My playwright-friend, Albee, emails me that I must see a great play, the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. Well aware that I don’t have a pot to piss in, he tips me off that first row orchestra rush seats are available at 10 am on the day of the performance for $26.50. This prompts me to consider departing from my usual Saturday ritual of sleeping until noon. I call my equally impoverished sidekick, Milton. If I make the pilgrimage in the frigid cold for a pair of these prize ducats, does he want to see this show?
Milton says that he is building shelving to hold his computer since Dell is making a house call to swap out his defective hard drive. Going that extra mile for company is something I can relate to well. I once laid a new carpet in time for a visit from the cable guy. Milton declares that if I am willing to brave the elements for these tickets, he’ll hit the pause button on the shelving to join me for this play.
Although during the workweek it is a struggle for me to regain consciousness in the morning, when the alarm rings at daybreak this Saturday, I bolt out of bed with such vigor, my feet seem encased in Acme brand spring shoes. Being on a mission for bargain rate theater tickets is energizing, even though I’m certain that I’ll be the first in line looking like the biggest nerd in New York. I make sure I’m clad entirely in black.
I walk up West 48th Street en route to the Cort Theater at 9 am, confident that I will easily snag a pair of rush seats. Milton and I have good karma. We both donated to Haiti. When I reach the theater I count fourteen people already standing in line. This is worrisome.
I know that the first row seats eleven and there are two shows today. I whip out my portable abacus and quickly do the math. If each of the fourteen standing in the cue ahead of me get two rush seats, that’s twenty-eight tickets for twenty-two seats. My confidence wanes significantly.
Over the course of the hour, the line triples in size and I know there is no way there will be rush seats for all. Part of me thinks it is best to look at this situation philosophically, “You can’t always get what you want.” The rest of me anticipates getting screwed. I could still be home in bed getting my average looks rest.
The Cort opens the box office doors about five minutes early. Those of us standing in the first two thirds of the line enter the heated lobby so we can escape the 30-degree air, thaw, and in my case, brood. A box office window opens, and the race for rush tickets begins, or does it? People are negotiating dates and times. This makes no sense to me, but do I care? They’re not going for the rush seats! Oh happy day! Then, a jovial young woman a few places ahead of me, the self-appointed authority on rush ticket seating, is compelled to announce, “People, you can get rush tickets for $26.50!”
I am not by nature a violent person, but if there is ever a time when I would like to beat someone maniacally with a rolled up copy of The New Yorker and shout, “Stick a sock in it!” this is the moment. Yet, outwardly, I remain the portrait of patience, even as the two math majors ahead of me reach the window to debate with the weary ticket seller the difference between a $26.50 rush orchestra seat and a $126.50 orchestra seat. Miraculously, a second box office window opens, and it is my turn.
I step up and ask the ticket seller if two rush seats together are still available for either of today’s performances? He says, “Yeah, for the matinee. You want ‘em?” I say, “Yeah.” He says, “$53.” I hand him the cash, he hands me two tickets for dead center first row seats. I am so elated I cannot contain my glee. Therefore, I quickly have sex with our tickets before walking past the other ticket seller who is placing his head in a noose as the math majors yammer, “You’re not explaining this rush ticket seating policy properly at all.”
I return home, call Milton with the good news, and then devour a three-pound buttermilk craisin biscuit washed down with a gallon of tea. The biscuit sits in my gut like an island. I pop a fistful of Rolaids and then head back down to the Cort Theater where I meet Milton.
Once inside the theater, sitting in our perfect view front row seats, I feel good and my massive indigestion dissipates. Milton declares, “If we sat any closer, we’d earn Equity cards.” Then, the lights lower. Milton jabs me in the arm in excitement and for the next two hours and fifteen minutes we sit rapt and see one of the most stellar productions on Broadway this season.
I cannot comment on the play since there is nothing remotely lame about it. Milton could barely toss a barb in ScarJo’s direction. He said, “She didn’t ruin it.”