Summary for 'See What I Wanna See'
The show opens with the song "Kesa", a scene independent to itself. Kesa (Idina) appears onstage, singing the song. We realize that she is planning to kill her lover, Morito (Marc) - who enters midway through the song. They have sex, onstage, with Kesa on top (yes, that's relevant) - and at the end of the song, Kesa yanks her knife out of her kimono belt, and raises it to stab Morito at the height of her climax. The lights go out.
Check it, the knife is in her back belt but you can't see it.
Now we're moving on to the meat of Act I, which is where you get the story of a rape and murder in 1951, told from several different perspectives. Stop worrying about Kesa and Morito, they're gone. Now we've got a Thief (Aaron Lohr), Louie the husband (Marc Kudish), Lily the wife (Idina), a Janitor (Henry Stram) and a Medium (Mary Testa).
The scene opens with the Janitor by himself, at an interrogation table. He is talking to policemen that we never see or hear. *SONG - THE JANITOR'S STATEMENT* - He's claiming not to remember very much, but as you'll see - he knows more than he's saying.
*SONG _ THIEF'S STATEMENT/SHE LOOKED AT ME* - The thief is ALSO being interrogated by the police. He's proud of having murdered Louie, and doesn't see why the police don't believe his story. He's admitting to a murder, why can't they just accept that?
As he transitions into "She Looked at Me" - we enter the thief's head and we see what happened that night- he describes how Lily looked at him on the street and encouraged the rape that was to come. Lily walks across the stage escorted by her husband right after he says "She looked at me... and she was ready to go" - she drops her scarf right in front of him, bends over to get it really slowly, gives him a look, and leaves the stage.
*SONG _ SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE* - the thief follows her and her husband to the nightclub where she is singing. This is pretty straightforward, she does a lot of leaning across the table and flirting with Louie- the problem is that this puts her ass right in the thief's face. Something that's left off the CD is the thief's "never seen a baby like that" lines, leading up to him asking Louie who she is... he says "My WIFE"
*SONG _ BIG MONEY* The thief decides that the ONLY way to get a chance at Lily was to get the husband out of the way first. He convinces Louie to go with him to the park to dig up some money that he knows is hidden there. At first, Louie is reluctant, but the thief gets him drunk. Under the heavy protests of Lily (who sulks unhappily) - he gets him to "bring the wife along" to the park.
*SONG _ THE PARK* - If you have the CD, I think this entire sequence is pretty self explanatory - the thief tells us how he knocks Louie out, ties him up, and attacks Lily. Lily tries to defend herself with a knife, but the thief overpowers her. The rape sequence was especially frightening and well staged.
*SONG _ YOU'LL GO AWAY WITH ME* - At this point, something in the thief snaps - he's incredibly enamored with Lily, and is pretty convinced that she wants him too - this is where he choked her with the scarf and made her slow dance with him - which was amazingly effective, and I'll never forget her one arm that he wasn't holding (he had her right arm and her scarf in his hands) was just dangling there, and she did a lot of crying. She then orders the Thief to fight her husband for her. He does, and Louie is killed- Lily runs off into the night. At the end of the song, you end up back in the police department. The thief seems to want to die for the crime.
*SONG _ BEST NOT TO GET INVOLVED* - Back in the Janitor's interrogation room, this song just pretty much gives us his philosophy about the whole thing... but at the end he admits to remembering Lily - "how could you forget a woman like her?"
*SONG _ THE WIFE'S STATEMENT* At that, Lily enters the interrogation room, her head covered with a scarf, crying, and trying to explain what happened with Louie,who in her version of the story, blamed her for the rape and no longer considered her (or the two of them) to have anything to live for.
*SONG - LOUIE* We're back in the wife's head now, as she tries to comfort her emotionally traumatized husband (SHE had just been raped, he seriously needed to get a grip) - anyhow, he makes it clear that they should kill themselves together. It's pretty clear that the wife isn't all about that, but she says that she'll let him do it ("Louie guide my hand, I will honor you") - but at the last second, as he pushes the knife towards her, she panics and turns it towards him. And kills him. And there we've got HER version of what happened.
*SONG - THE MEDIUM AND THE HUSBAND'S STATEMENT* - a Medium is brought in who says that she was visited by Louie's spirit, and wants to give his version of the story. She makes contact with Louie and begins to speak with him... that leads us to...
*SONG - QUARTET: YOU'LL GO AWAY WITH ME* - During this song, we see Lily and the Thief happily having sex on a table while Louie and the Medium circle them - we feel Louie's sense of intense betrayal at this point - it's clear that his wife is REALLY into the thief.
*SONG - NO MORE* To add to Louie's pain, not only did his wife enjoy having sex with the thief, SHE HATES HIM. And makes that quite clear in her song. At the end of the song she screams, "Kill him!" and hands the knife to the thief. The thief, who has been watching this whole thing and realizing that Lily is out of her mind, grabs her and holds the knife to her throat. He asks Louie "Do you want me to slash her throat and save you the trouble later? Do you want me to gut this bitch? Nod your head, wiggle your toes or SOMETHING!" ... while Lily instantly starts to feel- I guess "sorry" would be a good word. Louie just stares, and the thief lets her go - Lily runs off, screaming "Don't LOOK AT ME!"
*SONG - SIMPLE AS THIS* - Pretty straightforward, Louie decides that he's going to kill himself. And then stabs himself with Lily's knife that she's left at the scene. He spends a long time dying, until someone pulls the knife out of him and he bleeds to death quickly.
