Saturday, May 19, 2018

Theater - and how I got hooked

Years ago during the early stages of my career I worked in Midtown Manhattan, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Times Square. The TKTS office was relatively new then, and I had lots of excess money that I could spend on entertainment.

The first year that I worked in midtown, I would walk from 46th & 6th over to Duffy Square and see what half price offerings were available at the TKTS office. In the 1 and 1/2 years that I worked in that location, I saw "every" play on Broadway except for Evita. And in those days, tickets were relatively cheap compared to the stratospheric prices being charged now.
I can still remember seeing Barnum, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine, and others.  It was a great time to be young and have excess money after minimal expenses.

Getting hooked on good theater was easy. And I was hooked! Even after meeting my wife, we ended up seeing plays such as Cats. Both living and working put a damper on going to the theater for the two of us. So from the mid 1980's onward, I didn't see that many plays.  After my wife died, I ended up having Vicki as a theater companion. And we went to many plays together including Spamalot, Boeing Boeing, and Don't Dress for Dinner. Vicki once described me in a conversation at the theater as my straight best gay friend.  I was the fellow who'd accompany Vicki to events such as Broadway plays that her husband didn't want to attend.  Eventually, life got the better of Vicki. She had to become a chauffeur to get her husband to/from work for 3 years, as well as buying the next door house to keep a potential resident from complaining about her violation of a housing covenant. This deprived her of the money she needed to indulge in a theater habit. And there went a good theater partner.

Later on, when I was working in Downtown Manhattan in the early 2010's, I was able to take advantage of the 20@20 Off-Broadway deals that would come up in both Winter and Summer. One of those years, I ended up seeing 7 Off-Broadway plays in 20 days. It was a great time to be able to go to the theater. Off-Broadway is hit and miss at the best of times, and I've learned that the offerings available from 20@20 and other discount venues are not always winners. For each winner like Freud's Last Session or Curvy Widow, I have seen clinkers whose names I can't remember. But I always find it worth taking the chance to see something interesting.

Recently, HWV and I have gone to Off-Broadway plays together.  She has a busy schedule, and can only be counted on to be an infrequent attendee to the theater. If I had the money, I'd again be going to the TKTS office to buy half price Broadway tickets. And if I were 2 years older, I'd get a membership in the Theater Development Fund as being retired and not working.  (I can always change my mind about working, can't I?)  This would allow me to get "cheap" Broadway tickets again, and start seeing the entertainments I fell in love with as a young adult.  Hopefully, I can convince one of my friends who qualifies for TDF membership to join, and we can both go to the theater on a regular basis.

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