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Part One: New York City

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The first time I visited New York City must have been 1981. I thought it was the late 1970s, but the shows I remembered seeing, all happened in 1981. Thanks to the internet, it's pretty easy to verify when a Broadway production happened.

I was part of a Moorhead State college theatre tour, and we all rode on a bus for 19 hours to reach New York City. Taking 19 hours to travel anywhere should probably be prohibited. The hotel we stayed at was dimly lit, especially in the corridors, which was a good thing because we couldn't clearly see the vermin scurrying down the hall.

I saw The Pirates of Penzance with an impressive Kevin Kline playing the Pirate King. Oh, those boots! Barnum with Jim Dale, but not Glenn Close, because she had left the show a few days before. And, although I didn't see the play Lunch Hour, with Gilda Radner and Sam Waterston, I did wait at the stage door with other fans of Gilda and when she emerged (with an apple in her mouth) I handed her a postcard which she autographed.

I was walking down the street, right in front of my hotel when I physically bumped into Donald Sutherland. He was wearing a winter army type jacket, with the fur lined hood. It's possible it was the same one he wore in the movie M*A*S*H, because it looked just like it. When I looked up and recognized a movie star, I immediately blurted out, "Oh! I really liked you in Animal House!" He gave me a questioning look, said "thank you" and walked away. He was in Animal House you know. He played the professor who lowers the shades in his house to get a few students stoned, and then later, he sleeps with one of them. (Boon's girlfriend Katy) It's a fairly small role, and in his final scene, he's walking away from the camera, wearing only a sweater and when he lifts his arms it exposes his naked butt.

Animal House was an odd film for me to mention, considering Ordinary People was playing in the theaters at that time and he was considered a frontrunner for an Oscar nomination. I hope he was flattered, rather than creeped out.

We also saw an Off-Broadway show at La Mama. I can't remember the name of it, but it was experimental and challenging. The ride home was so much worse than the ride there, it seemed to take forever, and the mood was somber. On our way to New York City, we had our trip to look forward to, and students were happy and would sing New York, New York, or On Broadway. On our way back, the only thing we had to look forward to was a ridiculously cold windchill, and no one sang at all.

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