Monday, May 28, 2007


I had a vague plan for my weekend hanging out with Dr. Roo in New York, and it included such activities as going to Ellis Island and maybe seeing a musical. Well, in the end, we skipped the historical destination and saw, um, three shows. This picture is of a girl running back and forth between the cancellation line and the ticket lottery line for Wicked.

Here's what we saw, in order of excellence (and, coincidentally, in the order we saw them):

1. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This show is outstanding. Hi-larious. Tons of dumb jokes (and who doesn't love dumb jokes?) and for every show, they put four audience members on stage until they spell a word wrong. As long as they're on stage, they take part in dance numbers and everything. It was excellent. I was not picked to spell (sad), but I would have gotten most of the words, including the allegedly impossible word they used to kick the last audience member off. If indeed it was a real word. But I knew it started with an X. Anyway, we got crappy half-price tickets from TKTS, but it's such a small theater that even the crappy seats are good.

2. Wicked. Good times. For this one, I stood in the ticket lottery line (they draw names for 26 really good tickets a couple of hours for the show, $26 each) and Dr. Roo stood in the cancellation line. Ok, so, several hundred people put their names in for those 26 tickets, and I was not one of the one picked. But we got in on cancellation tickets and sat 10 rows from the front of the middle, and it rocked. Expensive, but totally worth it. A giant mechanical dragon moves around above the stage, and flying monkeys swing over the audience. No way not to love that. Oddly, it is not that much like the book.

3. Rent. I really, really wanted to love this musical. In fact, I still think it's a great musical. But this production has been going for more than 10 years now, and it's pretty tired. Our seats (half-price, TKTS) were way the heck up in the balcony on the side with terrible leg room, and it just felt far away. Also? The sound was terrible. You couldn't understand more than about a quarter of the lyrics, and if I hadn't already known the show, I don't think I could have followed it. And our tickets were originally $100 each. That's just not cool for bad sound and a mediocre performance.

So from this I believe the lessons are: spring for good seats unless the show you want to see is in a tiny theater, preferably cancellation seats because rich people cancel; don't see shows that have been on forfreakinever; and go see the spelling bee show, because it's awesome.

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