As we handed our tickets to the usher I heard the usher in the next aisle suggest that people check their cell phones with their coats. Ummm, I think not, I thought to myself. Patti may be a diva but she can’t demand everyone do that. I am not checking my $600 phone.
Patti would be Patti Lupone, Broadway legend. She’s pretty infamous for flipping out on people who use cell phones during a performance so my friends and I knew that we would be leaving our phones in our bags. If, by some chance, we didn’t know about her hatred of phones the humungous signs throughout the theater reminded us that photos and recordings were strictly prohibited. No lie, the placards had to be 5 feet tall.
As we made our way to our seats an usher walked over to us and said, “Welcome! Let me just go over the rules with you.”
We laughed. “Oh, we know. No cell phones or Patti will flip out!”
The usher looked at us very seriously. “Yes, that’s correct. Also, you may leave to use the bathroom during the 1st, 2nd, or 4th song. If you need to enter or leave any other time you will not be permitted to return to the theater until intermission. After intermission you can only leave and return during the 4th song.”
We stared at her. Then one of my friends burst out laughing. The usher sighed and told us she was not kidding.
These were the rules Patti Lupone set for her show. The usher made it clear they were not rules the theater agreed with but they had no choice. I assume that the rules were a surprise as there was no mention of the house closing once the show started anywhere on the tickets or website.
Needless to say, it was a stressful show. Every time someone sneezed, coughed, or rustled around in their bag my friends and I would stiffen up. Would this be the moment Patti Lupone stormed off stage? Let me tell you, that’s no way to experience a concert. I’m completely supportive of the no cell phones rule and I understand not letting people come and go during quiet moments or specific big numbers. But controlling exactly when people go to the bathroom?! This does not make for an enjoyable concert. Plus, what if you were an attendee with a medical issue? Or a small bladder?
I felt awful for the older couple behind us. They used the restroom during intermission but then during the 4th song in the second act they left to use the bathroom again. They were one seat from the aisle and the woman in that aisle seat yelled at them when they excused themselves. Then when the ushers let them return she cursed at them and told them they should not have attended the concert and that “….you should have used the bathroom during intermission. That’s what intermission is for!”
Can you believe that? Just another reason the concert was stressful. I felt awful for that poor couple. (Luckily, when the concert ended my friends leaned back and told the couple not to worry about, that woman was completely out of line. We didn’t realize she was still there until she snapped at us, “Well you talked too much!”. My friend was this close to saying to her, “Who do you think you are, Patti Lupone?!”)
The good news is that it was worse the price of admission just to hear Patti Lupone perform “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina!”. I listened to the Evita cast recording for years in middle and high school and I may have cried when she sang it last night. It was an incredible moment. The only song that came close to matching it was when she sang “Being Alive” from Company.
Patti Lupone is an amazing singer and a huge diva. The concert is full of songs from musicals she was cast in that never made it to Broadway or which flopped, which isn’t exactly enjoyable for the audience. But when she did sing well-known songs it was absolutely incredible!
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