I came close to attending opening night of The Bridges of Madison County by myself tonight. On the same day that I tried desperately (and failed) to buy tickets to Hamilton in Chicago the very minute they were released for a show months from now, I practically had to beg somebody – anybody – to see Bridges with me tonight. What gives?
What is it about musicals (and probably live theater in general) that still make the average Minnesotan think long and hard about whether it’s worth their time? Part of me had hoped that with the explosive popularity of Hamilton over the last year, more people would re-evaluate musical theater with an open mind. Unfortunately, it seems perhaps the Hamilton hype just created herd mentality surrounding that single (albeit based on the soundtrack, spectacular) show.
But there’s so much more out there than Hamilton (and Book of Mormon, and Lion King, and the other blockbuster musicals that are flocked to). Perhaps they’re not as popular, or award-winning, or genre-bending, but they’re still powerful, immersive experiences that can’t be beat by another night of Netflix bingeing.
So I’m excited to see Bridges tonight, even though I’ve never seen the movie (from 1995 starring Meryl Streep), or read the book. I know very little about the plot (an Iowan housewife gets swept up in a whirlwind 4-day romance with a traveling photographer – why he’s in Iowa, I have no idea), but I have no doubt that it will be an enjoyable and enriching experience. (And as 2014 Tony Awards® winner for Best Score, I’m guessing the soundtrack will soon be on my playlist.) Instead of following up after the show with a post that tells you how much I enjoyed the show (let’s face it, I basically love every show I’ve ever seen), I’ll just encourage you now to re-think any skepticism you may have for musicals and give Bridges a try along with me. The new season of Orange Is The New Black can wait another night.
The Bridges of Madison County opens for the first time in Minneapolis tonight at the Orpheum Theatre and runs through Sunday, June 26. Details and tickets are available here.
P.S. All that said, I will not rest until I have tickets to Hamilton in hand, one way or another. I’ll only stop at selling vital organs. Kidney negotiable.