Here are 5 thoughts - good and bad - about the event:
The Friday 5:
Flea Market Thoughts
PERFECT WEATHER, SMALLER CROWDS: It was a stunning day - sunny, warm, but not hot, with a nice light breeze. Turns out that postponing Flea by a week worked out for the best; the previous weekend was a rainy mess. We mentally prepared ourselves for larger, weather-fueled crowds. But it was much easier to get around than it had been in previous years. No crushing crowds (save for the feeding frenzy by the Mean Girls table), and I never had an easier time walking through Shubert Alley - even at the peak of auction mania!
DIMINISHING RETURNS: Don't get me wrong, I'll still attend, but I feel like every year, there is less and less to look through, and a lot of duplicate merchandise at more than one table. And so predictable. Wicked is still getting rid of old Chisery masks, and after at least three years of trying, they still haven't gotten anyone to take the If/Then sign off their hands. (HINT: Lower the price...) And The Lion King is still doing the baked goods thing. (HINT: When flies gather on uncovered peach cobbler, fan them off. And offer decent napkins...)
GREAT PLACE TO COMPLETE COLLECTIONS: With patience and tenacity (and a pushy elbow), you can find obscure Playbills and window cards. I, myself found a couple of souvenir programs after a relatively short visit to a table with bins full of them. Fun story: a guy plopped down a box full of Bette Midler Hello, Dolly! programs (super cheap given what they were) and it was like sharks circling chum - the show queens came out of nowhere. No lives were lost.
OVER PRICED LACK OF BARGAINS: Look, I know this is for charity, and things are priced to get maximum cash for the cause. But a Tarzan coffee table book, with some black ink scribbled in the inside cover - no one at the table could say for sure whose "signature" it was - for $175? Really? Then there's not one but two tables from two new shows selling autographed window cards for a decent, but still pricey amount. Picture it - it's after 6, almost everyone on the street was gone or almost done packing. I walk up to one and ask if the price was lowered or negotiable. Eye roll, rude comment about being lucky they even have such a collector's item, and I'm walking away. To be fair, the other person at the table called after me, "Wait! For $10 less, you can get a Playbill that the entire cast signed!" So... the more expensive, non-negotiable poster doesn't have every signature???
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE ON MY CHRISTMAS LIST: Being friends with theater-lovers can be a blessing or a curse; we usually buy things we want from shows we love for ourselves. BUT every year we still manage to find things you just can't find anywhere else. I'd elaborate, but Mike will read this, and I don't want him to know what I found from one of his favorite shows. (It was difficult enough getting it home without him seeing it!)