Monday, June 9, 2014

On Broadway: A Celebrity Encounter

Last night I watched the Tony Awards on TV. 

I always enjoy them but the Tonys remind me of how much I wish I attended the theater. Living a mere car trip (and a king’s ransom in garage fees) from the theater district in New York City, I haven’t seen a Broadway play in years.

The reason for my absence is not that I don’t love theater because I do. 

In fact, I love it all--spilling, with the excited crowd, from the sidewalk through the glass doors into the lobby and onward to the dark interior (always smaller than expected and, therefore, creating the magical intimacy of a true Broadway experience)…the strains of a tuning orchestra… a last minute set adjustment by a headphone wearing stagehand as you find your seat…receiving your playbill and, later, reading it in the dim light.

There is nothing quite like the anticipation as the curtain rises…except, perhaps, the feeling you get at an amusement park when, once buckled in, the roller coaster springs to life beneath you and the tickle in your belly tells you it’s going to be a great ride.

Why, then, don’t I attend? Well, it’s the cost of a ticket, silly. 
Maybe so.

Despite that it, apparently, seems to be what the market will allow, I refuse to spend $350 for a ticket….for anything. The days of my youth when my mother used to take me to Broadway for a $5 mezzanine seat are over. Back then, she and I saw the original casts of Fiddler, Man of La Mancha and so many others thanks to her attitude of “we may not have much but art--we got. ” 

Afterward, we’d grab a pretzel for the ride home and hum the songs on the subway. But ticket prices steeply jumped when I was a young adult…first to about $100 for an orchestra seat and, later, to the insanity of what they go for now.

The theater thrives and I’m glad. It doesn’t notice that I’m not there.

Occasionally, I have stumbled upon a deal or two. Most recently, we managed to get great seats to “Chicago” and, again, to see “Rent.”

What's the big deal?

Now, I – unlike the rest of civilization hated --  “Rent.” The music didn’t move me…nor did the tale of a bunch of freeloaders trying to avoid fiscal responsibility.

While trembling adolescent girls in leg warmers sang along, I waited for the lights so I could make a run for the ladies room. Poised to bolt, I rose and staggered up the aisle only to come – to my genuine shock  --  face to face with a sullen and narrow-hipped Sean Penn who leaned, in a studied pose, against the wall directly on the way to the bathroom. 

I somehow sensed  I’d now gotten my money’s worth…

Jeff Spicoli
Sorry, friends but I hate Sean Penn. I think he’s an over-rated creep who hasn’t offered an inspired performance since he played Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." My immediate reaction was to glare at him in disgust.

Already in full pre-sneer mode, he was more than ready for me and, whether his nasty expression was a reflection of mine or mine, a mirror of his, we looked at each other with deep and lingering hatred. 

If looks could kill, Sean and I would have fallen dead -- each a victim of the other’s loathing.

Oddly, it was a great moment for me since I do not deny being excited by celebrity encounters and this one, while the opposite of a happy autograph moment, was still pretty exciting. Who among you can say that Sean Penn glared at you with a death stare right before getting in line to pee? I didn’t think so.

Doubtless I’ve seriously angered both the “Rent” and Sean Penn fans among you and, in this politically correct world, have surely crossed some line of propriety.  

As for Sean Penn, I like to think he’d actually defend my right to hate him and maybe even remembers the moment when a middle-aged woman attempted to stare him down in a theater.

As for “Rent, ” if you can’t afford it, move back home with Mom and Dad.

I loved "Rent." "Susan Says..." is a horrible bitch.


  1. Hey Babe~I must say i totally agree with you...i HATE Sean Penn AND i also hated "Rent"
    But, life is short.....i steal from my kids inheritance and try to see a Broadway show every few month.....don't worry, they'll still love you!

  2. Donna, is that you? You are right....but, I can;t bring myself to do it. And I'm not cheap....just really horrified at the prices. I feel they are making decisions abiout who can and cannot attend a play....but just maybe I really need to see one soon? Maybe....XO