Dear Ted,

Ted,

Thanks so much for your theater suggestions. One of my favorite moments in the whole world is just before the performance begins. The seats all full. The whispered discussions about to end just from the lights going down. The stage getting anxious in the wings. The conductor fixing her light and monitor. The instruments about to take us away.

As you know, I had no tickets last night at 6. Walked across 48th St - had to size up the “Springsteen on Broadway” scene. Extremely heavy security detail - big turn off. Stubhub was offering mezz seats for $2600 each….which was a bargain - that jumped to $4000 each for Sat night. Went down to 45th st. “Dear Evan Hanson” did not look nearly as intimidating, but of course was also sold out. Looked on Seat Geek - they listed a side orchestra seat for “1.2K.” Less security and brighter lights than Springsteen but still out of reach. Across the street was the gem you reccomended - “Come From Away”. I had heard good things and the lines, now closer to showtime, seemed a bit more inviting. Ugh….they were sold out, too. Looked at the sign in the box office for future performances - their top seat was $187 - which they were raising next week by $10. Then there is the PREMIUM seat situation. I hung around under the marquis like in the old days. Only problem is no one has a real ticket. They were all on their phones...or printed out at home...which even if one was available felt like a leap of faith. Then one guy with an Australian accent held two tickets in front of me -and said he could not go tonight. The ticket price read $375.00. My heart kind of sank...I could not spend that much. I offered him the $175 I had in my wallet and he said, “okay - you get a 50% discount.”


I had two Hamilton shirts in a bag for my boys which they looked into and camera slung around my neck which they let me keep. I got ushered to the 2nd row - which is kind of a thrill until you realize these are among the worst seats to see a musical. Actors feet hidden, sound not so great, looking straight up into the actors noses….still….I am in the room. The Playbill is way too quick a read, so everyone stares into their phones until the light goes down. Phones are like mirrors - everyone in the guise of communicating is really looking at themselves. Crafting their stories in limited characters. Checking their good looks. Practicing their smiles. Bragging about their great fortune sitting in the premium seats up close.

Then, like magic the lights go down. Phones are hushed up. I can see the cast hugging each other offstage. The music starts from both sides of the stage. The lights bathe the actors from above. It is a beautifully crafted show with a deep heart. At film school they called it the “suspended illusion of reality” - that moment when you let go and are totally transported. Sitting so close took me awhile to get past all that you can see and hear so closeup - but it did happen. I did laugh. I did cry. I did stand at the end and cheer. It is a story well told through many voices - and very Broadway in all best ways.


I love the theater so much. From the first time at the Nixon theater in Pittsburgh at 7 years old sitting in the steeply raked balcony seats watching “The Music Man” through my knees - to last night craning my neck up to the stage. It is always thrilling. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

I am embarrassed to admit this - but afterwards I went back over to Springsteen’s show and watched him come out of the stage door into his car. Well aged rock star. Gingerly - but generously waving to all of those who could not afford a ticket. He got into the car and raised himself up to wave across the street - then was off. The box office was open but it was all sold out. All the other two hour shows were emptying out. Everyone was onto dinner and checking Instagram.

Love to all,

George


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