“LOVE BLOOMS ON BROADWAY”
Savannah meets Orlando
PROLOGUE – 2001
At the tender age of seven, my daughter, Savannah, fell in love with an Elf.
Creamy complexion, blonde tresses, spiked ears – Legolas, (Orlando Bloom) of “Lord of the Rings,” launched a lifelong fantasy.
As Orlando Bloomed from Tolkein sprite to strapping male specimen, Savannah, blossomed into teenaged beauty and her obsession deepened. Her Room of Bloom, movie marathons and her unrequited tweets of “Be Mine,” – were soon to be rewarded in Tolkein-esque spades.
I understood her. In the early stages of my still active Paul McCartney addiction, I, with Carmen, my BFF (and misguided Ringo fan) staged a Main St. Cinema sit-in. Two tickets chained us from matinee to midnight, mesmerized by multiple screenings of our madcap “Hard Days Night.”
Once upon a time, a withered old crone appeared to Savannah, with golden coins and keys to a magical kingdom. “On your 19th birthday,” said the crone (aka her mother) we embark on a journey to magically transform your icon into flesh and blood.
Scene: Richard Rogers Theater, Broadway, NY. “Romeo and Juliet” starring Orlando Bloom as Romeo 3rd row center
Savannah: “Can we wait outside for him afterward? Do you think he’ll see me? I should’ve worn my prom dress. “
Crone: It’s a matinee, not a formal cotillion. Yes. The stage door. Shhh…it’s starting.
Romeo (Orlando Bloom) blasts onstage on a motorcycle and rips off helmet. I glance sideways, to ensure Savannah has maintained consciousness.
Shakespeare’s lyrical language. Orlando/Romeo’s boyish smile. The young Paul McCartney.
“For never was there a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” Finis.
Applause. Cast bows.
Announcer: For Broadway Cares, charities for Aids and Breast Cancer, we’re selling signed posters for $100 in the lobby.
Crone: “I’ll get you one of those.”
Savannah: “You don’t have to.”
Announcer: Just today, a live charity auction – and the winner gets Orlando’s shirt, signed – AND gets to take it off him.
Oohs, ahhs and giggles fill the room.
“Start at $200. $200. Do I hear $300.”
I’ve witnessed, but never bid in auctions.
I smell Savannah’s Apricot shampoo. She appears to have donned a cloak of invisibility.
My heart involuntarily lifts my hand – “500.”
I hear an echo – $700!
I see her room – the collage of photos. My hand bolts up.
A competitor bids “1,200.”
Oh God, the American Express bill is already…
‘DO I HEAR $1,500?”
I’ve gone this far. I’M IN IT TO WIN IT!
$1,500!!! Audience gasps. Did I do that?
“Mommy, I love you so much. Thank you, thank you.” She holds me so tight, out of love or to ward off a fainting spell?
The Stage manager escorts us, theater floor drenched with Savannah’s tears. I hand over my American Express.
In the dust and clutter of the dark backstage, Savannah still cries, while I offer unsolicited production critiques to whoever will listen.
Enter Orlando Bloom – All is silent. Even I shut up.
He breaks the silence. “Hello! Thank you so much!” Genuine.
“Ready?” he says. Savannah – frozen, stared like a lemming.
“The shirt,” I elbowing her.
“Oh,” she snaps out of it.
The charity woman takes a Polaroid, later duplicated & disseminated to Savannah’s 998 FACEBOOK friends. Orlando, his ripped bare torso decidedly non-ELFIN, smiles casually. Savannah, beside him, holds his just-removed shirt. Saucer-eyed, teeth bigger than chattering Halloween fakes, she’s a just-crowned Miss U.S.A.
They chat, about Legolas, sequels, how she loves it, as he signs the white shirt with a black sharpie. He draws stick figure Legolas, other scribblings and my favorite, “Love, Romeo.”
As we leave he offers to pose, arms around both of us. In it, I see in my face, the unrestrained thrill of my Beatlemania, filtered through star-crossed time, in my lovely daughter’s smile. Of all of our photos together, in this one we look most alike.
We drift out of the enchanted castle – through the stage door, into the harsh glare of Times Square. A mostly female mob, with cameras, waits behind the rail to see Romeo walk into the sunset.
“That could be us,” I say, giddily. “So long suckers.”
The mystique of the day, spontaneous and bewitching, transported us into a land of magic and golden rings.
We floated through the throngs – over our heads and so very, very far over my means. But overflowing, so full with love for Savannah, and her gracious Romeo, that I believed, for those moments only, that we might all live happily ever after.