See You Soon....

Kasie Tiler Patlove

I’m moving. I’m saying goodbye to my life New York City, the one I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl. Goodbye to being minutes away from the center of the theater world. Goodbye to central park, the Brooklyn bridge, and street fairs, . Goodbye to taxi cabs and crowded subways, to all of my friends. And, goodbye to my little basement apartment in Washington Heights that I share with my amazing boyfriend.

But it’s not really a goodbye. It’s a see you soon. It’s time for me to change the world.

In two weeks, I’ll be moving to Syracuse, New York to work with a nonprofit theater organization. In addition to in house main stage and black box productions, this company has an amazing collaboration with the Syracuse City School District. I will be working in one of the SCSD school districts, using the performing arts as a vehicle for project based learning of their core curriculum. Syracuse school district suffers from an incredible achievement gap between its urban and suburban students, and has been working tirelessly to provide more support to students and their families. This theater company has stepped in a created a program that allows the school curriculum to be supported by a discovery and appreciate for theater and design.

Okay, maybe I won’t be changing the whole world. But I’ll have the chance to change some 10 year olds up in Syracuse. And maybe eventually they’ll become the future teachers, politicians and artists of America. So maybe I am changing the world.

I have always had a passion for nonprofit theater. When I was in the seventh grade, a former special education and drama teacher from my middle school opened her own non-profit youth theater. I performed in their first season of shows, and continued to perform and work there until I graduated high school. It was a safe haven for me, fostering my love of theater and appreciation for community. I began teaching in theatre programs, public and private schools throughout college, and very few things give me as much pride and satisfaction as seeing children learn and grow through theater.

So when I received this email Monday night, saying I had been accepted to live and work in Syracuse, enriching the lives of children and contributing to a quickly expanding theater company, I had to say yes.

Growing up is scary. Actually it’s terrifying. Leaving what you  love and are used to go to somewhere where you know no one. Starting over with a new job, new people and a new routine. No one said it was going to be easy. But it sure will be exciting.

See you soon, NYC.

Who’s Got Tickets?

Kasie Tiler Patlove

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been scrambling to try and see all of the great theater that’s out there. Between Broadway Box office smashes, off Broadway limited runs, and one night (or weekend) only events, there's so much to see and so little money. On a young professionals budget *cough3jobscough* it gets frustrating trying to see all of the current shows, and still being able to eat. 

There used to be a diamond in the rough of finding cheap theater tickets. At the peak of its popularity in 1997, the production team introduced a same day ticket policy. Students could show up the morning of a performance and by $20 front row tickets. They did this in hopes of getting the younger, more open minded generation out to see theater. Clearly it worked, and student rush was born. Shortly after, many Broadway and Off Broadway shows embraced student rush, and thus lines begun outside of the theater before the sunrise, so that students could see shows on a budget. 

My first summer in New York City was the summer of 2011. Working a part time internship, I had plenty of time to get up early and get tickets for shows. Usually, I didn’t need to arrive earlier than 8:45 am (box offices open at 9) and the majority of the time, had no problem getting a single ticket. Most tickets cost under $32.

4 years later, I have stood in countless lines from the crack of dawn (Pippin. Gentleman’s Guide) to pay upwards of $40 for so called rush tickets. Many shows have disregarded the student requirement, and now hold a general rush for anyone willing to get their butts out of bed early enough.  I understand that the majority of theatergoers have the money to pay for $100 mezzanine seats, but what about the twenty something’s who have just financially separated from their parents? Who thrive on being transported to a world far away from their own? Shouldn’t they be able to see theater at a cost they can afford?

YES.

So, I’ll make things a little easier for you. I’ve listed a few websites, apps, resources that I’ve used to find relatively discounted tickets. Happy hunting!

1.    Today Tix

What: A Mobile app for I phone and android

How it works: Available shows are searchable by date and available for purchase on the app.

Pros: They often have lottery tickets for new shows. For day of purchases, a representative will hold them outside the theater. No waiting in will call lines!

Cons: Lotteries are hard to win, but doable. Also, many shows will not offer discount tickets through the app.

Popular shows: On the Town, Fun Home (lottery), Something Rotten

2.    30 under 30

What: $30 tickets for people ages 30 and under. Available for Roundabout Theater Company, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center Theater

How It Works: Join a free membership online and they email you when tickets are available. 

Pros: Available in advance. Hiptix allows you to buy two tickets, and the second person can be of any age. 

Cons: Linctix only allows 1 ticket per person. 

Popular shows: The King and I, Hand To God, On The 20th Century

3. Tix4students

What: Website that allows advanced purchase of tickets with student documentation

How It Works: Upload documentation of student status and a one time $7 fee. Then be granted access to tickets to many Broadway shows under $40. 

Pros: Can purchased ahead of time. 

Cons: Limited availability. Sometimes only 4-6 tickets per show. Usually limited view

Popular Shows: Fun Home, American In Paris, An Act of God, Hedwig

4. Play-By-Play

What: Website that finds seat fillers for unsold tickets. 

How It Works: For $115 a year, you’re guaranteed 2 complimentary tickets to theater, dance opera etc.

Pros: It feels like free tickets 

Cons: Limited availability. Expensive up front, website looks a little shady

5. 

