A rare night at the theater

By Joe Rector

Amy and I had the opportunity to see “White Christmas” at the Tennessee Theater not long ago. I’m not much for musicals, but this show is different. The cast and orchestra did a commendable job of presenting one of the most loved shows for the Christmas season. Other sights during the evening made the event even more enjoyable.

As is the case with many events at the Tennessee Theater, the audience was overpowered by heads of gray hair. Some folks had poured the dye to their heads to hide the gray, but the fact is that most of us “older folks” were the ones who put behinds in the seats.

It’s always interesting to watch senior citizens at an event. Some come in gangs and keep together during the evening. They enjoy the ride to the show as much as the event itself. Many times, the group is dominated by women who must have outlived their husbands; maybe their mates chose not to attend the show, but whatever the reason, women are there in bunches. They seem happier than most others. The secret to that is they have learned to relax and enjoy life more than the rest of us.

The hallways of the theater don’t accommodate many folks at once. Dodging people is necessary to reach the right entrance and seat. Every time I found myself in the foyer, the place was packed. What’s so exasperating is the some just have no regard for others. They dawdle and make no move to get out of the flow of traffic. Groups that decided to meet after the show clogged the traffic flow by standing in the middle of the hallways. They waited in the same place until the last member of their group arrived.

At intermission, two things stood out. First, patrons acted like gunslingers and were quick on the draw to retrieve their phones. They sent texts, checked emails and phone messages, and snapped “selfies” that Amy said helped them to memorialize the show. I can do that by just remembering the evening and letting my mind fill in events any way it wants to.

The second thing I noticed was how many folks yawned. The show began a little after 7 p.m. and ran about 2 ½ hours. I suppose that many were sitting through their bed time as the show ran. I yawned, and that made Amy yawn, which in turn made me yawn again. By the time we got home, it was well past bed time and dreaded having to rise at 6 a.m. to get ready for work. However, losing a little sleep was a small price to pay for such an enjoyable time.

The best thing I saw that evening was my wife. She makes no effort to hide her love of musicals. This one was special to her. Her face lit up with a smile when she heard the orchestra warm up. When the dance numbers began, she changed; the little girl in her came out as she sat mesmerized. Right then, I knew the night had been a success, no matter what else might have been a distraction.

Amy and I enjoyed one of the few nights that we go out for a special event. I admit that during the show I looked for Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. Still, “White Christmas” was a wonderful musical for Knoxville folks. It brought out the holiday spirit a bit early, and more importantly, it brought out the little girl in my wonderful wife. Bravo!

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