seats. Mornings are usually the most sane - the tourists are calm, and sort of cute in their breakfasting-in-Times-Square, and most of the people out are either theatre or other working folks headed to their offices or crazies straggling away from Port Authority. There's the guy walking his miniature Chewbacca dog up 43rd Street, the occasional clump of businesspeople at 43rd and Seventh having their pictures taken in front of the ginormous NASDAQ sign. Most mornings I take the 1, and come up from the platform into the Times Square station facing that big bank of Broadway and Off-Broadway ads.
It's sort of nice, the collection of so many (10? 15?) shows' posters in one place, posters I probably wouldn't otherwise see. It's where I first saw my beloved poster for The Little Dog Laughed. It's where I saw the (once) new Altar Boyz poster that was referenced in a Times article about advertising for the theatre. And yesterday it got me wondering if Will Chase might be the first person to be in two shows' posters in that bank of ads at the same time (High Fidelity, and he's the shirtless guy in the Avenue Q ad, no?)
But this morning my little 'hello, theatre world' moment was smashed to the ground, as I came up the stairs to a visual, and moral, assault.
Seems the Weisslers, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the revival of Chicago, have bought out the entire bank of ads. So first of all, the entire thing is bright red, which is not the easiest on the eyes. But then, you get a closer look, and it's a tribute to ten years of totally shameless stunt casting. Each ad has a different star's picture, name, and the year they did the show. Sure, some if it's nice enough - Michael C. Hall, Anne Reinking, Ute Lemper and her inhumanly gorgeous eyebrows - but then it's Ashlee Simpson, someone who I think is a Backstreet Boy, and I'm just feeling sick. Yes, this sort of casting is a big part of how the show has been able to stay open for ten years, but is it really something to be proud of? And so early in the morning?