What: A website that lists box office rush trends and probability of getting tickets

How It Works: They list how many people on average lined up per week, what time the first person got there, and how many of those who lined up got tickets

Pros: Insider Info! Very easy to plan ahead (and get enough sleep the night before)

Cons: Sudden changes in weather, or complete randomness could throw off your game. 

6. Theater Development Fund

What: A website that has advanced tickets usually under $35

How It Works: To join, you have to be a student, a teacher, a union member, a senior, a civil service employee, a nonprofit or performing arts organization employee or a member of the armed forces or clergy. Then allows you to buy 

Pros: Tickets in advance, special events

Cons: Annual Membership fee of $27 

Trying to Make Sense of First Time Tony Winners and Repeat Nominees

Kasie Tiler Patlove

This past Sunday, I watched as Broadway beauty Kelli O’Hara took home her first tony for her performance as Anna in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, currently in its 4th Broadway revival at Lincoln Center. Although it was her first win, Ms. O’Hara is no stranger to the Great White Way or the Tonys. She has jokingly been named the “Leo DiCaprio of Broadway”. Out of her 10 Broadway Appearances, the powerful singer and actress has been nominated 6 times, all of which happened with each consecutive roles she has played in ‘05, ‘06, ‘08, ‘12, ‘14 and ‘15.  Having seen her as a top billing in The Bridges of Madison County, Nice Work If You Can Get it, and South Pacific, It can’t be denied that Ms. O’Hara is truly a storytelling aficionado. Her flourishing voice captures audiences and makes them hang on her every word.  So it was no surprise to viewers, industry professionals, or to Ms. O’Hara herself when she took home the coveted award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. But think about this: was Ms. O’Hara’s victory based solely on her performance in The King and I, or maybe did it have something to do with the incredible range and depth of roles she has played-and yet to be recognized for- over the past 10 years?

Helen Mirren’s performance as Queen Elizabeth II in the historical drama The Queen earned her a Golden Globe, Oscar, SAG, BAFTA and nine other awards for Best Actress in 2006. Clearly, the entire industry came to a consensus that her performance as the reigning Monarch was impeccable. So it was no surprised that her performance as Queen Elizabeth II would be just as appealing in this year’s The Audience, coincidentally written by Peter Morgan, the screenwriter of The Queen. Clearly Dame Mirren and Mr. Morgan are quite the team as Ms. Mirren took home her first Tony for Actress in a Lead role In a Play on Sunday evening. An interview with Dame Mirren states that although Morgan wrote both works, the stories and journeys Queen Elizabeth II are quite different. Regardless, the same question stands: Was Dame Mirren a tony recipient based on her performance in The Audience on Broadway, or could Tony voters have been influenced by her great success as the same character in The Audience n in London, and The Queen?

Jeanine Tesori surely has gotten her name in the theatrical history books; being half of the first all female writing team to win the Tony Award for Best Original Score for the groundbreaking musical Fun Home, an adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about her experiences coming to terms with her sexuality. However, Ms. Tesori has been nominated four other times. Caroline, or Change, Shrek, Violet, and Thoroughly Modern Millie all received critical praise and various Drama Critic Circle awards an nominations. She has also written music for various animated sequels and trilogies. Taking home the Tony for Best Musical, Score, Direction, Lead Actor and Book; Fun Home is proven to be a masterpiece, much is owed to Ms. Tesori for her moving and unique score.  But again, is her Tony to commemorate all of the groundbreaking, intricate work she has done for Broadway since 2000? Or was Fun Home her golden ticket to the Tony?

The Tony’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” is a non competitive, honorary award given each year to an individual who “body of work” is to be celebrated. Recent winners include Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, Alan Ayckbourn and this year’s Tommy Tune. However this award seems to recognize artists who are toward the end of their careers and have already won multiple competitive Tonys, unlike O’Hara, Mirren and Tesori, whose work is still thriving and have only received nominations.

Additionally, we can investigate artists whose work continues to be recognized with Tony wins year after year. Audra McDonald holds the most Tony Awards for any actress; having won 6 titles since 1994 (she’s only lost one tony she was nominated for, Marie Christine in 2000.  Sondheim has received 8 Tonys for his work as a composer and Hal Prince has 21 Tonys for his directing and producing endeavors.  How can we distinguish when someone’s achievements become worth of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and not just a regular old Tony?
And what about the newcomers? 26 year old Alexander Sharp took home the Tony for Best Actor in a play- his first professional role and the youngest in his category! Or how about the 3 Billy Elliot’s who took home the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical back in 2008?  Surely their performances deserved, but these young men haven’t had the time to develop their careers.

They just gave some kick ass performances. 

So how do the voters decide? Do we accept the fact that people like O’Hara and Tesori eventually will get what they deserve when the timing is right? Or was their work not “exceptional” enough until this year? I would think it is nearly impossible to isolate a performer, composer, or director in the one show from that particular year. When we evaluate a performance, song, set design, we think about what the artist has done in the past, how they have improved on their past projects, and interpreted the work at hand. 

What do you think? Post in the comments below! Also, go watch Kelli O’Hara’s acceptance speech. It’s just amazing.