Originally published on It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s dlevy!
The summer of 1989 was not an easy one for me. It was my first summer spending four weeks away at summer camp instead of the usual two. My friendship with Jeff, my best friend from home who shared the camp experience with me, was deteriorating. And for whatever reason, that summer was the year when all the bullies at camp noticed the target painted between my eyes, and it became open season on David.
The one thing that kept me going during the first two weeks of camp was being cast as one of the leads in the camp play. After three years of (happily) toiling in the chorus in roles such as “Man #2” (never Man #1, alas), I had my moment in the spotlight. More importantly, I had my place in the company. My only complaint was that for the first time in my camp career, we weren’t doing a musical.
That was the summer the original cast recording of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway came out in a deluxe package of two glorious cassettes with a cardboard slipcase. For the cost of a stamp, you could write to the record company and request a copy of the booklet with pictures and lyrics that came with the CD. I didn’t yet own the album. I think it might have come out after camp started, or perhaps at the tender age of 11 I hadn’t yet developed the need to own every album on its day of release. But one of the girls in the show had it, so naturally we became best friends.
Okay, to be honest, we weren’t best friends. In fact, there were two blonde girls in the cast, both a couple years older than me, and I had no idea which one owned the album. Pretty straight girls all looked (er, look) the same to me. But I convinced the girl who owned the album (and, I suppose, the rest of the cast?) that we should listen to it during the cast party. I remember peppering the pretty blonde girl with questions as I poured over the track listing. “Is the overture medley sung?” I asked the wrong pretty blonde girl, totally confused as to why I was talking to her about this album.
That album was the first time I heard Debbie Shapiro sing. In a summer that I’ve mostly repressed as one long terrible memory, the warmth I felt from that cast album, and the cast in which I got to hear it, remains one of my only bright spots.