I am a sucker for a good sing-along. You'd think by this point in my life I'd have outgrown the primal pleasure of joining an outdoor theatre full of strangers in belting out showtunes at the top of my lungs, but nooooo. I've attended, with great enthusiasm, the sing-along Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl the past few years -- I actually get a little misty when thousands of people slowly wave their cellphones to the gentle strains of "Edelweiss." A couple of years ago felt like "sing-along summer" when I joined hordes of like-minded musical fans at not only The Sound of Music at the Bowl, but also Moulin Rouge at the Ford Amphitheatre and The Wizard of Oz at the Greek Theatre. There should be more sing-alongs, dammit! They bring out not only the pent-up musician in everyone, but also the ribald comedian: every one of these sing-alongs ends up a Rocky Horror experience, with people shouting funny (and often obscene) comments at the screen.
Last night Curtis and I went to the Outfest screening of West Side Story at the Ford. Outfest is an ongoing GLBT-themed film series that ramps up during the summer, with the highlight being the sing-along at the Ford. I gotta tell you, I never realized how gay West Side Story was until I watched it with a theatre filled 90% with homosexual men. Suddenly all the fight scenes, which had formerly looked merely "stylized" to me, now appeared -- well, gay. The audience's favorite character was Anybodys, the butch girl who wants to be part of the gang. And sure, it's easy to smirk at lyrics like "I feel pretty and witty and gay" and "Got a rocket in my pocket." But the line that got the hugest laugh, and the most hoots and hollers, is when Maria tells Tony, "When you come, use the back door." Mercifully, the audience dance participation was staved off until near the very end, when a couple (a man and maybe a woman -- who can tell at these things? It was dark) enacted a dramatic pas-de-deux to "A Boy Like That" in the aisle to my right.