Have you heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need? It’s a psychological theory on human motivation that includes things like safety, self-actualization, and love/belonging. I think my hierarchy would include a segment for theatre tickets. I’m not saying a big piece… but still a piece. In the past few years regular concerts have lost the power that they once had for me, but Broadway has inched its way into their place because they offer a more immersive experience, since it’s hard to find at a concert unless I invest the effort to be front row, which I do for the right artist.
Theatre tickets are expensive, though, so what I’m willing/able to pay varies pretty heavily by my interest in the particular show…. It’s a whole other Hierarchy of Need. For example, I LOVE Hamilton, but I can’t bring myself to pay $250 for the last row of the balcony with the current cast. However I would have done it a year ago, if I could have, with the original cast. I did willing spend $150 to see Brenden Urie in Kinky Boots from the second row of the mezzanine…. Even though I was just in New York three weeks ago and swore I wasn’t going back for a while so that I could go somewhere new. Listen to “Soul of a Man” and imagine him singing it and you’ll understand.
This isn’t new for me. I’ve done trips to New York just to see Broadway shows before; twice each for American Idiot and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I’ve also tacked a show on anywhere I could on other visits. When I travel I’m usually trying to find the cheapest way to get through the day, including 99 cent slices of pizza, and that extends to theatre tickets, too. Below is the result of years or experience and research on how to get myself in to the shows I love, even when I’m broke.
This is long overdue since I was in Minneapolis in early March, but I’m going to play the better late than never card. I’ve also made two trips since then and I’ve decided I’m not allowed to post about them until posted about this one.
It’s 9:02 on Sunday morning.
I waddle up the street, in layers of coat, sweater, leggings, and more to protect my week southern constitution against the Minnesota winter, the added layers and my yet-to-be-broken-in Dr. Martens accentuating my penguin like physique and gate. I’m trying to walk quickly and failing. After arguing with myself on the merits of a giant breakfast vs my warm bed followed by two wrong turns the less than one mile walk from the hotel, I am late. They opened at 9:00.
The skinny store front of Al’s Breakfast occupies a former ally between two much larger buildings, one also serving breakfast. Despite being open a mere two minutes, all 14 stools running longways through the center of the scant 10 feet wide storefront appear to be taken and a line of 15 more is waiting along the wall behind the diners. After following Butch Walker around the country and spending as much as 12 hours in line in a single day, I am a pro at waiting in line and I am ready to do my time as I take in my surroundings.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have possibly less-than-healthy love for the Muppets. When I saw Steve Whitmire (voice of Kermit after Jim Henson’s death) and he pulled out Kermit I broke down in happy tears that I battled for more than an hour. I very vividly remember imagining meeting Kermit or just being in the room with him when I was a kid, and here I was in the room with the frog himself.
Soooo, one of the many research k-holes that I went down when planning my 3 days of wandering around New York had to be The Muppets. I found the brilliant tour of New York on Tough Pigs, but some of it was on the older side so I wasn’t sure what shape some of the locations were in currently. One morning I got up early and took myself on a hike with my Muppet’s playlist, a chocolate croissant, and the sweet, sweet nectar of life that is New York street cart coffee.
Despite never seeing it performed, I have a love for Hamilton: An American Musical that can only be described as obsessive. Fanatical. Compulsive. Enthusiastic. Rabid. All-consuming.
Ok, there are more than a few words for it. There are jokes among friends and co-workers that it’s all I talk about and the three magic words in my world *might* be Lin-Manuel Miranda (Seriously, a co-worker said them yesterday to talk about Moana and my ears perked up.). This extends to the mix tape that just came out yesterday (I’m slightly obsessed with “An Open Letter,” “Congratulations,” “Wait for It,” and “Burn”. I was already in love with early releases “Satisfied” and “It’s Quiet Uptown.” )
I can’t explain any of it, either. I’m not really an American history buff and while I can obsessively research dozens of musical genres, I am woefully uninformed on hip-hip, beyond the standard surface history that I’ve picked up from a lifetime of rock docs. I liked In the Heights, but I didn’t LOVE it. But still, it makes my heart beat a little bit fuller.
So yes, I entered the lottery for all four performances while I was in New York. Each day the time leading up to the close of the lottery was nerve-wracking. “I know it won’t happen, but what if it does?” Sitting in a matinee of Waitress, which is brilliant, didn’t even calm my fears. As the close of the show and lottery approached the announcement that it was against New York state law to use cell phones during Broadway performances was echoing in my ears. “What if I won?! What if the show runs long and I miss the one hour window to buy $10 my ticket?!”
“It’s the Vinyl Countdown!”
Go home. It’s over. Charleston’s The Vinyl Countdown has won for best record store ever. There is no contest.
I don’t normally go for the place that gets all of the attention from the food and travel shows, even as much as I love Anthony Bourdain and Adam Richman, because they rarely live up to the hype, but while I was in Charleston with a herd of fellow Butch Walker fans for his show at the Pour House we decided to visit the Hominy Grill for breakfast.
Today I started the serious planning for my trip to New York and Boston in November. You know, the reserving hostels, shopping flights, scoping out the daily itineraries. The fun stuff for compulsive planners like myself.
It’s going to cost more than I would like, between $850 and $1000, depending on how frugally I eat and shop. I ruled out a week in Hawaii with my BFF because it was going to be about that much after all of her travel hook ups and I couldn’t justify the cost. But I’m still going to New York and Boston. Why that over Hawaii? For me, if I don’t come home from a vacation more exhausted then when you left than you’re doing it wrong. I want adventure. I don’t want to sit on a beach. I want to come home with stories.
It occurred to me that this trip is the perfect example of why I’m probably never going to own a house and a picture perfect grown-up life. I would much rather rent a room for my real life and go on adventures instead of paying a mortgage. I know I should probably leave the money in savings, where it sits in my Digit account, or use it to pay off debt (Which I am whittling away at, by the way.).