This is the heart of Broadway and what it looks like outside a theater when a show finishes. There are cars there to pick up the stars and fans lined up and down the sidewalk to get a look at or talk a little bit to the stars. Hugh Jackman gets quite a crowd who wait for him each night. He should–his show is great. See the people who are waiting on the left? Usually after a show lets out, my group always runs out of the theater and starts looking for a cab. It’s hard to get a cab when everyone else who has been to a show is trying along with you. We usually have dinner plans too so we need to get to the restaurant pronto. It was different this night. There was no need to rush. Why rush? This was different. Why the change from hurried to mellow? What had changed inside of me on this night of theater?
Blame it on the evil theater cup!
I saw my first show on Broadway in 1986. It was “Song & Dance” with Bernadette Peters. I have been going to see shows on Broadway ever since. One thing in all these years has remained constant. You are not allowed to bring any food or beverage to your seat. That is the law of theater! You can eat and drink before a show or at intermission, but do not bring it back to your seat. If you even tried to break the rule, you would be hit with a flashlight beam and there would be an usher telling you to hand it over. No eating! No drinking! These ushers would have the meanest face when you looked up at them from your seat with your bottle of water or your last Milk Dud in hand. These ushers would make prison guards nervous. Now all of this has changed.
It might have been sooner, but this year I’ve noticed a change. You can take drinks to your seat in the shows I’ve gone to as long as the drink is in the evil little theater cup. Think of this cup as a sippie cup for adults meaning that if you drop them, they don’t spill. All that is on top of the cup’s lid is a little hole you open up and stick a straw through. At the bar, the bartenders will fill you up with your beverage of choice. Soda to the top of the rim. For $11, you get a cup that is half full of wine. For $21, you get your cup filled to the top with wine. For me, nothing says “classy night out on Broadway” more than sitting back watching a show with a sippie cup filled to the top with Chardonnay. If you time it right, you draw your last sip through your straw at the end of Act I. Then you go back to the bar at intermission and get another cup full. This time around it is $16 because you get a discount if you bring your cup back to be refilled. Then right before the 11 o’clock number, you are sitting there in your seat with your empty cup in hand and you realize “I’m drunk”. You then do things you have never done:
- You have an ugly cry for all to see during the last song of the show.
- You give a standing ovation to the star while all the while hooting and hollering and making a spectacle of yourself.
- You stumble out of the theater telling people you don’t know that you just spent $37 on wine.
- You proceed to tell your friends that next time you are going to save money and just buy a bottle of wine at the liquor store and have the bartender hold it for you because you can fill your own cup.
- You don’t run like hell to catch a taxi. The restaurant can wait!
- You realize that the evil little theater cup is a blessing and a curse.
Now I know that the invention of the evil little theater cup was probably done to boost sales during the slump in the economy. However, I think it is also a great idea to use for shows that are not very good. If I could have had my two cups full of Chardonnay in years past, I might have stuck around for the end of “A Moon For The Misbegotten”.
I wouldn’t have fallen asleep during “Top Girls”.
Lastly…..yes, I’ll publicly admit this……I wouldn’t have wished I could get a musket and shoot all of those revolutionaries on stage in “Les Miserables” just to make it end.
So, I don’t like change very much, but I think that the evil little theater cup is a keeper. It makes a great show even better and I hope to also use it someday to see if it can make a bad show at least a little more bearable. Oh, as with everything, moderation is key when using the evil little theater cup. Who am I kidding? I would sit there and drink wine out of a bottle with a straw if they’d let me. Enjoy your next show, with or without a little booze. What do you think of being able to eat and drink at your seats?