I purchased my ticket online, as I always do, but having decided to go see the musical less than a week ahead of time, I thought it best to just pick up the ticket at Will Call. This was my first of many mistakes.
I left home about 90 minutes before showtime (my first of many smart things) and swung by the bank to get some cash for parking (my second smart thing). Parking was going to be $10, and I wanted to make sure I had some extra, just in case.
When I arrived at the fairgrounds, I wanted to park where I always park when I go to see a musical, but I was informed that it was a valet parking only lot, and at $25 for this service, I thought I'd just as well find a general parking spot and walk over to the Music Hall (this was my second mistake). I drove back around to the same parking gate I used when I went to the Fair with my friends last week, and as I was waiting to give my $10 to the nice man there, I remembered that I didn't have a ticket to get into the fair and subsequently get to the Music Hall (my third mistake). Fair admission is included with the musical ticket, but I didn't have my ticket on me. It was waiting for me, all comfy and air-conditioned, at the Will Call area inside the Music Hall.
And so I asked the parking man about this, and he informed me that it would be up to the gate attendant whether or not they would let me in. Well, poop on a stick. And yet, I knew I had plenty of time to figure something out, so I kept following the line of cars to park. I followed, and I followed, and I followed; then, when I thought I was done following, I followed some more. The nearest open parking spots were in the next county, it seemed. Thank goodness I had more than an hour till curtain.
To get an idea of where I parked, you can click on THIS link. The Music Hall is in the lower left corner, and I was parked in the upper right corner.
I hopped a tram (smart thing number 3) which took us to the Pan Am gate to the fairgrounds. I asked the lady in the ticket booth if I could go in the fair without a ticket so that I could get to the Music Hall. You can guess what her answer was. Instead, she told me what I was dreading she'd say; that I would have to walk all the way around the perimeter of the fair grounds to get to the Music Hall. Now, it's been a few years since 9th grade Geometry, but I'm still pretty sure that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and seeing as how it was a fair distance to the MH from the gate by going through the grounds, I had concerns about having the necessary time to hoof it all the way around the outside.
Dejected, I walked away from the ticket booth, and then I spotted a clear path through the gates. No one was watching the side by the train museum. I could just dart through there, and most likely, no one would notice. Maybe...maybe no one would notice, but my darting capabilities are severely diminished recently because I've done something to my left foot in the past couple of weeks that makes regular walking painful...quite painful, in fact. So, after 3 seconds of seriously considering it, I decided not to be a cheater and a thief (smart thing #4). And so, I walked on.
I still had about 45 minutes to curtain, and I didn't know if I was going to make it in time. The day wasn't exceptionally warm, but I was wearing a black blouse and I started to heat up fiercely. Nice, I thought, I'm going to arrive just in time to run to my seat, then sweat next to some stranger for the entire first act. Poor stranger.
After a long period of walking, I came upon Gate 4 whereupon I was told the same thing by a ticket lady who looked remarkably similar to the prior ticket lady. Now, I've often thought if I were cuter or prettier, then I could probably get total strangers to do a lot more of what I ask/want, but knowing that option was not available to me, I tried reason instead. "Would it be possible," I asked, "for you to let me through this gate so that I can get to the Music Hall? I'm going to see The Color Purple, you see," I told her in my logical yet imploring-sounding voice. "You can clearly see that I'm going to the musical by how I'm dressed," and I punctuated this by touching my blouse in a sincere gesture. "My musical ticket is at Will Call, but I know that fair admission is included in the ticket."
I was rebuffed again and told...again...to walk around the perimeter. Well, freeze dried rat droppings!
My foot was really hurting; I was limping from the pain, and I was hot and sweaty. But, by golly by damn, I was going to make it to my seat on time. And so I walked. And I walked. And I limped, and I thought how smart I was to wear khaki slacks instead of black ones (smart thing #5).
And I finally rounded the corner of the fence and began the journey through construction to try to find how I would get into that bloomin' Music Hall. There was the Music Hall. I could see it; I was standing just on the other side of the fence from it, but I couldn't find a way to get into it. It wasn't very long until curtain, and I was getting mad. I was mad at myself, mostly. I was about to go back to the nearest gate and pay the ticket admission again when I finally saw a way in that was rather hidden by multi-layered fences.
And so I walked in with a group of people, a nice lady led me through the lobby to the Will Call booth, and I picked up my ticket. Holy freakin' finally goodness. I was hot hot hot so I bought a bottle of water and then walked upstairs to the first balcony where I thought my seat was. After a quick trip to the ladies room, which was really unnecessary considering I had sweated out all liquid from my body, I joined the line to be seated and I began speaking to a couple of ladies about the music from the show. They hadn't heard the music and were surprised when I told them there is a CD of the Broadway Cast Recording. One of the ladies asked me where she could buy it, so you can guess what I told her...always working am I.
Then I looked at the Aisle number on the wall and thought to look at my ticket. Crap, I was on the wrong level (fourth mistake). I was very careful, or so I thought, when I booked my ticket, because I refuse to sit on the sides of the Hall. I prefer first balcony to the side Orchestra seating any day.
It took me only a moment to excuse myself, head back downstairs, find my Aisle, and grab a Playbill. After a quick question about my seating area, I found my seat and was happy to sit down and take a load off my foot. And I still had 15 minutes to curtain. Well how about that?
The theatre was filled with older, retired folks. All of them were probably smart enough to use the $25 Valet Parking. But me? No, I'm too cheap! And so I laughed at myself as I sat in my seat, which was quite a good seat, as it turns out (smart thing # I lost count), and watched this group of 4 ladies try to find their seat for the next 13 minutes. Really, that's how long it took. I had to get up a few times to let people pass through, so I just stayed standing, and there was something about my black blouse and khaki slacks that make people think I worked there (though I seem to get that no matter how I'm dressed and no matter where I am), and so I kept getting asked to help people find their seats. I helped 4 or 5 people then I finally stopped the 4-lady party and pointed them to the right place.
They had no way of knowing I was the one who, 15 minutes prior, was on the entirely wrong level of the building. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, ok?
And then, shortly after 2pm, the lights lowered, the stragglers scurried, and the orchestra began the overture...