January 4, 2009 was a very sad day on Broadway in New York City. While it is said that all good things must come to an end, does that really have to include the critically acclaimed Broadway show, Boeing Boeing? I mean this was one trip I didn’t want to end. Ever! But when the doors finally closed and the lights went to black, I was there (along with a full house) to say Buh-bye to an era of glamour and excitement so many people love to recall.
In the comedy, which is based on the movie of the same name (staring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis), an American architect living in Paris is juggling three flight attendants – I mean air hostesses – all of whom are his fiancee. How can one man juggle three different women? Easy. You make sure each woman is a stewardess from a different airline – Lufthansa, Alitalia, and TWA. Then you consult a timetable as if it were a bible, marking down each woman’s scheduled layover. Of course to make it run smoothly you must employ an overworked and disgruntled housekeeper who acts more like an air traffic controller. But when an old school chum comes into town things are turned upside down. As most of you know, schedules change and flights get delayed, resulting in turbulent chaos. That’s where the fun began.
While the simple set never changed, the talented cast took the audience on a fun filled ride. In fact, it was so much fun that I was barely conscious of the guy rustling a paper bag full of who knows what in my ear, or that my knees were practically under my chin, and that I could barely move my feet because the seating was so tight – much like a cramped middle seat in coach. Not to mention I purchased the cheap tickets that put me near the ceiling of the intimate, but ornate, Longacre theater, a beautiful theater that was built in 1913.
The talented cast gave an excellent performance. I wonder if they could imagine the impact they had on the audience that night, the night they took their very last bow. As I looked around at all the people standing and clapping enthusiastically, I couldn’t help but wonder how many actually had a connection to a particular airline. Or were they aviation enthusiasts? Or were they just there to see a good show? Probably all of the above. And like that the show was over, the lights went to bright, and we all slowly filed out of the building, Playbill in hand, and onto the cold dark streets of New York.
“Boeing Boeing is done? Over? NOOOO! ” wrote our own Gadling writer, and pilot, Kent Wien when I mentioned I had seen the very last show. “I didn’t get a chance to see it! Is it going to pop up anywhere else?”
Pop up again, it will. Boeing Boeing will be back, touring in the fall of 2009.