Dame Edna Lights Up Broadway
with Calevenson and P13!
 
  Rarely have I been in the presence of royalty, and with my lack of couth, it is just as well. I had a business dinner once in London with a very minor Duke but he probably has been beheaded by now for having being seen in public with a German. They are still touchy about the war.

However, Carol (Calevenson) and I went to see "Dame Edna Everage:  The Royal Tour" at the little tucked-away Booth Theater on Broadway during our NY sojourn, on Sunday afternoon Nov. 21st, 1999. It was my idea and I think Carol was at first apprehensive, thinking I had lost my mind about wanting to attend what some might call a drag show. This is no ordinary or typical drag show. No Judy Garland imitations or Marilyn Monroe take-offs. Quite the contrary.

Barry Humphries, who plays Dame Edna, has put together a most hilarious, highly witty and inventive show that, except for a brief 15 minute intermission, goes non-stop for 2 1/2 hours, with several musical numbers that tax Dame Ednaís vocal cords to the max. Isolde material she is not. I donít think I laughed so hard in years. I was weak when it was over. Only Victor Borge gets me into such a state, with his take-off on Rigoletto.

This show so enthralled us that we decided to see another matinee the day before Thanksgiving, and this time we dragged Norris along with us. He knew of Dame Edna from his time in England and was enthusiastic to see the show. Little did he know that he would witness the Broadway debut of Calevenson and Parsifal13. Our tickets were in the second row, on the aisle. A deadly location, as we found out.

Dame Edna involves the audience in her skits, asking them questions, "how many came by cab...oh, such a large number...it is amazing so many people know the Arabic for Booth Theater", commenting on the fact that they donít dress up "that looks like a bag with a hole in it", and she invites two "lucky" audience members to a lunch, served on stage. Carol and P13 were selected to have lunch. Carol wanted to die. If she could have, she would have fled the city to avoid doing this. But I prevailed and up on the stage we went when called (we have pictures to prove it). Dame Edna is frightening up close and personal, but we soon found ourselves being the brunt of her jokes, "use your napkin dear, we don't want you to get any MORE stains on your dress", and enjoying a pasta lunch - I asked for cheese, much to Dame Edna's chagrin, but didn't get any - and I offered Dame Edna my handkerchief when she found out that Carol had cats, the thought of which made her pretend to be nauseous. At one point, Dame Edna has a phone brought out and she puts through a call to an audience memberís babysitter. When Dame Edna came over to sit and chat, and told us about her daughter-in-law and son Kenny, Carol asked her if she wanted to call the cats. The audience was roaring, and Dame Edna suggested Carol get her own show.

Her finale involves throwing armfuls of gladioli, her favorite flower, to the audience and then getting us to stand (a standing ovation) and join her in a song. It was a truly grand finale to a truly memorable afternoon. I would go back again tomorrow to see her if I could.

P13, Broadway Star

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