In between bites, I replay for him my first time seeing Next to Normal, the 11-time Tony-nominated stunner he penned with lyricist/librettist Brian Yorkey. I tried to explain, unfortunately, none too eloquently — it was close to 1 AM after all, and I did have a mouth full of pizza — how profound I thought the show was and how I wept openly (and perhaps over dramatically) to the dismay of the patrons sitting next to me. Sadly, that's a true story.
So, how did I end up here?
Let me start from the beginning. I tagged along with Tom's manager, John Buzzetti, to see Tom's band play (aptly named The Tom Kitt Band) at The Bitter End. Being a fan of his tunes, and wanting to prove that I am cool enough to frequent a bar past 10 PM on a Monday night, I went. The band rocked the house, and yes, they broke out several tunes from Next to Normal and High Fidelity. Tom especially blew me away. There was a moment when I swear he was channeling a younger Billy Joel (minus a few pounds and plus some hair). He just ripped the piano apart! Constantine Maroulis seemed to agree — he was sitting a few seats away, head bopping, hands drumming to the music.
And what better way to follow up a good night of tunes than with a good ol' slice of pizza? Which leads me back to the after-midnight greasy pizza session.
Moral of the story is…New York is filled to the brim with opportunities to see Broadway's best in their "natural habitat." You just need to know where to look. I think it's very cool that a downtown crowd (like the one that frequents The Bitter End) could rock it out to Broadway tunes, and many not even realize they are doing it. Hopefully some of those rockers from last night will make their way up to our midtown shores to see some shows. The shows can be just as rocking, but the pizza isn't as good.
For more on The Tom Kitt Band, check out their website.