Dear Broadway.com

Last December, as a festive treat for me and my girl, I bought tickets on Broadway.com to see Bruce Willis in Misery and Al Pacino in China Doll. It was the first time that I had used Broadway.com and I have to say that overall I was very pleased with the tickets and the service. The shows were simply fabulous and more than met my expectations—it was great to see Bruce Willis and, once again, Al Pacino on the Broadway stage.

About a week after receiving my e-tickets I got an e-mail from you advertising tickets for The Book of Mormon, which I had already seen on the town and I loved it. But hey, I thought to myself, I’ve somehow been added to your correspondence list and, as I am apt to do, I unsubscribed right there and then. Not that I didn’t like your service or the shows or anything, it’s just that I wasn’t planning to be back in the wonderful town of New York for a while and wouldn’t really need to be buying tickets anytime soon. And like most folks who are next to normal, these days I get spam a lot.

A couple days later you let me know that there were tickets available for The King and I, which I haven’t seen on 42nd Street, although I always thought Yul Brynner did a great job. Nonetheless, I was sure I had already unsubscribed, so this time with great certainty I clicked “unsubscribe,” then followed through deliberatively to the next screen that pronounced, “Thank You. You have been successfully removed from this subscriber list. You will no longer hear from us.” Oh promises, promises—I read it twice to be super sure. Mama Mia, I thought, maybe I didn’t unsubscribe properly last time and perhaps it takes a few days for your system to react accordingly, like one of those dodgy Internet things where you can sign up instantaneously but it takes forever and a day to unsubscribe.thank you broadwayNevertheless, you continued to send little me unsolicited offers for Finding Neverland, American Psycho, and Fiddler on the Roof. With great aplomb, while suspecting something rotten, I unsubscribed diligently each and every time. Then on the twelfth night, to add to my misery you sent me Misery again. While you may consider this to be much ado about nothing, your complex computer system’s disdain for my inbox is seemingly planning to spam me from here to eternity. Certainly anything goes with wicked savvy spammers, but I was not contemplating the same old song and dance or comedy of errors that I expect from a professional ticketing company.

When I unwittingly subscribed to your service last year I had no idea I would be getting the full monty: After pressing the unsubscribe button at least a dozen times I really thought it was bye bye birdie, but after dozens more e-mails my face started turning the color purple. I would hope that you would understand the importance of being earnest and, if I may, I would request some sweet charity and that you desist from this ongoing e-mail assault. I’m hopeful that all’s well that ends well and that we won’t still be doing this the same time next year.

Best Regards,

 

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And the prompt reply….

Dear Journeyman, 

I am so sorry to hear about the problems you have been experiencing with unsubscribing.  On a side note, I must confess that I thought your letter was amazing – in the sense that you were polite and understanding, yet firm with your disdain at our lack of taking care of your problem – all the while using theatrical terms and show names emphasizing your concern.

I want to bring this matter up to management and specifically our IT and Web Dev departments.  Would you be so kind to forward any future emails you receive from us?  Forward them directly to me as this will help those departments determine what is wrong. 

Thank you so much,

Broadway.com

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Fine China and Steak Knives

In David Mamet’s new play, China Doll, Al Pacino owned the stage. His acting was dynamic as he took his audience with him on an emotive grand tour, from whimpering sincere remorse to booming rancorous anger, from doting older-gent gallantry to cutthroat business tycoon-ery. From serene to severe, Pacino can project all levels of fervency, but while he effectively plays placid his calling is intensity.

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He nailed the mostly likeable role of the past-his-prime but kindhearted Danny Collins in the 2015 Dan Fogelman aging rock star movie. He was suave and persuasive as Ricky Roma, the top hotshot salesman in the 1992 movie adaptation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Twenty years later in the Broadway run of Glengarry, Pacino effectively played the part of the washed up salesman Shelley Levine previously played by Jack Lemmon. Some critics hammered him in that role but what do they know, I thought he was great.

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However, for me, he truly shines in the crazier, more manic roles, such as the hapless Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon or the calculating Michael Corleone in The Godfather. And certainly he had many manic moments in Mamet’s rambling, what-the-hell-was-he-thinking play, China Doll. How an experienced playwright can go from the creative, captivating brilliance of Glengarry to the infertile desert of China Doll I do not know. But Pacino made it fascinating and entertaining: He held it together.

Maybe the differences between superb and second-rate are actually incredibly small, as in genome sequencing, where only one percent is the disparity between King George and Curious George. Perhaps Glengarry was just a chromosome away from failure as China Doll is from perfection. But clearly Glengarry gets the Cadillac and China gets the steak knives.

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So I’ve had a bit of an Al Pacino fest this past month. After seeing him from the first row in China Doll on Broadway I re-watched a few of his movies. Although, most unfortunately, my daughter made me watch that lowbrow Adam Sandler flick Jack and Jill where Pacino fabulously makes a fool of himself as Dunkaccino. Then in Sicily I had to go to where it all started: the real-life rustic town of Corleone. It’s a bit of a trek over dodgy roads but when you get there it’s worth it—there’s an old Godfather poster hanging outside a bar next to the town square and inside you can order a drink called the Pacino. But I prefer something with caffeine, because coffee is for closers. For food, I like revenge, a dish that tastes best when served cold.

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