For 20 minutes Saturday night he sat alone in the 8th row, center orchestra of 42nd Street’s New Amsterdam Theater. The young ushers were so kind and accommodating. He was wheeled up to the front doors at 6:30pm, 90 minutes before curtain. The wheelchair slalom began at 4:00 and paused for a couple hours at that finest of New York dining experiences, the Olive Garden in Times Square. What must my boy have been thinking as he sat solitary in that beautiful belle of a theater? Around 7:30 the surrounding seats began to fill with young and old and at 8:04 the curtain depicting “17 Cherry Hill Lane” slowly rose to reveal… an understudy as Bert! Yeah, Gavin Lee, who created the theater role in London had the night off. It didn’t matter. Kyle beamed brighter than the stage lights and held on tight; not to the string of his kite, but to his new parrot head umbrella. The magic lasted some 2:45 and not long after his favorite Nanny floated over his head into the darkness, we rolled back out into the streets of Gotham for the trip back up to 52nd. One hot pretzel stop later, we wheeled into the Novotel lobby bar for a nightcap. “That was the best show ever,” he said softly, flipping through his color program. “Yes it was, my boy. Yes it was.”
The glow of the non-struck Broadway musical was still warm Monday morning until moments after the wonderful Dr. Klauber* joked, “Not everyone gets to enjoy Urodynamic testing on their birthday.”
* Dr. George T. Klauber and his assistant Judy made a most unpleasant experience as warm and caring as it could be for our boy and I am most grateful.