Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Live Theater vs. Movie Theater

Averaging about a movie a year for the past 2 decades, imagine my amazement when I found myself seeing 4 movies in a little over 2 months late last year, early this year.  The 12 month period isn’t even up yet and I already have plans for another next month.  How can I not want to reunite with Nemo, Marlin, and Dory for their next big adventure? 

The norm at least in the last decade has been more programs and Playbills than movie stubs.  Maybe it is at times the extreme volume due to the speakers at the theater that has my fingers pressed against my ears half the time or the spontaneity that can occur performing in front of a live audience but I find live theater more enjoyable these days. 

I have definitely come a long way from my first play, Cats on Broadway, a National Honors Society outing during high school when I was living back East and our counterparts were visiting from Quincy California.  Aside from my literal 3000 mile coast to coast change in residence since, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the theater (I actually hated Cats).  Returns back to Broadway during visits back East, shortly after Chicago first opened with Bebe Neuwirth and Marilu Henner prompted by the snippet I saw during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to shows that started in SF like Wicked to national tours of Broadway Shows like Rock of Ages (thanks Constantine Maroulis for touring with the show), I have filled up 2 binders with Playbills since.  Whenever I return back East which unfortunately is not often enough, a show is always on my itinerary. 

The discovery of the TKTS booth in Times Square 12 years before just to get out of the cold to watch the Flower Drum Song with Lea Salonga from the front row while most were at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting sparked my increased attendance of plays. 
I discovered a similar setup called Tickets Bay Area in Union Square in San Francisco but because of the limited run of most national tours, tickets to those shows at a discount are more of a rarity than the norm.  But what I did find was an introduction to the world of more intimate and even some community theaters with wonderful storylines and plots but at a price sometimes not much more than that of a movie ticket.  I discovered my favorite small scale theater in the city, the SF Playhouse - http://sfplayhouse.org/ founded by Bill English and Susi Damilano with Red Velvet's preview performance tonight.  I was privy to many shows over the past few years following them from their old location to their current one in the Kensington Park Hotel and the great thing about smaller intimate theaters is there is not a bad seat in the house. 

My hidden gem closer to me in the East Bay thanks to a pair of complimentary tickets from Tix Bay Area in 2009 is the Chanticleer Theater in Castro Valley http://www.chanticleers.org/season.html reachable for me even without freeway access.  When they throw in free cookies and punch during intermission, you end up paying less for your evening out than for a movie with snacks at the concession stands.  If you happen to be there for their opening night like we were recently, they even have a small reception with simple finger foods to enjoy after the show while interacting with the actors/actresses.  I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is running until 5/22 when they will take a summer hiatus before returning in the Fall (Sept. 9) for their 3rd show of the season, Tuesdays with Morrie.  To Chanticleer, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Give Them Your Change, so we can keep them going for many more years to come. 

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