*LIGHT IN THE EAST - FINALE* - The interrogators are still trying to get a straight story out of the janitor- who we discover was the person who pulled the knife OUT of Louie when he found him. No explanation is given as to why he does this. The show ends with everybody affirming that THEY told the truth.
*MORITO* - Remember Kesa and Morito from the beginning of Act I? They're back! And this time, we're getting what Morito wants to do. This time... Morito is in the dominant sexual position (man on top if you're not all into sex terms) - at the end of the song, he puts his hands around her throat and begins choking her as they reach the climax of the sex. The lights go down with her still struggling for her life.
Ok now forget about them, they're gone for good.
Now we're in present day New York City - with a post 9/11 theme (though it isn't directly 9/11 and LaChiusa has said he doesn't care what you think it is)
*SONG - CONFESSION/LAST YEAR* A Priest (Henry) is talking to an interrogator - only this time it's a church superior. He's talking about his decision to stop practicing - he is haunted by the people he was unable to help after "the tragedy" - he has no answer for their questions about "why did it happen?" and "is this punishment for my sins?" - He seems to have lost his faith entirely.
*SONG - THE GREATEST PRACTICAL JOKE* The Priest's aunt, Aunt Monnie, is a confirmed atheist - this song is a flashback to what she told him when he joined the priesthood. She was horrified.
*SONG - FIRST MESSAGE* - After remembering what his Aunt said, he decides that she was right- there IS no God. And he's going to set out to prove it to all the fools who are "expecting" too much from God. He invents a miracle that is going to happen in Central Park - he puts up signs all around the park telling people that Jesus will be appearing in Central Park in three weeks. He then sits back to wait and see what happens. Sure enough, people are reading his signs.
*SONG - CENTRAL PARK* The first person he encounters is an ex-CPA turned homeless man (Marc) - he's a Rabbi's son who feels like God doesn't see him anymore - or care about him. He's hoping that God will see him on the "Gloryday" ... and is very excited.
*SONG - SECOND MESSAGE* - The second person he encounters in the park is a girl in huge dark sunglasses and more nervous twitches than you've ever seen- it's Deanna, a coke addicted actress who feels like she ruins everything she touches - even, in this case, the priest, whom she kisses and subsequently has sex with in the bushes.
*SONG - COFFEE* - The lead up to this song is important - when she asks him "Is it possible?" and he says "Why is it so important to you?" - and she pours out her story to him. I can't really explain how heartbreaking this was - she spent most of the song swaying back and forth nervously and looking at her feet or away from the Priest, inserting a quirk or a smile to take the sting out of what she was saying. Her life has gone so far downhill that she really needs something to grab onto. She runs off the stage before he can talk to her about it.
*SONG - GLORYDAY* - Right before this song, the Priest goes home and discovers that his Aunt is dying (of what they never say) - she's not willing to talk about it, she only wants to talk about the hoards of people that are gathering in Central Park that the newsman is showing on TV. The Priest heads down to the park and sees what he's created- and he's pretty freaking excited about it. During this song was when Idina famously did her lines of coke, and just as amusing, Marc peeled and ate a whole banana (while SINGING!)
*SONG - CURIOSITY* - The Priest meets up with the Reporter (Aaron) who we see for the first time in Gloryday at a bar. The Reporter says that he's met the priest before - it was the day of "the tragedy" - that he was running AWAY from the disaster and the Priest was running TOWARD it - and that left him feeling guilty. The Priest doesn't want to talk about it. At the end of the song, the other characters come out - lighting candles and praying onstage.
*SONG - FEED THE LIONS* - The deadline for the miracle is drawing near, and the Priest is REALLY excited, there are all kinds of celebrities there, and nobody is going to see anything because he made it up. The CPA and Deanna both come to him, thanking him for giving them hope.
*SONG - THERE WILL BE A MIRACLE* - The turning point in Act II- the last person he runs into is his Aunt, who despite being in pain has made her way down to the park. She says at first that she is there to see the celebrities. Then she candidly confesses that she has lied all these years, that she knows there is a God, and she knows that God is going to show her a miracle today. The Priest is horrified, this song was amazingly emotional because she's singing so happily and he's crying, knowing that it's him that's letting her down.
*SONG - PRAYER (reprise)* - as the crowds pray for forgiveness, the Priest has a change of heart and runs around screaming that it was a joke, that he didn't mean to hurt anybody- nobody listens to him.
*SONG - RISING UP* - Just then, the lights go out and a pale light comes up on Deanna, the CPA, the Reporter, and Aunt Monnie. They're staring up, all singing together, and jerking back and forth at the same time. Beautiful. When they finish singing they flee the stage, pulling coats over their heads, and the Priest is left standing onstage alone. He talks about looking back at the lake- and as he does, he is illuminated by the brightest light, sobbing as he sees the glory.
In rapture, he races around trying to talk to people around it. The Reporter is angry about the "bust", the CPA looks like he's going to kill him when he meets up with him, but simply walks away defeated, and Deanna pushes past him in tears, wanting him to leave her alone. He confronts Aunt Monnie, sobbing, asking her if she saw it. She said she didn't see anything- but she believes him.
The show ends with him saying, "The lie was for everyone, but the truth was only for myself" - and the question... what should he do with his truth?
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE SHOW:
-for more pictures from the show, see
-for a video montague of certain scenes/songs in the show, see broadway.com video and click "watch video" on the right
- for a video on making the recording of the show, see broadway.com Behind The Scenes video