In my humble opinion

June is bustin’ out all over!

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 6/21/22

For something completely different, there’s a song in my cold, black heart. This time, the culprits are Rodgers and Hammerstein, the dynamic duo that dominated the Great White Way for decades …

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In my humble opinion

June is bustin’ out all over!

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For something completely different, there’s a song in my cold, black heart. This time, the culprits are Rodgers and Hammerstein, the dynamic duo that dominated the Great White Way for decades with smash hits like “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music,” to name but a few.

 “March went out like a lion

Awakin’ up the water in the bay;

Then April cried and stepped aside,

And along came pretty little May!”

So sings the character Nettie Fowler in the musical “Carousel,” which, as I recall, I didn’t care for. According to the Google, the musical was written in 1945 and adapted from Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play “Liliom,” transplanting its Budapest setting to the Maine coastline.

I don’t remember much of the show, save for this flowery song, which somewhat accurately describes what’s been happening in the Upper Delaware River region:

“May was full of promises

But she didn’t keep ‘em quickly enough for some

And the crowd of doubtin’ Thomases

Was predictin’ that the summer’d never come.”

As of this past Tuesday, summer is officially here, and I’m unsure how I feel about it. After two-plus years of “sheltering” at home during the height of the pandemic, I realized a few things. First of all, I’m not as much of a “people person” as previously thought; I could easily become a hermit. Hiding from the outside world became a way of life—and I didn’t hate it.

Secondly, following a years-long health scare, followed by a reprieve, the words “life is short” take on new meaning. I’ve lost too many friends and a bit of myself in the process, and find that I’m a little dazed and confused as I attempt to navigate the “new normal” while trying to make sense of it all.

Everywhere I went last week, I heard folks saying that there’s almost “too much to do,” and one look at the River Reporter’s calendar section proves that statement. Oh, sure, I get it. We’ve all been cooped up for ages and want to put the past behind us, move forward and make hay while the sun shines, but a part of me hears words from another song echoing in my poor addled brain. This time, it’s a different dynamic duo, Simon and Garfunkel, who advise with these simple lyrics, “Slow down, you move too fast, you got to make the morning last.”

In the last week alone, I’ve been to a gay pride festival in Callicoon, made a pit stop at the Deep Water Literary Festival in Narrowsburg, followed by a Spanish-language version of the “Wizard of Oz”—“El Otro Oz”—in Forestburgh, all fairly close to home in Sullivan County. It was a desperate attempt to save on gas.

Too much? Maybe. And since “it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings,” as Barbara Fox was fond of saying, I take  rapid-result at-home COVID-19 tests once a week, because I’ll be damned if it’s gonna catch me now.

The weather was less than cooperative for Callicoon’s  somewhat dreary Gay Pride, but I put a sweatshirt on the dog (don’t judge!) and hit the streets for a few hours, encountering some friends and a few drag queens along the way, which made me smile. I mean really, who doesn’t love a festively attired drag queen? I know Dharma does, and so do I.

According to my sources, and weather notwithstanding, the Literary Festival (inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”) was a phenomenal success. I was able to catch a small portion of it at the Digital Gallery at the Narrowsburg Union, where I was immersed in “The Other.” That was an interactive audio/visual installation, in which actors read the letters of Capt. Robert Walton to his sister Margaret Saville. He described his travels, including his encounter with Victor Frankenstein.

After filling the tank while gently weeping, I gassed up my broomstick, steered toward Forestburgh and the newly imagined bilingual (Broadway-bound?) version of “Oz,” which was visually exciting and cleverly conceived. In this incarnation, Dorothy is Dora, who is swept away from her unwanted quinceañera, where she encounters brujas (witches) a female wizard, a mountain lion, a scarecrow stuffed with pages from the dictionary and an “iron chef”—familiar characters with a Spanish-language twist. Muy interesante, but the score could use some work, in my humble opinion.

With so much to do in the next few months, I’ll have to make choices as summer plays out, but as La Bruja says (in English) “These things must be handled delicately.” Meanwhile, June is bustin’ out all over.

Fun Fact: Why do they call it the Great White Way?

The nickname “The Great White Way” was inspired by all the electric white lights on the theatre marquees and billboard signs that illuminated the area. By the 1920s, the spectacle that was Times Square had become famous, and the Great White Way nickname became known worldwide.

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