Monday, April 20, 2009

33 Variations

Before seeing 33 Variations, Moises Kaufman's play exploring why Ludwig van Beethoven composed the titular arrangements seems like a big "No, thank you." But sometimes we have to look deeper to find the gem that lies within something. Kaufman and Beethoven did the same thing.

I took a chance by arriving at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre at 9 a.m. to wait for rush tickets, instead of the more customary (and safe) 8 a.m. I didn't think the billing of Jane Fonda would pull a big audience from people my age, and the play has been performing to average house capacities of under 58 percent for the past four weeks. Those factors make for no guarantee that there won't be a... well, rush for rush, but in this case, my guess was accurate. Only two other rushers joined me in line a few minutes before the box office opened. 33 Variations participates in the rare policy of only distributing one rush ticket per valid ID. Who goes to see a play alone?! Yes, I often do; but attending a theater performance is usually a social event, which a rush policy shouldn't hinder. In addition, the ticket price is $30 - an annoying $4.50 above the standard amount. However, the tickets are in the front row, center section. I was shocked they were giving those seats for this play. The view was fantastic, and being that close to a film legend like Fonda was a special experience.

Friday, April 10, 2009

reasons to be pretty

At a time in our culture when the man-boy is king at the box office, it seems to be the hip thing to discover what makes a man like this and what does it take for him to shake the first part of that moniker. reasons to be pretty is Neil LaBute's take on the man boy, and how to smack the child right out of him (perhaps literally).

The student rush policy for reasons to be pretty states that the tickets go on sale two hours prior to the performance. I arrived at the Lyceum Theatre at 5 p.m., book in hand, ready to wait an hour for tickets to be released (hoping I'd be permitted to wait in the lobby instead of under the threatening clouds). I went to the ticket window to check that there were rush tickets available for the performance and the attendant surprisingly initiated the transaction - an hour early. That's not the policy, but I'm certainly not going to complain. I was in and out, $26.50 third row balcony seat in hand. That's the third tier in the Lyceum, which is so high and steep that it makes my palms sweat. The seats weren't bad, but for a play that's been playing to 42 percent attendance for the past three weeks, I'd have thought rush seats would have been closer. However, the producers seem quite discount friendly; in addition to the student rush policy, there are show promoters around Times Square offering $35-ticket coupons to the production.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guys and Dolls

Guys and Dolls is a big musical. It's got big orchestrations, big scenery, big characters, and a big history. So in its third iteration on Broadway, it's surprising that what keeps this classic afloat are the minor details.

I arrived at the Nederlander Theatre (gorgeously renovated, post Rent) just before 8:30 a.m. I was alone in line and remained so until I was joined by three other rushers just before the box office opened. Why such a slow rush day for this show? It's a little odd, since during the month of March, Guys and Dolls sold 91.6 percent of its tickets. It was chilly, but being that it's now April (yay spring!!) it was an easier haul. At 10 a.m., the box office opened and I picked up my $26.50 ticket for what was one of the best seats I've ever had for a show, with or without rush. Mezzanine, fourth row, dead center. It was probably one of the few times I've ever felt guilty sitting among all those patrons that paid top dollar. At $26.50, with seats like this, and a two-ticket option - this seems to be the rush to beat this season.

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