"GUESS I got what I deserve," go the words from the 'Baby Blue' song by Badfinger.
So I had a "Breaking Bad" weekend, with this song punctuating the AMC TV ending after five seasons.
I have been terribly possessive about "Breaking Bad," writing about it early and often and urging others to join. Finally, the world seems to have done that and "Breaking Bad" will always be considered a classic. And it will be around for continuous viewing without my help. I actually enjoyed spending a lot of time over the last weekend, re-reviewing the few episodes I had missed or misremembered.
I found its incredibly, sometimes horrifying, examples of lives mis-lived, to be as edifying as personal reflections. Not that many of us have such criminal natures but as we are all only too human. Considerations about little white lies, great big black ones, character, lack thereof, power and cruelty --well, I think in the end, "Breaking Bad" breaks down to be great literature and cinema. So if you don't know what I am talking about -- well, you have a great treat in store for yourself.
And, if you were disappointed when "The Sopranos" ended on such an unsatisfying and mysterious note, then you won't suffer after the last "Breaking Bad." It was spot-on, all loose ends tied up.
I still can't get over last week's episode where the loneliness experienced by the lead character, brilliantly played by Bryan Cranston, becomes so great that he offers his keeper $10,000 just to stay and play cards with him for an hour. The next thing we know for sure is that every moviemaker in the world will try to hire Mr. Cranston to get him to win them the Oscar they've been hoping for.
P.S. My one and only complaint about the "BB" finale had nothing to do with the plot resolutions or the performances. (The kitchen scene alone, with Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston -- Walt suddenly revealed as Skyler was talking to Marie on the phone--was worth the whole show.)
I did endure endless and seemingly longer-than-usual commercials. With so much made of the "Breaking Bad" finale, couldn't AMC have run all these commercials at one time?
• "I HAVE no idea what it's like to be 80-years-old and I have no idea what it's like to be a legend. It's just insane!"
That's what Chita Rivera insists just a week away from being honored at "Chita: A Legendary Celebration." This happens Oct 7th, joined by Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Chita says, "If I have to give my age, I cough while I'm saying it. Not because I'm trying to pass as younger, but because I sure don't feel 80. Whatever that is supposed to feel like."
Chita, who has seven Tony nominations and won two statuettes, is a legend, no matter how she feels about it. She put Broadway shows such as "West Side Story," "Chicago," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Bye, Bye Birdie" and "The Rink" on the map.
I asked her if she ever felt any bitterness over losing her stage roles in "West Side Story" or "Bye Bye Birdie," to Rita Moreno and Janet Leigh respectively. "I must say, not really. What's meant to be is meant to be. Out of disappointment always comes a lesson. Really, Janet Leigh, who was a wonderful person, laughed over being put in that black wig for the movie version. She was lovely. Of course, she then had her own surprise when 'Birdie' became an Ann-Margret movie.
"I don't want to bitch about things. I don't want to bring bad news. It's pointless. I have been surrounded by angels in my life.
Chita, who talks passionately about her great one-woman show "A Dancer's Life," is still determined to bring the Kander/Ebb/McNally musical version of "The Visit" to Broadway. (This was a famously macabre 1956 play and an enjoyably campy 1964 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn.)
The musical retains much of the play's original black humor, and Chita is nothing but enthusiastic as she talks of the music, the color schemes, the plot--a horrible tale of revenge. There is an opening planned in Massachusetts, then perhaps London, then--hopefully--New York. "Some projects just have a life of their own, and come to fruition when they are ready. That's how I think of 'The Visit.'" She adds, succinctly--"I'll never be finished with my career. In fact, I wouldn't mind doing 'Kiss of The Spider Woman' again. More climbing!"
Chita studied ballet as a child and teen. She laughs. "Well, it's not that I wasn't good. I was at the American School of Ballet. I did one ballet. And then I guess it was out of my system." (She would move swiftly to roles in "Call Me Madam," "Guys and Dolls," "Seventh Heaven" and "Mr. Wonderful," with Sammy Davis Jr.)
"I'm kind of in love with life; I laugh and live and I am so grateful . I listen to my life. Which I don't think enough people do. Listen, and you'll learn. And you'll learn to accept what life gives and sometimes takes away."
For ticket info on Chita's big night, which happens at the August Wilson Theater, go to broadwaycares.org/chita