Bruce Gets Paid

Bruce Springsteen is playing a one-man show on Broadway and people are fuming over the price of a ticket. The initial face value was $75-$850. The $75 tickets are two rows in a converted balcony. It used to be where the lighting rigs were mounted. The seats are so high up that there could be an imposter on stage and you’d never know the difference. The entire run, through February, sold out instantaneously. Only secondary market tix are available at inflated prices.

Last week’s Broadway earnings report contained a wild aberration. Bruce earned $2.3 million for FIVE SHOWS. Hamilton earned $2.9 million for the week, but that was for EIGHT performances and that show has a huge cast and an orchestra. Bruce’s overhead is nonexistent. It’s him, a microphone, a guitar and a piano. He doesn’t have to share his lucre with anyone.

His base isn’t happy. Fans are incredulous. “Man of the people, my ass!,” they wail. Each night, the theater, an elegant, intimate, 900-seat Broadway house built in 1921, is stuffed to the rafters with wealthy, Caucasian, geezers.

As far as I’m concerned, Bruce gets a pass. That man spent his entire career in the service of his fans. You get your money’s worth and then some when you see him perform. He gives back. Many of his charitable deeds go unreported. He’s in the sunset of his career. If he wants to take a victory lap on Broadway and charge a lot of money, that’s his due.

My wife and I saw the show last Friday. I can’t afford a ticket and wouldn’t pay $850 even if could. I got tickets via the only option available to the hoi polloi; I won the daily ticket lottery. And when I say ‘won,’ I don’t me we got free tickets. Winning the daily lottery entitles you to buy a pair of tickets for $75 each. They were nice seats! Mezzanine! The gentleman sitting next to us paid $400 for his tickets from StubHub, so $75 is a bargain.

It’s billed as ‘written and directed’ by Bruce, but I’m pretty sure he had help from someone who knows a thing or two about theater. The pacing was good, the blocking was smart and the transitions were well-placed. He’d move from guitar to piano when he needed to change a scene or move the story forward. There were equal parts story-telling and singing. The songs were stripped bare. If Born in the U.S.A. had been originally sung the way it is in this show–mournful and slow with a slide and a 12-string guitar–it never would’ve been mistaken for a jingoistic anthem.

End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

The crowd initially mistook it for a concert. They were whooping and making a ruckus. It’s not that kind of show. It’s a quiet show. There’s a lot of dialogue. Bruce can deliver a line and has surprisingly adroit comedic timing. As soon as the show settled into a groove, people quieted down.

His wife came out and sang two songs with him. That section felt superfluous and wedged-in. It interrupted the flow. He could easily cut her out, streamline the show and keep more of the till for himself. But then, he couldn’t go home at night.

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I took my daughters to the local botanical garden. These were taken with my iPhone. It has a duel lens that allows for close-ups. I took about 80 shots to get these eight that I like. You couldn’t do that before the digital age. Remember when you had 16 shots and you had to make each one count?

Does anyone know what kind of beetle this is?

Deep Cut Gardens was once the home of New York mob boss Vito Genovese. He bought the house and surrounding property as a quiet respite from his busy business affairs in the city. He ran afoul of the law and the property was taken by the government. The house is now a welcoming center and the grounds are meticulously maintained. One wonders how they arrived at the name ‘deep cut.’ Vito’s favorite negotiating tool?