A couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending the opening night performance of the new Broadway musical If/Then. The show stars Idina Menzel, LaChanze and Anthony Rapp. If you’re the musical theater type, you can understand what a cool cast that is. If you’re not, just keep reading because it’s about to get supremely bitchy up in here. After the show, I went to the opening night party that was held at the Edison Ballroom. There was free food, celebrities and an open bar, so you know I was happy. There were also a lot of cater waiters who were the exact opposite of happy. Never have I seen such a discontented group of servers and it made my heart break every time I took another chocolate tart from a passing tray or asked for yet another glass of champagne. It’s hard to work a party like that because most of those servers were probably actors who were dreaming of the day they could be at their own opening night party for a Broadway show instead of slicing up roasted turkey and refilling chafing dishes with mac and cheese.
“What time does this party end?” I asked one of the bartenders.
“I’m not even sure. Either 1:00 or 2:00. Hopefully 1:00.”
“Gee, that sucks,” I replied “So, can I please have another champagne?”
I drank enough champagne to feel that it was okay to introduce myself to LaChanze, Idina and various other cast members who were all very nice to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and thought the cast was phenomenal. The story is unique and original and should be given special consideration since it is not based on a movie, TV show or book as so many other musicals are these days. (Don’t leave me, peeps. I will get bitchy in a minute.) You have to pay attention to what is happening in the show because it’s not spoon-fed to you. Some audience members don’t like to think when they see theater, so the show has turned off some people.
I read the reviews and overall, they were mixed, but most people pointed out the strong performance by Idina Menzel. One review, however, came up on my newsfeed a few days ago and it was decidedly bad. It was written by Rex Reed, a man that most of you have never heard of. He has been writing reviews since the late 1800’s and was more widely known in the 1970’s and 80’s. As of late, he tends to pop up on the Internet when his review is especially harsh. Most recently, in his review of Identity Thief in 2013, he referenced Melissa McCartney’s weight referring to her as “tractor-sized,” “humongous.” “obese,” and “a hippo.” For the review of If/Then he set his target on Idina Menzel. He said when she sings her songs she “screams them all with a metallic voice that sounds like a fork beating the side of a pan” and that there is “endless screeching” and that she is “a bad singer” and then refers to her “catastrophic caterwauling on this years’s Oscar show.” (She was the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen and sang the Oscar-winning song “Let it Go.”) He even calls her career “mystifying.” It’s almost as if Rex Reed writes certain reviews with an intentional mean streak just so he can get his article talked about and shared on social media. I get it. I do the same thing, Mr. Reed.
The day after I read the review, a man came into my section who I thought looked like an older, fatter, puffier version of Rex Reed. I figured that I must have Rex Reed on the brain, which is a horrible thing to have, but as I approached the table, I realized it was in fact an older, fatter, puffier Rex Reed, right here in the flesh, albeit saggy, wrinkled and foundation-covered.
“Can it be?” I thought? “Do I really get to wait on Rex Reed right after reading his scathing, mean-spirited review of a show I quite enjoyed? Will I get to take my experience with him and tun it into a blog post filled with my personal opinions of Rex Reed? Why, yes, I do.” Just as he is entitled to his opinion about If/Then and Idina Menzel, I am entitled to my opinion about Rex Reed. And here it is:
He looks nothing like I recall him appearing on The Gong Show in 1977. He looks like a bloated old goat who has been blistering in the sun too long. His glasses are as big as he thinks Melissa McCartney’s ass is which gives the impression that he is the love child of Carol Channing and Mr. Magoo. An ascot, Mr. Reed? Really? Who do you think you are, Charles Nelson Riley? According to Wikipedia, he was arrested for shoplifting in 2000 when he walked out of a Tower Records with three CD’s in his pocket, which makes me think of Yanna Avis, another customer I have come in contact with who is also a very mean person who was arrested for shoplifting. Wikipedia also tells me that he is good friends with Liz Smith who was sitting with Elke Krivat the night she sat in my station and walked out her check. I wonder if Rex, Yanna and Liz ever sit around and talk about their circle of criminal friends. Rex Reed did not leave me a tip even though his check was comped. Unless he left it on the table and someone else stole it, the man left me absolutely nothing except the smell of mothballs and suppressed farts. He seemed full of himself which could either be taken that he is conceited or needed to take a huge dump. I vote dump. I hope I don’t have to ever serve him again, but it was nice to have something to write about today. Hmm, I wonder of I can get him to come and review my show?
Again, this is just my opinion…