Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winning the Lottery

If you follow my blog even somewhat regularly, you know that I love day trips to the city, I'm set in my ways, and I never met a discount code I didn't like! What with all of the websites that offer discounts, plus TKTS, there really is no excuse to pay full price for a Broadway show ticket. Unless it is a very special occasion (i.e. me seeing my beloved Angela Lansbury from a good seat at the Walter Kerr) or the show simply will not have TKTS tickets (i.e. Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys - even A Little Night Music had them at TKTS today...), paying full price is not responsible in these economic times. (If you are a producer, I'm sorry, but I take full advantage of any break you'll give me.)

And God bless him, Jonathan Larson really started a lot off this with his famous admission that if RENT were to make it to Broadway, he, himself, wouldn't be able to afford it. Hence the now historic front row lottery at RENT. Since then, of course, many shows offer lotteries and other day of discounts, and there is always standing room, but only if the show is sold out. As a man of a certain age - i.e. NOT a student, but not independently wealthy - I am somewhat limited in my access to discount day of seats, which are available only with student IDs. I mean, I get it. Students are poor and deserve their shot at art like the rest of us. But do you know how hard it is to find a student to go with at my age? LOL...

Anyway, over the past few years, and as recently as yesterday, I have tried three lotteries: Wicked (yeah, right. Better chance of getting hit by a bike messenger! And don't get me started about the girls that win, screaming, "I won for the fifteenth time!" Give the rest of us a shot, will ya?). A Chorus Line (I actually won to tickets that time... I smiled really nice at the lady who ran it... but I think I really won because it was f#$#$ing cold that night and everybody won). And yesterday afternoon, at West Side Story. (I actually won two tickets again! It wasn't freezing, but it was a Wednesday matinee in January. And not everyone won, either!)  I'm batting over .600!

11:30 AM: I guess the years have hardened the poor folks that have to run these lotteries, because the guy who runs the WSS one had it down to almost military precision, including very clearly defined reasons for being removed from the lottery for the rest of the run of the show. Mike, I think was his name, it was on his embroidered winter show jacket with leather sleeves that I lusted after the minute he came out the door - the jacket, not the guy. So I wasn't paying attention to his name. We lined up, single file, he read us the rules, told us where we could stand, where we could not stand, and where we could NOT wait after we put our names in. We were told to reassemble at 5 minutes before noon - in single file one full cement block away from the door, not inside the lobby, and we were not to touch the lobby doors.

11:55 AM: We assemble. Not all of us are following the rules, but snap to attention the minute Mike reappeared. More directions. Money out, check. ID out of wallet, not in wallet, check. Once the names are called, get the hell out of Dodge, check. Names are called. I'm getting nervous. Then...wait for it... Jeff Kyler! I'm in!!! The guy at the ticket window is very nice. I give my best smile, and I get two close to the center! (All of them are front row...)

12:10 PM: Off to Dallas BBQ (more on that another day), and to fulfill my promise to myself to buy the CD of Memphis. Mission accomplished.

1:40 PM: The crowd outside is huge and very noisy. Uh-oh a school group - a large one, full of 8th graders (!) - is assembling. We are told to go around the group and go right to the ticket takers for seating. "Avoid the school group crush at the door!" yelled a bewildered usher. After a cursory bag search, we go to our seats.

Let me just add here that front row seats for this production are SWEET! First of all, there is leg room - I'm 6'3" and sat, legs out ankles crossed. Second, the orchestra is PHENOMENAL! Third, it really feels like they are doing the show just for you. You forget the other 1200 people behind and above you. Fourth, and most importantly, the view is awesome. Literally the only thing I couldn't see was the final moment when Tony dies and Maria lays him flat.

4:45 PM: As I exit the theatre, I see Mike behind the merchandise booth, trying to appease about 50 8th graders and getting no crowd control help from the chaperones. I can see why he was so edgy that morning... To be fair, the kids were very well-behaved, though they laughed uncontrollably when the gun went off in Chino's hand.

Finally, if you have REALLY been following my blog, you know that some time ago, I mentioned on my wish list that I really wanted to see John Arthur Greene as Riff (above, with  Marina Lazzaretto, dance captain, at the opening night party). Mission accomplished! And SO worth the wait. WOW! (I hope to have my full review posted tomorrow.)

Speaking of John Arthur Greene and fellow Jet cutie, Kyle Coffman (as A-Rab), here they are with the rest of the cast in the new West Side Story commercial. Enjoy!

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