According to a lot of internet chatter, Rose's Turn, the very-Greenwich-Villagey piano bar on Grove Street, will be calling it a day on July 22. There's a bit of irony to this news coming to light today, since the papers are at this moment filled with reviews of Patti LuPone's turn as Mama Rose in the City Center production of "Gyspy." The bar, of course, took its name from the finale of that show, in which Rose has the most famous musical nervous breakdown in theatre history.
I've never been the piano bar type. The idea of standing around an upright singing show tune after show tune gives me the heebie-jeebies. Still, I'm sad to see the place go. Sing-a-long bars like that, wearing their musical-theatre heart on their sleeve, are very much of a Village that is fast disappearing. And the place has fostered some talent. Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown played there as a young man. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara performed their comedy act here before they become famous.
There's still Marie's Crisis and Arthur's Tavern—two very similar place—nearby. I remember in the '80s, shortly after moving to New York, taking my first walk through the Village and passing Marie's Crisis to hear a crowd of drunk men happily belting out some show tune around a piano and realizing suddenly that I wasn't in Wisconsin anymore.