Image from waterwell.org
On the hangar deck of a ship docked on the Hudson River, men and women dressed in uniform celebrated and whined about the glamour and quandaries of being enlisted.
But only half of the patriots have actually served, and the stage was on the preserved hangar of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
“Blueprint Specials” attempted to offer audiences consolation in a time of newfound political turbulence, but fell short on the execution of creating a consuming environment.
The show is recreated from material from the surviving Blueprints sent to soldiers in the 1940s so they could perform their own entertainment shows. This stitching-together of multiple shows left glaring seams that made “Blueprint” seem more like a variety show. Through its occasional disjointedness and occasional cohesiveness, it pulled in a thin story line—which often snapped, disappeared and reappeared at random.
The show begins with a Roman goddess leaving her god-beau to live life as a mortal and join the U.S. Army. The relevance of the opening scene dissolves into a story about young soldiers coping with army life. The god and goddess’ story only crops up twice after that, and both times, came as irrelevant and surprising reminders of where the show started.
Audience members, in an authentic recreation, sat in folding chairs at one level in front of a short stage. While this may have imitated the actual environment in which soldiers would watch a Blueprint show, any “solider” sitting more than a few rows back could only see above the performers’ knees. Rather than compensating for the single-level seating, several scenes had dancing and character interactions on the stage floor, making it impossible to see, and difficult to hear.
“Blueprint Specials” was, nevertheless, a charming reminder of what true patriotism can manifest as—joy in serving one’s nation, appreciation of diversity and the kitschy love in expressing those with musical theater.