So we hit the pause button on our perimeter trip long enough to scoot to New York for the weekend to see cherished friend and former Dallas Morning News Managing Editor Stu Wilk fulfill a lifelong dream and make his Broadway performance debut.
Titled “Stuart Wilk: Sex, Drugs & Ethel Merman,” Stu’s performance sold out two cabaret shows at the Don’t Tell Momma nightclub on 46th Street.
(No, his suit wasn’t really purple. It was navy, but my flash distorted the colors.)
Here’s what the programs looked like:
It wasn’t a good show; it was a great show! I loved every number, especially “Old Friend” from the 1978 “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road.”
Audience faves also were “Big D” from the 1956 “The Most Happy Fella” and “Another Song About Paris,” music and lyrics by Dave Frishbert, 1983.
The house was packed with theater and journalist friends from around the country, including a strong contingent from Dallas.
Actually, it was an international debut; my brother- and sister-in-law, Luc and Brigitte, flew in from Belgium for the event!
The hour-plus performance featured Stu performing a medley of favorite Broadway show tunes woven together by a riveting and revealing personal narrative about what it was like to grow up as a boy from Milwaukee who developed an obsession with musicals and then took “40-year detour” into journalism.
The event was punctuated by Stu’s duet with special guest Debbie Damp, musical direction by Christopher Denny and direction by Lennie Watts.
Stu even concluded with a little soft shoe, complete with hat and cane!
I didn’t get all the photos of everybody I would have liked, but I snagged a quick handful.
Here’s Stu’s “old friend” (and our beloved friend) Tracy:
Here’s former Dallas Morning News colleague and compatriot, Rodger Jones:
Here’s former Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow:
Other DMN-related folks in the crowd included Steve Kenny (now at the New York Times), Steve and Joyce Harris, and Susan Rogers and Doug Swanson (now in Pittsburgh).
Also applauding wildly were many of Stu’s friends from his Associated Press Managing Editor days and from the theater community – as well as his brother and sister-in-law from Maine.
In a few hours, we’re heading back to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood area to return to our Casita, safely ensconced in a county park there, and resume our yearlong perimeter trip on the Edges of America.
But what a blast we had during our 36-hours in the Big Apple!
(PS: This is from lunch the next day at Montauk Brewing Company at the DeKalb Market Hall, where we met Danny, originally from Barbados but now an affirmed Brooklynite, who introduced us to the Hot Mess seafood extravaganza, which of course, Georges had to order.
Turns out Danny will have his picture on the wall as the #1 Hot Mess conqueror. Guess who will be #2? That’s right: Georges. If you go, you’ll see G’s pic on the wall right next to Danny’s.
Waitress Chantal was great and has the best smile.
Owners Justin and Rob were just as congenial today with us as they were last November, when we enjoyed their fine fare last time we were here.
Our perimeter trip should bring us back to New York sometime in June. Perhaps we’ll see the Montauk Brewing Co. gang again then!)