In 1965 I sat in $3.00 rear balcony seats to witness Carol Channing in Hello Dolly. The St. James Theater was one of the largest Broadway theaters holding 1710 seats. My innocent thirteen year old eyes and ears feasted upon Carol’s force of nature presence. To behold the theater magic she brought to each show stopping number from “I Put My Hand In” to “So Long Dearie”. She took hold of the stage and commanded your attention. Her comedic timing universally made each of her movements and line inflections, a rapturous delight. When I purchased the Original Broadway Cast Album I wore out my needle. “Before The Parade Passes By” dug deep into my head. I may not have fully understood what each lyric meant. Throughout my life the song has resonated with me. My father died shortly after I attended the show. My lover Scott did a wicked imitation of Carol a month before he died of AIDS in 1989. The composer Jerry Herman was the glue that helped my friend of forty years, Paul Furman get through his troubled life that abruptly ended from colon cancer in 2008.
I wanna hold my head up high
I need a goal again
I need a drive again
I wanna feel my heart coming alive again
Before the parade passes by.
The parade will never pass Carol Channing by.