|Amy Adams and Josh Lamon go Into the Woods.|
Last Thursday, August 2nd, I stood in line for the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park the whole time. But this year was not just Shakespeare, it was also Sondheim. And this was Into the Woods, in Central Park, at the rustic, outdoor Delacorte Theater. And if there was anyone I would line up for, it would be the God of musical theater (no offense to the Bard but I can readily see free Shakespeare productions all over the city).
I waited in line for 7 hours beginning at 6 a.m., got two tickets, took a nap and then went back that night refreshed and dressed up for the show (including a free dinner and dessert from the boyfriend because he owed me for waiting in line for 7 hours).
Below is an hour-by-hour play of the waiting in line part.
Hour 0 (5:30 a.m.):
Here I am, my first time! I got the day off, my water bottle, strawberries for snacks, my New York magazine, a book and my pillow pet to sit on. And I woke up at 5 a.m. and actually saw the sun coming up. What a perfect NY morning, the last time I got up this early was for Florence + the Machine on Good Morning America last summer, also in Central Park. I think there may be a common theme here on what I'm willing to wake up early for. For my own health is probably not one of them.
Hour 1 (6 a.m.):
I get to the park and I can't see anyone standing in line. Then I turn the curve...and there's about 100 people in the line ahead of me (including two people lying on air mattresses), but I can kind of make out the box office. Good sign! I lay out my giant plastic bag and put my pillow pet on top of that. I should have brought a picnic blanket.
5 minutes later...
I hope I don't have to go to the bathroom. Don't think about water, don't think about water...
|The 132 people ahead of me in Sondheim in the Park|
A Public Theater/Shakespeare & Sondheim in the Park worker told the crowd that we can only leave the line to go to the bathroom or to get concessions. So it's not like "Hands on a Hard Body"? Sweet!
But I'm still too paranoid because I haven't made contact with anyone around me yet. So I continue sitting there, not thinking about water. Or how much I miss coffee right now.
Maybe if I talk to someone, the time will go faster. And they can watch my stuff while I go to the bathroom! It looks like other people have the same idea because before long, five of us (three singles, one duo) start chatting.
One girl is telling us about how she lined up for Twelfth Night starring Anne Hathaway (and Raul Esparza and Audra McDonald), and even though she got there at 1 a.m. the night before, she did not get tickets. Then again, she showed up later in the run, something my editors at American Theatre warned me not to do.
Wow, I am really feeling that lack of caffeine right now. Coffee time. My new friends save my space in line, and watch my Actors Theatre of Louisville tote bag.
10 minutes later...
I'm not sure if this is a good latte or I'm just really caffeine deprived but damn, I needed that.
There's a kid going around counting the line. He's been there since 5:30 a.m. and according to him, I'm number 133! I think about whether or not I should have come even earlier. Then I brush the thought aside because waking up at 4 a.m. is just crazy.
There is a saxophonist playing show tunes. I somehow think that a group of sleep-deprived, money-addled theater people and theater lovers are not the best bunch to try and get money from. Though that's not a bad rendition of "At the Ballet" from "A Chorus Line."
There are still people coming. I kind of want to be a good citizen and ask them to just go home, it's not worth it....nah, they can just figure it out themselves.
That bowl of cereal I had at 5 a.m. is long gone by now. I really want food. I think I'll just lay down for a quick nap now that the grass is dry.
10 minutes later:
Alright, I'm over laying down on the ground. Ew.
That kid is back. And he's now charging $.50 for information about how long the line is. Sneaky...
The ladies of Manhattan Fruitier is giving out free, organic apples. I don't like apples (except in pastries) but I take one anyway, on principal.
Only 1 more hour left!
50 minutes later
Holy shit, this hour is going by slowly...this caffeine lull is a bitch. And I'm totally looking forward to that nap I'm going to take after this.
I get a free voucher to be an audience member for Katie Couric's new TV show. My water bottle leaks later in the afternoon and completely soaks my bag and the voucher. Apparently God does not want me to see Katie Couric in person...I can live with that.
Hour 8, 12 min in (1:12 p.m.):
I got them!!!!
|That was me when I got the tickets. There may have been singing.|
On the way back to my apartment for lunch and a nap, I doze off on the N train.
The next post will be about the show itself, which opens tonight. But in short, was it worth it and, most importantly, is it fair?
Scalpers aside, the system is fair because the people who want to see the show the most will figure out a way to see the show. It differentiates the fans (i.e. the one who loves the medium enough to wait in line for it) and the casual passerbyers (those who are willing to buy scalped tickets). Those who cannot get time off work can enter the virtual lottery (or find a good friend to stand in line and then buy them a dinner, or two). And the people who want to pay for it can avoid scalpers by making a donation to the Public in exchange for a seat (and a tax break). There's no excuse to support scalpers, especially not for a free show that was one of Joseph Papp's many beautiful babies.
And truly, nothing beats lounging in Central Park on a cool, sunny day, surrounded by funny people and petting the beautiful dogs that walk by. You can pretend you don't live in a city where there is noise, the smell of urine and inconsiderate people everywhere you go. And if you get hungry while sitting/laying/lounging in line, there's the concession stands and Andy's Deli delivers to the line.
Then again, considering the line for tonight's performance seems to have started at 11 p.m. last night, maybe it's best to just stay home and watch Into the Woods on Netflix.