Fifth of July

July 5, 2011 – The first Broadway show I attended wasn’t a flashy musical, but rather a quiet comedy/drama written by Lanford Wilson appropriately named the “Fifth of July”.

The play was set in rural Missouri during the late 70s on the day after the Fourth of July. It was my first taste of professional theater, though I took drama lessons at the Society Hill Playhouse as a teen, played in many of the high school productions, and grew up down the street from a local theater, The Abby Playhouse.

My friend and I travelled to New York City and stood in line to get same day tickets for any production we could get our hands on. We both had dreams of taking Broadway by storm, and hoped that somehow by sitting in the audience someone would discover us. I don’t remember why we selected “Fifth of July”, a story about a gay paraplegic Vietnam vet, his boyfriend and his sister, but for a few hours we sat in the darkness and loved every minute.

We never did get to star in a Broadway production, but on that winter day, circa 1978-79, our love for the theater was born.

It’s hard to let a fifth of July go by without remembering that happy day.

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