At the TKTS discount ticket booth:
“How do the seats for How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying look?”
“Two seats, back two rows, left. Eh.”
“What about On a Clear Day You Can See Forever?”
“Obstructed view. Wouldn’t take them.”
“Only one seat left.”
“Rock of Ages?”
We looked at each other. “We’ll take the two seats to How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.” Rachel made a comment about being too close to the stage; I interpreted the dealer’s comment as being at the rear of the theatre. We looked at the tickets. She was right. Row B. When we took our seats, I thought, “Wow. We’re close. Really close. Six feet from the stage close.” Close enough that when the actors came on stage, we could see their mic wiring. And how much they sweated. And, once or twice, could make eye contact.
The story was campy. A throwback to 1960’s corporate culture. A story where a window washer follows the advice of a book (How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying) and climbs up the corporate ladder, getting both the girl and the corner office. A time when men hired secretaries on the basis on their looks, nepotism was the norm, and a woman’s ensemble included gloves and a matching pillbox hat.
It took me but just a moment to get past the fact that Harry Potter was the main character. Okay, not Harry Potter, but Daniel Radcliffe, best known as the actor who plays Harry Potter in the movie series. The songs had me seat dancing and singing along. And laughing. Where else but on Broadway do you get a full-blown number about the psychological benefits of the coffee break? Or reasons why your secretary is not a toy? Or dreams of waiting for your future husband, the successful businessman, and having the opportunity to keep his meal warm?
After the final curtain call and standing ovation, Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette appeared on stage, announcing cast members would be taking donations for the non-profit Broadway Cares after the show. “I’m auctioning this bow tie (he took his bow tie off), with the results going to Broadway Cares. Who would like to start the bidding?” The first bidder bid $50 and the bids quickly escalated into the hundreds. And then the thousands. Radcliffe threw in a back stage meeting with the himself and Larroquette. The price rose several hundreds of dollars. The final bid was $3,500. Radcliffe paused. “Would anyone match that bid, for the bow tie that I wore during the first act?” Silence. Then a woman’s voice from the fourth row clearly offered, “Thirty five hundred dollars.” Two bow ties, five minutes, seven thousand dollars for charity.
Rachel and I looked at each other. Best night ever at the theater.