An Open Letter to Jerry Mitchell

From: J. Sweetzer
Hartsdale, NY

To: Jerry Mitchell
c/o Broadway

Dear Mr. Mitchell,

Twenty-three years ago, when you first described your idea for an AIDS fundraiser, I was skeptical.  You were choreographing my local church group’s production of Anything Goes and yours truly was playing Billy.  “A bunch of nearly chiseled, well-trained dancers traipsing around the stage in elaborately ornamented states of undress,”  I thought, “who in God’s name would want to watch that!?”   

Others at St. Anastasia’s agreed.  That kind of smut might do for the Presbyterian Community Center, but for a hallowed institution like the Broadway?  No sir.

When the first year came, I thought surely this would be a flash in the pan.  At the time, of course, I had been floating around my own idea for a fundraiser called Broadway BORES,an event featuring fully-clothed, unattractive singers performing off-pitch renditions of ballads from obscure Broadway flops.  “This is what an AIDS event deserves,” I assured myself.  “Not cheap thrills, but Pathos!  Remembrance of things past!”

I prayed, and prayed, and, well truth be told, seasons changed, years passed, and hard hearts have softened.

I subscribe to a slightly different religion now.  That’s right – I have finally come to understand just what Fr. Larry meant when he called Broadway his “other” church.  He and I have been fans of Broadway Bares for a while now.  He goes more often than I, but when I can’t make it there is always the lovely aftermath of photos that flood my facebook wall.

And I mean – flood. As in wet.

So, after all this time, my hat is off to you, Mr. Mitchell.  It seems your idea born whilst teaching altar boys with two-left feet the charleston has indeed paid off.

And in regards to my facebook feed, I can’t wait to see next year’s load.

Of photos.
I mean.

J. Sweetzer.

PS.  The J. is for Jackie not Jack.
PPS. Anymore.

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