“Whatever happened to class?” – Velma Kelly, from the musical “Chicago”
My family loves live theater. Mostly we go to local productions due to the cost of seats being quite out of our reach at the “downtown” Cleveland theaters. Here in Lake County we’ve seen, among others:
- “Chicago” at Rabbit Run Theater
- “High School Musical” and “A Christmas Carol” at the Fine Arts Center
- “Assassins” at Lakeland Community College.
“Smart Seats” are a bargain option offered by several theaters in Cleveland. Seat availability varies by date and production. About a month ago I searched all the dates to find the best Smart Seats for a production of The Addams Family and settled on the April 12 performance, purchasing 3 seats for $10 each. We were in the upper balcony, row W, seats 503 – 505. (See seating chart here and the view from our seats.) I also purchased a parking pass for $9, a bargain by Cleveland standers.
Anxiously we awaited the date.
We had no trouble finding it or parking, There is a covered walkway from the parking garage. The Playhouse is a beautiful, historic venue, marble, red and gold throughout. Inside it was stairs, stairs, stairs but no surprise since we were in the upper balcony. Andy was a little nervous going up but he was trooper and he made it.
The lights went down, the curtain went up, and that’s when the annoyances began. I was shocked and surprised to find that the refreshments purchased in the lobby could be brought into the theater and consumed during the performance. This resulted in a series of ice rattling and paper crunching during much of the performance. I thought the “gentleman” next to me was going to talk through the whole performance. The person behind me kicked my seat and popped what must have been a plastic water bottle during most of the first act. The only thing missing was a ringing cell phone. Miraculously. And, I will add, these were adults not kids.
The play was very good, encompassing all the familar comedic bits from The Addams Family TV shows and movies. The actors playing Gomez and Fester stole the show. The other actors were adequate but in my opinion they had a mediocre script/songs to work from. The sets were very creative and beautiful. We could see all the action and the acoustics were so good we didn’t miss a word. Over all, it was worth the price. Andy liked it. You can read a right-on review of it by Mark Meszoros in the News-Herald, With a great Gomez, “Addams Family” avoids gruesome death.
Unfortunately, the classlessness of the audience is what will stick in my mind about the experience. At the end, people around us got up before the last chorus had faded, started to leave before the curtain call, blocking the view for those of us still in our seats. God forbid they would have to spend one second longer in downtown Cleveland after dark, wait for the elevator and line-up to get their cars out of the parking garage. People are better behaved, and quieter, in our local movie theaters. And I have never seen this kind of bad behavior in any local live theater venue, kudos to you Lake/Geauga countians and visitors!
So get your act together people. Learn some theater etiquette. (Click here if you are clueless.) Spend those few extra minutes to make the experience pleasant for all or stay home so the rest of us can enjoy it.
The bottom line: Would I buy Smart Seats again? Absolutely. The chance to see a Broadway show in a beautiful, historic theater should not be passed up. Hope springs eternal that next time there will be a “smarter” crowd in the “Smart Seats.”
The Addams Family runs through April 22, 2012, at the Palace Theater. For info and tickets go to PlayhouseSquare.org.