It came as no surprise to me that actor Charlie Sheen’s tour got panned on its opening night in Detroit on Saturday. Put a recovering addict who flaunts his debauchery on stage and you are bound to be disappointed.
Reports say the show got a somewhat better reception in other cities after Sheen adopted a talk show format, with a host moderating questions between the crowd and Sheen. Maybe he will manage to pull off his entire tour this way, including shows at Radio City Music Hall scheduled for this weekend.
I’m not sure which is sadder; Sheen himself or the fact that people are buying tickets to see him. Tickets at Radio City are going for $90 to $179. I wish I were kidding.
What is entertainment? Anything that makes you laugh and feel good? The whole thing smacks of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The 1932 novel depicts a boring and inhumanly rigid society where people are kept in line via a widely available drug (Soma) that makes them feel good and not want more from life.
We should want more from life than entertainment that just feels good.
I can’t help but notice that, while many Americans spend their money on expensive Charlie Sheen tickets (and meanwhile complain about rising taxes or about the financial problems of the under-advantaged!), real, great opportunities for entertainment are languishing.
Make me a producer for a day. I can tell you a few projects a thousand times more fit for the stage than Charlie Sheen.
Get me Chesley Sullenberger on stage. Who? We should recognize his name instead of recognizing the name Charlie Sheen.
Sullenberger, also known as “Sully,” was the incredibly brave and coolheaded pilot who landed a US Airways plane in the Hudson River in January 2009, saving all 155 people on board. Sullenberger spent years studying flight safety and had become an expert on the topic, ready for the fateful moment when a flock of geese disabled his plane’s engines over Manhattan.
Sullenberger now speaks on stage about air safety but I imagine a talk show format could make it an entertaining and inspiring evening for any American.
Or even make a Broadway musical about the miraculous event—everything that was wrong with the panned Spider-Man musical would be made right with a Sully musical. A real life hero, who saved many lives with an amazing and daring feat.
Another idea: do a play on the life and death of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, the recent Medal of Honor recipient. The Green Beret found his team ambushed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2008. He heroically pressed forward, throwing grenades and firing his machine gun, while his team retreated to safety. After giving his life to save more than 20 soldiers, Miller, 24, became the third soldier to receive the Medal of Honor in the war in Afghanistan.
Miller and Sullenberger have the kind of enduring character that is meant to be enshrined on stage and in various forms of entertainment. We should remember their names.
You can take away the one heroic day in Miller and Sullenberger’s lives and make each of them an unknown you just meet at a party. They’re still the kind of people you can have a really good conversation with and feel glad that you met them.
Now take away the thing that made Charlie Sheen famous, the success of his father, actor Martin Sheen, and make him someone you meet at a party. The jittery Sheen is probably someone you would want to avoid. Just ask the people who are walking out on his shows. They are discovering this firsthand.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.