It’s not every day a ticket to a major award-winning Broadway show — with the original cast — falls into your lap. It’s never happened to me. My husband bought tickets to see Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun for my birthday a few years ago. By the time our show date came around, Peters had left the cast and been replaced with none other than Cheryl Ladd. It was a fine show, but I feel compelled to point out that anything Bernadette Peters can do, Cheryl Ladd cannot do better.
Last week a friend of mine, who will remain unidentified, bought a front-row seat to Spamalot from a colleague for $30, a considerable bargain for an off-Broadway show, let alone a ticket worth … what was it? … $240 or something? She had a scheduling conflict, apparently, the poor thing. So, hooray for my friend.
The social conventions of tourism being what they are, it’s reasonable to expect that much of the audience of any given show will be wearing t-shirts and blue jeans. There’s a certain casualness about a night out on the town these days. That’s fine. It’s Spamalot, not the La Traviata. But there are certain things I would not recommend doing in the front row at a major Broadway production.
For example: Eating a Quarter Pounder and a four-piece Chicken McNugget during the show!
However, this is precisely what my friend did. He didn’t have time to eat before the show, and apparently, he didn’t want to wait until intermission to eat a cold hamburger.
After being roundly admonished for this, he tried to defend himself.
No one knew! he said.
He described to us how he ripped the burger up into pieces in its package inside his backpack and only extracted one bite-sized morsel at a time. I give him credit for discretion, but the fact remains: He was chowing down on fast food in the front row in plain view of hundreds of people and the actors on stage.
Besides that, didn’t someone smell it? Someone in the front row must have been wondering where the scent of grilled beef and fried chicken was coming from in the first act.
I mean, even Spam is mostly pork, so it couldn’t have been a special effect for the show!
But no one smelled it! he said.
I’m not so sure. McDonald’s has a distinctive odor. It’ll stink up a subway car. I can tell from down the hall if someone has a McDonald’s take-out at lunch time.
He told us that David Hyde Pierce looked at him during the performance. I don’t doubt it. Maybe he was amused by my friend — or maybe he was just hungry. (“Are you finished with that?”)
I can just imagine him on a talk show or in a magazine interview talking in his clipped, erudite way about memorable moments from the run of the show.
“… Yes, and believe it or not, there was a guy one night in the front row who had brought McDonald’s to the show. And he actually ate it during the show …”
Not a bad deal for my friend. Cheap and easy notoriety for less than $5.