For those of you who remember our last installment in this running history of my life and thoughts my daughter and I were in New York City.
I have to say I am always surprised when people remember things I say in this column or say outside this column for that matter. I am the father of three children who are currently teenagers and I am an administrator of an elementary school. Those things conspire to make me one of the least listened to people walking the Earth. Flight attendants giving the safety speech before take-off at least have the paranoid sure-we-are-all-going-to-die-a-fiery-death passengers listening to them which is probably more of an audience than I have on any given day.
Anyway, I mentioned last time that my daughter and I are both big fans of theater. A big part of why we went was to see real honest-to-goodness Broadway shows. The impossible to get tickets at this time are for “The Book of Mormon”. I tried to get tickets more than a month ahead of our visit and availability was nil. My daughter is a lover of old-fashioned musicals so we salved our “can’t get the hot ticket” sense of disappointment by getting tickets to “Anything Goes,” the big Cole Porter revival.
That didn’t go so well. First, the big star (Sutton Foster, one of Emilyjane’s heroes as well as being one of her “best friends” on Twitter) left the show before we were going to be there. Okay, we can live with that, the show is still going to be fun. Then we hear the show is going to close eight days before the night we have already purchased tickets for rolls around. Eight days, really?
I call the ticket agency to see about getting a refund on the tickets. The lady is very nice and asks if there is anything she can do for me. I ask if she could talk them into doing the show until we can get there. She says that is a bit above her pay grade. She asks if there is another show we would like to get tickets for. I say how about “The Book of Mormon”. She laughs, politely and all, but it was a genuine laugh. You can’t blame a guy for trying.
So, flash forward to when we are actually in New York. We decide to take a chance and just go directly to the box office of the theater where The Book of Mormon is playing. We get there just a few minutes after it opens in the morning, which is 10 AM, those theater folk don’t get up with the chickens. The guy in front of us in line is in the middle of making a purchase. His transaction is not making it look good for us. He is buying tickets for a performance five months in the future and he is paying a premium price and when I say premium I mean Bill Gates and Paul McCartney would even split the cost with their dates. So that guy finishes his purchase leaving behind his credit card number and a pound of flesh and I step up to the window.
My opening line was “I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t start laughing until I actually leave the building.” I then said we were looking for tickets for anytime that week. He started to mention the premium tickets and I said thanks but I’d prefer not so sell my kidney for the money to see a show. I didn’t really say that, but I did say thanks but no thanks.
Then he said just a minute. He looked at the sheet of paper on his desk. (Digression alert) Okay, this theater pulls in thousands of dollars each and every night. This theater is in the heart of the biggest theater district in the world. This theater has been in existence since the 1920’s. This is no nickel and dime outfit. Well, the sheet of paper he is looking at is a run of the mill computer printout list with dozens of scribbles done by hand in red ink. There isn’t a more efficient system, really? (Digression over) He then excuses himself and steps to the back of his tiny office and asks somebody we can’t see a question. He then returns and asks what we are doing Friday afternoon. Since I am known for my witty repartee I say “I hope I am sitting in this theater watching your show.”
And that is just what happened.
Christopher Pyle loved the show and was surprised by the uplifting message they snuck in under all the humor, much of it a little, um, off color. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.