"Though lovers be lost, love shall not."
-- Dylan Thomas ( Welsh poet 1914-1953)
It is said that Paris is the city of light... yet, when you look at New York, and at the part that is Manhattan, this is indeed a city of lights; and the place where the lights blaze the strongest is on Broadway. It is also said that this Broadway is the longest street in the world, about 13 miles long. The Dutch called it "Breede Weg," and then, many years later, it was named Broadway.
Today, Broadway is the heart of the American theatre world and industry. There is no place like it anywhere in the world. Great lit-up marquis adorn the many theaters in bold letters of the play or the musical and its performers. Some have world-famous names, others are the newcomers to the arena. This arena holds the much-discussed, cultural hubbub of this city.
One cannot imagine New York without it and, as Frank Sinatra sang, famously, "If I make it there, I'm gonna make it anywhere." Every night, these great theater offerings are filled with people anticipating what is being said, sung and displayed. People come to be entertained... knowing that the performers who are giving them a timeout of their daily lives have also worked hard for many years giving their talent, their creativity. It is often blood, sweat and tears, and it takes deep financing to be able to be part of this grand vision.
The offerings are endless, often shifting from great events, great theaters and great musicals to smaller venues and out-of-the-way offerings. The world is a stage! All demand attention and much thought -- some fall to dashed hopes, costly decisions go awry, yet are again rekindled by great acts of courage and extraordinary talents... they try and do it over and over again.
The crescendo of the White Way are the musicals. The audience becomes astutely aware of different trends... and the emotions of their seat-neighbors. They know how much work has gone into what they paid to see. They dressed for the occasion... and pay respect and attention to the performers; after all, they have worked hard to fulfill the demands and dreams of a particular role... the least the audience can do is play their part and pay attention.
One of the latest musical theater offerings is Dr. Zhivago. The great novel by Boris Pasternak (Russian 1890 - 1960) and has been transformed onto the stage in a most moving, intelligent, comprehensive way. This great historical novel presented as a musical has been in the eyes and hearts of the producers Anita Waxman and Tom Dokton for many years.
Much of the story is beautifully recreated on this Broadway theater stage. The demanding part of Dr. Zhivago is played by Tam Mutu, a most accomplished English actor; his vast experience of stage, language, singing and acting is clearly ingrained in his character of Yurii Zhivago. Lovable, poetic, sincere, dedicated as his character is evident; he has the ability to move the audience to tears at times, and also brings it to the edge of their seats. Asked how he sees the American audience vis-à-vis the English one... Tam acknowledges:
I find the audience vocal, refreshingly witty and warm. The support is palatable, and every night this feeling becomes part of the piece. The adrenalin is flowing. I read the novel early, as well as the script, familiarized myself with the part.
The script changed slightly, yet the story written so long ago, is still relevant today. Every day I prepare for the part, stay fit, no smoking, no drinking and living in Manhattan is an extraordinary experience. It was my dream to act on Broadway... and am thrilled to be part of it.
I love coming to the Broadway Theater every day, to work with my acting partner, the acting team and all the support I find behind the stage and in front.
His acting partner is Kelli Barrett playing the character of Lara Guishar, the love in his life. The play is about the loss of all he ever loved through these terrible circumstances of the Russian Revolution, yet it is also the great love story of Yurii and Lara. It seems love survives it all. Kelli, as Lara, speaks of her preparation for this demanding role:
I keep a copy of the book and the script on my dressing table, and read in it every day. It is a very ambitious play, one cannot play it safe. We have a most creative team and the support is present every day. It is an exciting pace...
I reflect on the story and it is a voice for an entire nation. Art has the responsibility to reflect. Since I was a little girl I dreamed of being an actress, of being on stage and feel that the art-form has chosen me, to modulate, to shape a part. Now I have the chance and am most excited and also happy to be part of this team.
Just two voices of the hundreds who express themselves and the gift they bring to the audiences, filled with joy, great talent, hard work and the great experience to realize their dreams. Aren't we lucky to have this great White Way at our fingertips, knowing how much it is admired and at times reviled... yet, it is so much a part the lifeblood of this great City?
"Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods."
-- Plato (Greek philosopher 428 BC - 348 BC)