Monday, October 01, 2007

Ever Had A Front Row Seat?

Ever Had A Front Row Seat?

Last week's discussion on where you prefer to sit when taking in live theatre got me to reminiscing about all the shows I've seen from a front row vantage point.

Among the Broadway shows: Spring Awakening (Lilli Cooper practically sang to me), Our Town (Paul Newman as the narrator towered directly over me for a significant portion of the show), The Boy From Oz, Rent, Xanadu (I could have reached out and touched Kerry Butler and Cheyenne Jackson as they were perched on the edge of the stage) and Long Day's Journey Into Night (Robert Sean Leonard's off-stage gaze seemed to be staring straight through me) .

Topping them all was when I took in the excellent 2004 revival of Assassins. My front row center seat at Studio 54 literally placed me face to face with Neil Patrick Harris, who looked straight into my eyes as he sang part of one of the show's tunes. Talk about riveting.

While I'm sure there's more, those are the ones that sprang to mind. My positioning certainly made a difference in how I viewed each show literally and figuratively.

How about for you?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Where's Your Best Seat In The House? (September 26, 2007)
Xanadu (The SOB Review) (July 11, 2007)
Spring Awakening (The SOB Review) (March 3, 2007)
Flashback: Best of 2002-03 (May 25, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2003-04 (May 25, 2006)

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At 01 October, 2007, Anonymous Eric at said...

Beauty and the Beast--that's a big show to be in the front row of!

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice--a character throws up at one point, and I barely missed being...well you get the picture.

My Thing of Love--a little too close for comfort as Laurie Metcalf destroyed the set with a rowing oar.

At 01 October, 2007, Blogger Esther said...

Like I said earlier, I was shocked to find myself so close to the stage at "A Moon for the Misbegotten."

My seat was in the middle of Row A, but on the seating chart for the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, that's actually the third row, behind AAA and AA. At least I thought it was. I also thought the stage would be farther away from the first row of seats and up higher.

As it turned out, while technically I was in the second row, the first row was a short one, so there was no seat in front of me. And I was so close to the stage, I could almost have reached out and touched it from my seat. (Don't worry, I didn't!)

I've seen all of Kevin Spacey's movies, so when he came out on stage about a half-hour into the play, it was just amazing to be so close. There he was, right in front of me, right before my eyes. And I know that at one point, he looked right at me. It was magical. Talk about an incredible first Broadway experience!

At 01 October, 2007, Blogger Mondschein said...

I sat first row on the aisle for Bernadette's "Gypsy." Not only could I have goosed Ms. Peters on her way up the stairs on her first entrance (from which I restrained myself), I got to answer Gypsy's question, "Do you know what an ecdysiast is?" during the Act II strip sequence.

I was on the second row for "The Violet Hour" before Jasmine Guy's "illness" pulled her from the show. I never realized that being miscast qualified as a disease. Say what you will about Mario Cantone - the part was written for him.

I was on the first row for "The Full Monty" - Patrick Wilson - say no more.

At 01 October, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an embarassing experience at "Spring Awakening"...We were sitting front row center and my friend who was sitting next to me kept dozing off...Talk about embarassing!

At 02 October, 2007, Blogger Interval Drinks said...

I've sat on a number of cool front rows. Saw Kevin Spacey in National Anthems (excellent in an otherwise pretty mediocre play). A pre-Donnie Darko Jake Gyllenhall in This Is Our Youth and a so-so Jude Law in a so-so prodction of Dr Faustus (close enough to see the spit spray, which it did with alarming regularity). Oh, and one that perhaps you have to be English to appreciate: the wonderful John Simm in Elling.

While proximity to the action has its perks, the front row does not always make for the best seats. A lot of West End stages are quite high, so those in front really have to crane their necks. Also, the night I saw Avenue Q, a malfunctioning smoke machine saw the front row engulfed in clouds of smoke.

At 02 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Eric, Did you wonder if you'd get oared or vomited upon? Did it enhance your theatregoing experience?

Esther, your experience probably helped seal the deal on your first Broadway outing, didn't it?!

Mondschein, I'm hoping you resisted in goosing Ms. Peters. Kudos to you for injecting yourself into one strip act while resisting doing so with another.

Anonymous, how on earth could anyone fall asleep during Spring Awakening?!

Natasha, I know what you mean about those London stages. I was in the front row for By The Bog Of Cats (with Holly Hunter) a couple years ago and know I missed some things. Last December in Sydney, we had front-row center seats for Priscilla Queen Of The Desert and missed one entire number because our sightlines were obscured by the staging.

At 02 October, 2007, Blogger LizG said...

I've always avoided the front rows for fear (yes, fear) of having one of the actors look straight at or through me. Based on what I've read here, though, I've just added this practice as one of the experiences I'll add on my life's to-do-list... :)

I'll keep you posted...



At 03 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Maxie, It's a great experience. Very worth doing at least once!

At 15 October, 2007, Blogger Rocco said...

TOMMY - Sally Simpson stood on the chair next to me. Heaven!

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS - Sherie Rene Scott looked at me when I laughed at her jokes too much.

HAIRSPRAY (original cast) - the front row changed my life

At 15 October, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Rocco - A life changing experience? Tell more, please. Of course, I'd probably pass out if Sherie Renee Scott looked right at (through) me.


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