A Playbill for The Music Man is held up in front of a stage

Pop Culture Incorporated: …and That Stands for Patience

Oh, we got trou­ble. Or at least we have for the past two years as COVID has impact­ed near­ly every aspect of all our lives.

But as always, a sil­ver lin­ing is start­ing to become clear. Or in this case, I guess, a brass lin­ing – com­plete with 76 trom­bones lead­ing the big parade, with 110 cor­nets close at hand.

In 2019, our Broad­way-obsessed fam­i­ly scored open­ing-week­end tick­ets to what was set to be the hottest show to hit the Great White Way in years: “The Music Man,” star­ring Hugh Jack­man and Sut­ton Fos­ter. New York, here we come!

Not so fast. Open­ing week­end, orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled for Octo­ber 2020, got post­poned again. And again. The lights went out on Broad­way, then flick­ered on and off for near­ly two years.

We bought the tick­ets when our youngest was nine years old. She’s almost 12.

We knew there would be a day when all the stars aligned and we could head to New York, but we didn’t know when that would be. So we used the much-antic­i­pat­ed and oft-moved show as a light at the end of the COVID tun­nel, remind­ing our kids (and our­selves) that when the cur­tain did ulti­mate­ly rise on “The Music Man,” and we were sit­ting in the audi­ence as the orches­tra swelled, it meant we were get­ting clos­er to what we hope is the end of the long pandemic.

We dis­cussed our some­day trip often, espe­cial­ly when cas­es surged at the end of 2021 and we retreat­ed back into our bubble.

It was a les­son that res­onat­ed, and gave us plen­ty of prac­tice in being patient, help­ing us all remem­ber how the jour­ney is as impor­tant as the destination.

Last week­end, we final­ly took the kids to New York – their first plane trip since the pan­dem­ic began – and rev­eled in the expe­ri­ence of being in the audi­ence for open­ing weekend.

Mered­ith Will­son even includ­ed a nod to patience in the show, in words writ­ten 65 years before the first COVID case appeared: “We all have to be a lit­tle patient,” Mar­i­an coun­seled Amaryl­lis, who was wait­ing for what seemed like for­ev­er for her beloved Winthrop to speak to her.

She could have been talk­ing direct­ly to us.

It took much longer than we’d antic­i­pat­ed, but it real­ly was all the sweet­er because of the wait. Sit­ting in the Win­ter Gar­den The­atre and clutch­ing our Play­bills, the thun­der of rolling drums and the shim­mer of trum­pets her­ald­ed a new begin­ning, after two years of darkness.

Those 76 trom­bones sound­ed like hope.

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