The thing about The Bridges of Madison County, that swoony romantic dreamboat of a show, is that its action exists in this wonderful, only-in-theater universe where nothing makes sense, yet everything makes sense. Singing out your emotions? No problem. The famous bridge is a single beam of wood with a spotlight on it? Cool. Hunter Foster on a tractor? I’m imagining it right now and it makes perfect sense. A woman gets in a stranger’s truck? If the stranger looks like Steven Pasquale, sure.
Of course, all of theater is like this. No one leaves the Majestic Theater wondering if Norm Lewis’s brain is actually on the outside of his head, or if Andy Karl heads off to the emergency room after curtain call every night to have his eye stitched back together. But the contradictions and belief suspensions in The Bridges of Madison County — the show that wins all the Tonys of our heaving hearts — do seem a little special after the lights come up. Here’s a list of stuff about Bridges that no one rationally believes, well… except for those of us who are obsessed with the story of a pretty Iowa lady and her prettier photographer and stuff.
Also, this is chock full of spoilers, so if you need something else to do, you can just go look at some shirtless men on Broadway.
1. That Kello O’Hara is Italian
2. That Steven Pasquale is not Italian
3. That Derek Klena is 16
4. That Kelli O’Hara is old enough to be Derek Klena’s mother
5. That a cow matters this much
6. That beautiful, talented, passionate men die sad and alone
7. That Bud has his come-to-Jesus moment only when he is literally with Jesus
8. That in the sixties, it took an entire person in an entire office with an entire phone to wait for one voicemail
9. That Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale immediately look a decade older when they wear glasses
10. That Steven Pasquale can have sex without taking his jeans off
11. That nobody notices when Carolyn marries her mother’s dead Italian former fiance
12. That Bud is singin’ while he’s dyin’, like all great characters in musical theater
13. That the lucky shirt does a damn bit of good
14. That the lucky shirt actually fits Derek Klena
15. That, again, 40% of this show is about a cow
16. That we’re all just standing around joking about kale
17. That Hunter Foster wins
Photo: Joan Marcus