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.
They shuffle along, unaware of the people around them. Deaf to conversation and “excuse me’s”. Bobbing and weaving to squeeze their way past their brethren to get a better view. All with the same singular focus.
The audio tour.
I don’t get terribly excited about birthdays. I’ve had some great ones, but for the most part they have a way of disappointing you since they’re an opportunity for people you care about to disappoint you by not showing up. I decided to skip all of that this year and runaway for the weekend. Specifically the BFF and I had grand plans of stowing away on a plane to somewhere fun (thanks, buddy passes), but apparently the rest of the world had the same idea for their long Presidents Day weekend so all of the flights were full.
We refused to give up on a weekend of adventure and while deciding on a roadtrip destination I landed on an idea; to ring in #32like12. Instead of attempting to have a glamorous grown up trip, which to be honest doesn’t appeal to me at all, I would do the silly things that I would have loved as a kid, starting with the primary goal of the trip – to swim with manatees at Crystal River.
Apparently I am a total cliche, so I’m taking the first of the year as an opportunity to take some writing classes and try out some new techniques. Below is one of my first stabs at one of them.
The smell of deep fryers and a hint of sweetness hang in the air with the din of conversation as we line up behind 10 or so other hungry people at the dingy beige counter. Overhead is a menu board offering “BREAKFAST (with gravy)”.
It is New Years Eve and we’re in Connie’s Fried Chicken in Tupelo, Mississippi and we’re here in search of biscuits and gravy. We’re in town on an overnight pit stop on a journey to Clarksdale for a holiday weekend of blues and barbeque. I settled on Connie’s after stumbling upon beautiful pictures of fried chicken on one of several travel sites that I read obsessively and was immediately in love.
“Oh my god, look at those doughnuts. Can we move to Tupelo?”
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?!”