Jazzonomics

CLIFFORD. … The last time I saw these guys together was at Unemployment. Nine years ago, at the old 92nd Street Office. The musicians called it Club 92. (Harsh lights up on: Club 92. Clifford stands, walks over to the head of the beginner's unemployment line. Two lines away, his father, Gene, and Al, Ziggy, and Jonesy wait on the old-timer's line. To audience.) I am twenty-one years old, out of college, out of work. On line for my first unemployment check. It is 1977. As I inch my way up the beginner's line, I spot my father, who is over there (Points.) to sign for what, his four millionth check. As a jazz musician, he is sort of always there. There's the National Endowment for the Arts, which is money for classical musicians, and there's the New York State Bureau of Unemployment, which gives grants to jazz musicians. It's a two-tiered system. 

GENE. (Calling out to the other musicians.) Al, Ziggy, Jonesy – get a load of this: My kid is signing for his first check. (The guys all see Clifford, shout hellos and wave.)

CLIFFORD. He is, at that moment, prouder of me than I have ever seen him: Today, I am a man. (Clifford joins Gene, Al, Ziggy, and Jonesy in a booth at the Melody Lounge. To audience.) To celebrate, the old man takes me out afterwards …

 -Warren Leight. "Sideman". 1999 Tony award winning play.   

This was one of my favorite plays growing up. Leight is now the showrunner for Law and Order SVU on NBC.