June 12, 2012

How I Got To Meet Tony In New York

By Paul Bieber

Tony?  Tony who?  Who did I meet?  I just told you, I was on my way to New York City to meet Tony, and this is what happened.

A couple of weeks ago our son, Philip called.  That in itself was special, as he doesn’t call home too often.  Well, he called and asked Elaine and I if we wanted to meet him in the big apple to meet Tony.  I asked him, “Is this a friend of yours?”  He replied, “A new friend, that you will really like to meet.”  So, trusting Philip, Elaine and I made plans for a weekend in New York.

Who is Tony?  Maybe Tony LaRussa, a great baseball manager who just retired.  Maybe Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain.  I laughed to myself when I thought of Tony the Tiger.  I was stumped.  Now, you have to know Philip.  He has a very wry sense of humor and I knew he was pulling some kind of trick, but I couldn’t figure it out.

Last week, a couple of days before we left we received another cryptic call.  “Dad, make sure you bring a tux with you and Mom should bring a nice dress, too.”  This eliminated Tony the Tiger.  The last time I wore a tux was in the 1970’s.  I begged him to tell me what was going on, but Philip played his part well.  “No comment,” was all I heard.

We were packing the car, with the rented tux, and the light bulb popped on over Elaine’s head.  She said she got it.  We were going to the Tony Awards Show in New York City.  Elaine and I love theatre, and Philip is an actor and singer.  We called him, and he said, “Yep, you guessed it.”  Elaine and I were flabbergasted.  We have done some pretty interesting things in our lives, but this would be the top of the list.  Philip has a friend, David, who works for the Washington Shakespeare Theatre, which received the Tony award for the best regional theatre, and David was allocated a couple of seats.  Philip and David had invited us to join them at the theatre.  They couldn’t find one more seat for our daughter Jessica, but more on her later.

So, there we are, me looking like a beached whale in my silver, paisley tux, and Elaine looking classy.  The stars were all there, looking as non-chalant as possible.  We saw everybody, so I won’t give you a list of names, but everybody from the theatre and entertainment world was there.  And us.  As we walked in, flash bulbs were popping, but I think it was for Bernadette Peters right behind us.  Nobody asked us for our autographs either. 

What a wonderful evening.  Even sitting in the balcony was great.  The people sitting right in front of us were famous, and so was a couple behind us.  They didn’t ask why we were there, but I was ready with my witty answer…I sold the glass that went into the mirrors used in Chorus Line, twenty-five years ago.  So, we had a fairy tale night, with real stars drinking champaigne and looking glamorous.  This evening was even more exciting than going to a World Series game, and for me, that is something!

Our daughter Jessica, who couldn’t get a ticket, came to New York anyway, and stood outside the theatre taking pictures at the red carpet.  She saw every big star, maybe more than we did.  We met her afterwards and shared our memories with her. 

What does this have to do with our great glass industry?  Not a darn thing.  I just wanted to say thanks to Philip and Jessica and their friend David.