Friday, July 17, 2009

Broadway Follies

I've been cleaning out my documents in Word and I found this assignment from my senior seminar for magazine writing. Thought I would share -- it's a pretty funny story and I good memory of a time with Mom!


The sweet, salty smell of popcorn permeated the air. Bright yellow cabs honked loudly as they whizzed down the streets. The sights, sounds and smells of the Big Apple overwhelmed me as I walked into the Ambassador Theater on 49th Street in New York City. I could hardly contain my excitement. I was going to see Chicago on Broadway! I had seen the film version of the musical four times in the movie theater. I bought the DVD the day of its release, and watched it so much that, if it would have been a VHS, I would have worn out the tape.

My La Salle friends had chipped in to buy me a ticket for my 19th birthday. They also bought an extra ticket so that my mother could go with me. My friend, Tina, had gotten the tickets from her brother who lives in the city.

Standing in a long line to enter the theater, I could hear the music coming from inside. I was clutching the white envelope that held our tickets in one hand, and grabbing my mom’s arm with the other. I felt more like a kid entering Disney World than a college student about to have a sophisticated theater experience.

We finally got to the front of the line, and a large man dressed in a security uniform looked at our tickets, ripped them and gave them back. We went into the clean, expensive-looking building and elbowed our way through the crowded lobby and gift shop areas. Before we entered the theater, an usher looked at our tickets again and directed us to our seats. We went up a flight of red-carpeted stairs to the upper level.

My mom found our seats easily. They were in the first row of the balcony section. Even more excited than I was before, I reveled in the fact that we had an outstanding view, and then became engrossed in my Playbill.

A few moments later, an elderly couple approached us. The woman, who was barely over five feet, had huge glasses and a big pearl necklace, was clinging to her thin, sickly-looking husband.

“You’re sitting in our seats!” the older man said, waving his tickets in our faces. The veins in his forehead looked like they were going to explode as he yelled at us.

My usually calm and polite mother jumped up, her silver bracelets clanging together loudly, and told the man that these were definitely our seats. The usher had even showed us where our seats were, my mom said. The elderly man just shook his head and said again that these seats belonged to him and his wife. His wife looked upset, and she clutched her necklace.

In the meantime, a different usher came up and asked what the problem was. We told him that we both had tickets for these seats.

“Let me see both sets of tickets,” he said in an authoritative voice, crossing his arms over his chest.

My mother and I gave him our tickets, as did the elderly couple. After examining them for a few moments, the usher laughed and shook his head.

“Yeah, you all have tickets for these seats, but yours are for tomorrow,” he said, turning to me and my mother.

I slapped my hand to my forehead, horrified. It was then that I realized that I had never really looked at the tickets, and neither had my mother. I had somehow confused the dates and was sure Tina had told me the show was on Saturday. But sure enough, after we left our seats and got our tickets back, we noticed that it said “SUNDAY” on them.

My mother and I looked at each other, both of us mortified. Her cheeks were rosy with embarrassment, and I’m sure mine were as well. She then explained to the usher that we were from Pennsylvania, had taken a bus to get here and would not be able to come back tomorrow for the show. The usher told us to speak with the house manager, a younger woman with curly brown hair.

After explaining the situation to her, she told us we could stand at the back of the rows on the ground level. So I stood in my uncomfortable heels for the first ninety minutes, not even able to tap my feet to “All That Jazz” because I was so embarrassed. Not only was I sure that blisters were forming on my feet, but I couldn’t see a thing from where we were standing. Roxie Hart looked like a little blonde blurb to me. I longed from the view we would have had from our seats in the balcony.

But our embarrassing mishap had its benefits, surprisingly. During intermission, the house manager came up to us and said, “Two people in the second row never showed up. Feel like sitting down?” she said, smiling.

We couldn’t believe it as an usher brought us to the second row on the ground level. We sat in the comfortable red seats, turned to each other and laughed at our bizarre luck. A heavy man sitting next to me turned and said in an excited voice, “Guys, you missed the first act! It was amazing!” I had to stifle my giggle and resisted the urge to tell him about my mistake.