My Fair Turkey

Jennifer George wrote an op-ed in the New York Times a few weeks ago about a show her father produced and her mother co-wrote called Via Galactica. It closed in seven days. That’s really bad. George talks about watching what’s going on with Spiderman and remembering how devastating the demise of Via Galactica was in her home.

That set me to thinking. Theater people are great. They’re loving and emotional and support each other through thick and thin. They also like nothing better than watching someone else’s show go down in flames. It’s like seeing a car accident at the side of the road, you feel bad but you figure the odds just got a little better for getting home safely. Statistically it’s false but as Mae West never said, statistics have nothing to do with it.

Howard taught me a dopey game once – you may already know it. Take a Broadway show, any show, and substitute the word turkey for one of the words.

Like for instance, My Fair Turkey Or Sweeney Todd, the Demon Turkey of Fleet Street Maybe even Little Shop of Turkeys

You see where I'm going here.

My point being that Howard was as open to the evil giggles of theater folk as anyone else. He was also open to the pain of bad reviews and defeat of untimely closings – it happened with Rosewater and it happened with Smile.

After Howard died, his life partner, Bill Lauch and I produced a review of Howard’s work. It was a labor of love – produced by the WPA Theatre (home of the original Little Shop of Horrors) and directed by the wildly talented (and now wildly successful) Michael Mayer.

It was called Hundred of Hats and the reviews were merciless. We might just as well have called the thing Hundreds of Turkeys.

So Jennifer George, thank you. You reminded me to turn a blind eye to the travails of Spiderman’s limp to Broadway. I’m going to take the high road and not snicker at the rumors of problems large and small, dopey and dangerous. I’m going to wish them a long run with no accidents and great reviews.

And then I’m going to get someone interested in a revival of Smile. And Rosewater. And maybe even Hundreds of Turkeys…er, Hats. Because sometimes rumors are stupid and even reviewers get it wrong.