Goodnight Oscar!

We have been having a busy week when it comes to going out.

It is a good idea to be prudent and yet, with the Coronavirus where it currently is, we are so sick and tired of all of this. The thought keeps running through my mind that we are doing too much. Yet, I guess we are making up for lost time. At the same time, I keep hearing of more people falling ill to the disease. Luckily, thanks to vaccinations, the cases are mild.

Speaking of lost time, we had put together a trip to Santa Fe that we ‘lost’ when we didn’t take it. It resurfaced and we rebooked. We had thought it lost and somehow it was not. We rebooked it for later this week and today, when we asked Alexa for the news, news of wildfires in New Mexico surfaced. Now we are in a quandary as to what we should do and it looks as if dropping the trip again is going to happen. It did. We unbooked everything and hope to try again later this year.

So yesterday, we went into the city to see Sean Hayes in his role playing Oscar Levant, the troubled pianist/comedian/brilliant interviewee. It brought back great memories of a different time period as I remembered Jack Paar and his work on the Tonight Show.

I had seen the commercials for the show. Sean Hayes mentioned being thrilled to play the role of his life. We found out some interesting things about Sean, his Chicago suburban roots, his studies at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn, then at Illinois State University where he studied piano (and left several classes short of a diploma), then to his music directorship at the Pheasant Run in St. Charles, Illinois. He had worked as a classical pianist, something that came in handy as he played Oscar Levant.

Sean was spectacular as he played a very disturbed, yet brilliant man,  an admirer and friend of George Gershwin. The play details the famous interview of Gershwin by Jack Paar when he moved the Tonight Show from New York City to Los Angeles. Oscar’s life was one with serious mental ups and downs and addictions to painkillers. He was also very outspoken and was clearly saying things that were not allowed on television in those days. He talked of his struggles, even mentioned the electric shock treatments.

The play had a very limited number of cast members. They all did a great job. Sean was treated, at the end, with a standing ovation that was clearly well deserved. It is worth the masking, vaccination check and the other rigmarole that accompanies the, hopefully post-Pandemic time we live in.

About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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