Last Thursday we went to the Tennessee Williams Theater in Key West to see Tommy Tune. I’m embarrassed to say it was our first visit to this venue, and we are in our seventh year of living here. We travel to Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm and even as far as New York City to see productions and concerts, yet we somehow overlooked this ‘gem’ of a theater that is just over 50 miles from our door step. My wife arranged tickets through the box office just a day earlier and the attendants were very accommodating and efficient. We were ushered to our seats and pleasantly surprised that there really weren’t any bad seats. The sight line around the theater was wonderful and the acoustics were great. The show was a last minute decision that somehow worked out perfectly. Tommy Tune is a mentor of my wife as well as a former boss, producer, director, choreographer and fellow cast member.
Ganine met Tommy Tune in Las Vegas while he was on a nationwide search for the sixteen most beautiful, talented, singer-dancers in the world. Tommy Tune was responsible for our move to New York City after auditioning and casting Ganine for the original production of The Will Rogers Follies. The Big Apple soon became our home. Ganine’s dream of opening an original show on Broadway was fulfilled along with a Tony Award and a Grammy Award. She worked for Tommy in other productions and performed with him in his own show.
Tommy Tune turned 70 this year and is celebrating 50 years as an entertainer. His show was amazing; he looked 50, sang and danced like he was in his 20s and had all the class of Fred Astaire. The show lasted close to two hours. There was no intermission. Just great stories with wonderful singing and dancing. It was easy to see why his career has experienced such staying power.
I was reminded that age is only a number and not a factor if you are in shape and still passionate for the things you love. It seems we are too eager to discount an individual’s value based on age. Before the show started I had a conversation with a couple that had retired to Key West. The gentleman was a former physics professor at a prominent college in Long Island, New York. Our conversation revolved around culture and education in the Keys. We were both impressed with the effort to bring music, dance and art into our community. Education was another matter. This gentleman informed me that when he first moved to Key West several years ago he had offered his services to the Community College and was rejected. It’s not the first time I have heard a story like this. We have a wealth of knowledge in the people around us – transplants from around the world that still have a passion for what they once did as a career. I think it is a travesty that there is not a willing venue here for them to pass along their knowledge. We are constantly reminded to recycle and not waste our resources. Why not do the same with these great minds? My hope is that someone from the college or even the high school would consider reaching out to the community and invite these individuals in to teach or lecture. Their passion may ignite a young mind. In other cultures age and wisdom are revered and respected – something we might want to emulate.
After the performance we reconnected with Tommy and had a nice visit, took a few pictures and caught up on each other’s life. In all it was a great evening of entertainment; it was one I will remember for the rest of our lives.
I will now pay closer attention of what is playing at the Tennessee Williams Theater. Ticket prices are reasonable, no long drive and no cost for parking. Check out the theater for yourself and have an evening you won’t soon forget.
Dream the life you live and live the life you dream