Sunday, June 05, 2016


So like the good English major I was, fortunate to be still alive on this, the Bard's birthday, I decided to celebrate him by going to SHE LOVES ME, the musical I most wanted to see-- after Hamilton, of course, for which I have a ticket in June, box-office rated at a fortune that can be apparently charged legitimately when a civilization, so-called, is impressed (and guilty) enough.
      I'd forgotten to go-- rather, I hadn't looked at the ticket that was here in my apartment, until the day had passed.  To my pleasurable joy, I went today, gave them the overlooked and forgotten ticket, and they let me wait until curtain time and then let me in.
     I'd gone to the show the first time in my youth, and seen sort-of-good-friend Jack Cassidy, a genuinely gifted cad, which he often played and well, in the role of the gifted cad,-- couldn't have been much of a stretch-- he won a Tony.  I still miss Jack, as I miss all those super-talented buddies, at least I thought they were, who were my friends in those days when I thought my future was the musical theatre.  That was before Kermit Bloomgarden, who seemed at the time, the most honorable and best-respected producer in the-ah-tre, took all the money that had been raised for the musical of Mark Twain's Million Pound Note I had written with the gifted composer Phil Springer, and put it in a Mel Brooks' show that failed, across the street, (Broadway,) from where ours would have been.  I think it was called Nowhere to Go but Up, an ill-chosen and completely inaccurate title.
     You didn't sue a producer in those days, especially when he had brought you Diary of Anne Frank, and was considered a Great Man.  That was before you learned, or at least I started to, that people screwed you even when they didn't the way you wanted them to when you wanted them to.
     I note a certain note of bitterness in me, pointless and more than way overdue, pointless since almost all who are involved in my disappointments and youthful betrayals are dead, probably the best revenge of all.  Jack Cassidy, who I really loved as you loved gifted people in those eager and chubby little days, when crazy in love with the musical theatre, died quite young in his Hollywood apartment, having burned himself to death.  Alexis Smith, a gifted actress, beautiful and rarely witty, said of Jack's death, "Well, he always was flamboyant."
   So it was nice, with all this recollection,  to see SHE LOVES ME, especially since they let me in free after everyone was seated.  They found a place for me in the second row.  I imagine that Shakespeare would have been pleased that they were that considerate of a writer, even though she wasn't in his class, albeit majoring in him at Bryn Mawr.
     I need to blow a kiss, hoping it might carry into the Afterworld if there is one, to the agent who was soooo good to me in my (it really was,) youth, Bobby Helfer.  I might have written about him before, but I just want to make sure, because he was a soul like you always hope will be in the tales about Show Biz, but rarely is, because that kind of person is rare indeed.  He was the agent at MCA who signed me when I was 20, even though everyone at the agency told him not to, because he couldn't get as much money for me as someone like Les Baxter, more noted though maybe not as talented-- I really was.  I can say that with no embarrassment or fear of seeming vain, because it is as though that very young Gwen died a long time ago, the talents on which that life danced being so long unused and/or unexpressed.  But Bobby was that rare and wondrous being who did because he Believed.  
     He committed suicide on his 42nd birthday by taking 42 sleeping pills.
     Hey, Shakespeare wrote most of his great plays when he was in his twenties.  Just to take it to a lighter level.
    I am of a happier heart than I was because of Nick Corley, the great-hearted actor director who was and is so kind, who may have set me onto a more positive path.  As I said, and I hope, we shall see.  There's a morning dove in my window box as I've written more than once now.  I have a picture of her with her two eggs that I would put online if I knew how.  Tomorrow to the Apple Store.