House Seats Started My Love of Theater

6 Nov

This weekend my husband and I attended a benefit concert at our synagogue. It was great. A four-piece band led by Neal Berg and five fantastic Broadway singers. They were focusing on the top 100 songs from Hollywood, with much overlap to Broadway musicals.   I knew every song. I was “in heaven.”

Why do I know so many Broadway melodies?   I could say it was because I was raised in New Jersey, in Hudson County just across the River from NYC,  giving me the opportunity to see shows. But I have to be more specific I think.   We have the fortunate luck of having an Uncle who was involved with the Broadway theaters. It made it much easier for us to get tickets in the time before on-line purchases.

I am sure my parents got our show tickets from him, as we went as a family to see “Fiddler,” “Man of La Mancha,” The Rothschilds,” “Pippin,” among other shows.  My Dad loved going to shows. And thanks to my Uncle, we often had house seats. In fact, it never occurred to me as a child that you did not sit in house seats. These were seats reserved in the front center. My Uncle could get us the best seats. And if we were not in the center, we were always in the Orchestra section.

I remember the awe of watching the actors and actresses on stage, listening to the live music and hearing the lovely voices. It was magic. I still get that feeling when I see a play.

My Uncle also provided all of his nieces and nephews, as well as his own children, tickets for a Broadway show each Hanukkah. That was truly wonderful. We almost always had the best seats. Except one time, when we were in the top balcony. I remember as we kept walking up and up and up, I turned to my cousin and complained, “What happened?” We found out later that our grandmother did not want us too close to the stage….It was “Hair” and the actors disrobed.   Maybe she thought we would race to the stage.

My original Playbill from Hair as well as the flyer I picked up at the theater.

This memory came back to me on Saturday night when the musicians ended their performance with a rousing rendition of “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine.”   I was moved back in time. It was December 1971. I was 16, a junior in high school,  and I was in the Biltmore Theater seeing “HAIR!” “Aquarius” was my lucky song growing up.   I was born under this astrological sign. So I believed whenever this song played, something good was about to happen. And yes, something I was hoping for did occur the next day.

When I met my husband, he had never been to a Broadway show. Makes sense, he was born and raised in the Midwest. But the first time he came East, when we were engaged, I changed his world.   I called my Uncle and asked if he could get us seats for “They’re Playing Our Song,” with Lucie Arnez and Robert Klein, at the Imperial Theater. It was the hottest show. My Uncle did it. I took Jay. But for the first time, I actually paid for the house seats. Ouch!!! But it was worth every penny! My husband loved it as well.

I am glad he caught the ‘bug.’ I love shows. We have season tickets for three different production companies. I used to have four, but gave up a summer series this year after 32 years, as we travel too much in the summers.   There are many shows I have seen a number of times. But I don’t care.   Most shows I don’t mind seeing several times.   There are just a few I am done with seeing. And only two that I never want to see again. I still try to see a show on Broadway at least once a year!
Seeing a show takes you away from the world for a few hours. Just like a book, it moves you across time and location into someone else’s world. I thank my parents and my Uncle for giving me the gift of musicals and drama.   I was glad that my husband and I passed this gift on to our children. The memory of sitting in House Seats with be with me forever.

9 Responses to “House Seats Started My Love of Theater”

  1. mphadventuregirl November 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    I was raised on musicals so I was able to grow into the love. I am from North Carolina and in 2006, my mom took me to New York to see Wicked on Broadway and that show sparked my love for musicals. Later when the Les Mis movie came out in 2012, I would watch it and become a true fan early 2013 and that musical turned my love of musicals into a passion.

    So Wicked, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Pippin, Newsies, Rent, Beauty and the Beast, Annie, and Sound of Music are examples of musicals I love

    • zicharon November 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

      All of those are excellent. I remember seeing Wicked with my children. I live in Kansas now, so it made a big impression. Glad you have the passion!

      • mphadventuregirl November 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

        I saw Wicked four times and Les Mis five times so those two are quite important.

        Wicked sparked my love for musicals considering the fact that I was 12 when I first saw Wicked. Through that musical, I began to understand the emotional and complex side of musicals. I realized I am more drawn towards complex plots where romance, comedy, positive and negative emotions and strong emotional connections exist. Spectacle and dance is definitely a bonus for sure.

        Les Mis went against everything I grew up on. Growing, I really thought all musicals were happy. Les Mis showed me that tragic musicals exist and showed me that musical emotions are way more capable than I thought they would be. I realized just how blind I was to heartbreak.

        The meaningful musicals are very important.

      • zicharon November 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

        Into the woods by Sondheim is great example of excellent play with a twisted and twisting plot. Not happy… as in be careful what you wish for.

      • mphadventuregirl November 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

        Musicals are unique for their spectacle, dance, romance, and the emotional natures of the different songs. To tell a story through song, dance, and spectacle is quite a powerful thing

  2. Amy November 6, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

    I have so many reactions. First, I don’t recall The Rothschilds. Second, we were married in 1976 and after the ceremony, we walked out to “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine,” which was perfect for the cloudy day that almost ruined our chance for an outdoor ceremony. Third, how fortunate you were to have this connection. The first Broadway play I saw was when I was thirteen—Man of La Mancha—and I saw it on some group trip long after the starting cast had left. The first musical I saw anywhere was on the Cape when I was ten—Oklahoma! I was spellbound. Now musicals are so expensive that we only go if it’s something we really want to see. The last one we saw was the latest revival of Fiddler. It was fabulous. We generally see regular plays—cheaper and also many musicals have been real disappointments (In the Heights, On the Town, for example).

    So are you going to tell us which one you wouldn’t see again?

    • zicharon November 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

      There are two. Gypsy. I find it a horrible story about a parent verbally abusing a child. The music is wonderful. The story makes me so sad. A Kiss is The Spiderwoman. An important story I am sure, but a most disturbing play. I still go to at least one show on Broadway each year with my sister. This year it was Come From Away. Excellent. .

      • Amy November 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

        That’s on our list!

  3. zicharon November 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    Kiss of the Spider Woman. Sorry typo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: