Friday, July 2, 2010
at 4:02 PM Posted by BCHysteria
Two weeks ago my mom made the shocking revelation that she got tickets for my entire family to go see Johnny Baseball the "Red Sox Musical". It was going to be a combination family outing, and gift for my father for father's day. I was a little confused, because though my dad isn't archaic, he isn't a musical theatre type that would want to see something like this. My mom was really excited to see my dads reaction when we surprised him with the tickets, what she got instead was a look of horror from him. "Is this going to be another one of those plays where guys wear spandex baseball uniforms and dance around with bats?" my dad said (I cleaned up what he said so I don't offend anyone who may come across this). I am very open to seeing theatre, so what the hell I thought, let's give it a shot. If you are actually going to see this show, and don't want to know what happens please stop reading now.
The show opens with like 8 people sitting in Fenway Park during the middle of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. Judging from their accents, the director wanted to make them all sound like every Boston stereotype, "GO GET EM' SAWX! THIS IS WICKED DEPRESSIN'! OH MAI GAWD DOOD MANNY ". You know stuff like that. And of course every word that ends with "R" turns to "ah". Stuff every stupid Boston stereotype into one scene and basically thats what you have (though if you sit in the Bleachers the author may not be that far off). Not bad to start, the people are kind of funny, I got a kick out of hearing Tanyon Sturtze and Paul Quantrill referenced. But that is about as far as the "Red Sox Musical" got with me. During this scene one of the kids is talking to an old black man about the game, and the Curse of the Bambino (you know that stupid crap CHB made up to sell books), and the old man says that there really wasn't a curse, but another one that has plagued the Sox.
The story then flashes back to 1919 and a fictional player Johnny O'Neil, who makes it to the big time with a twinkle in his eye (vomits on my seat) and his head in the clouds. He meets Babe Ruth, who likes to drink his ass off, and frankly is the only interesting character in the show, and O'Neil goes out boozing with him. He meets a black girl when he makes the Sox, and guess what? BAD THEATRE CLICHE #1: THEY CAN'T BE TOGETHER! Oh how original! Well she breaks his heart, THEN guess what? He loses his fastball! Oh the irony! The two of them sing all sorts of love songs for what seems like 30 minutes, and has nothing to do with baseball, and at this point I'm wondering "What the hell does this have to do with the Red Sox"? At intermission even my mom was going "guys we don't need to sit through this, do you want to leave?" But being the trooper I am, I wanted to finish what I started.
The show continues to cut to the 2004 game, where different cast members sing songs about why the Sox have to win the pennant. I need to have a baby! Its Superstition! Good lord stop. Just when the show gets "interesting" enough to catch my attention, they go back to 1919 and pour on more of that cliched musical cheese. Cut ahead 30 years, and O'Neil is a coach, and he tries out a black boy on a recommendation of dying drunk Ruth. Here you go kids, guess who this young black boy is? BAD THEATRE CLICHE #2: IT'S HIS SON! He tries out for the Red Sox, but because everyone in Boston hates black people, he and Willie Mays are rejected (not before they do a whole song and dance together). They cut to the Green Monster, and the black boy, who CURSES BOSTON, why? BECAUSE WE HATE BLACK PEOPLE! At this point, I have rolled my eyes so much my head hurts, but it gets better... Cut back to 2004, old black guy who has been narrating to the kid, to no ones surprise reveals he is that black kid, and lifts the curse just in time for David Ortiz to get the game winning hit. End of show. Thank god.
This show has very little to do with the Red Sox and more to do with traditional musical crap that you can see in just about any other show. If I wanted to see a traditional show, I would have gone to see Jersey Boys or RENT or whatever, but they advertised it as the "Red Sox Musical" so idiot as I am, I wanted to try it. I know Musicals are heavy on the predictability and dancing, but when you put the Red Sox, my favorite sports moment of all time, and my team in it, I expected more. I don't want to rip the actors that badly, because they all did a good job given the horrid script and lines that were written for them. Also, the leading woman, who for some reason disappeared for the entire second act, hurt her leg and was bound to a chair for the whole show. I feel sort of guilty ripping this show, which I did last night on Twitter, because its pretty clear the ART reads these things (heck they even apologized to me via Twitter) But my family spent alot of money for 6 seats, and left feeling like we had wasted three hours of our lives. Oh well, I guess thats what happens when you go to the theatre.