by Sami DeSocio
There are few things that put a bigger smile on my face than the smile of walking into a Broadway theater. There’s just something about it, like walking into another time and another place. Some of these theaters have been around since the early 1900s (whether they be under a different name) and are still standing today!
The ticket areas are often nothing more than a small hallway with a few windows against the walls. Of course, when the big, gold, heavy doors open it takes the mind a minute to acclimate to the new environment. The lighting is soft, the seats are plush, and the columns holding the place are as sturdy as the stage being performed on. I love the smell of the theater, and its something that even some of my theater friends think I’m crazy for! But, every theater has a very distinct smell, one of history, dust, paint, and memories of who knows how many shows!
Sitting in the seats and taking a look around, I always listen to conversations around me, some make me laugh and some make me want to turn around and correct someone! But no matter what, I always make sure to tune into the beauty of the theater. Often a good 1300-1400 seats all the way up to what looks like the rafters of the balcony seats.
The architecture of these buildings is absolutely stunning. Some even have wonderful murals on the ceiling. The experience is just one that can’t be duplicated-no matter how hard you try! Not saying other theaters around the world can’t be beautiful, and aren’t beautiful, I have a beautifully stunning theater practically in my backyard with the Count Basie Theater. But, there’s something different about a Broadway theater that everyone needs to experience if given the opportunity.
You can feel the electricity in the room, both from the stage itself, waiting for the actors to come play, from the audience buzzing about the different actors in the show, other shows they’ve seen and their excitement over what’s about to happen, to the building itself, holding all the history of previous shows.
When the lights finally dim, and the announcements are over, there’s this great beat of silence allowing everyone to take a breath and prepare themselves for the ride they are about to be taken on! Even from the outside these buildings tell a story. They display a picture of the cast, glowing reviews, and some of them even play music from the show to entice people to come inside. When La Cage Aux Folles was revived a few years ago, the theater they were at had a disco ball in front of their doors. Priscilla Queen of the Desert had Will Swenson’s image wrapped around the outside columns with the music from the show blaring out into the street. From the minute you walk through the doors to the minute you leave, being in a Broadway theater is something that everyone should experience at least once!
What’s your favorite theater? What did you see?