Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Jersey Boys, the Fox and theater etiquette!

For my 55th birthday, my baby sister purchased tickets to see "The Jersey Boys" at the fabulous Fox theater in Atlanta.
One of my favorite venues for live theater with fantastic acoustics, I couldn't wait to see this well received show telling the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
As a girl growing up in New Jersey, I was active in our local 4-H club where I was taught the sewing skills necessary for being a proper young lady. This included creating tea towels and cooking aprons which would prepare me as a future housewife. (yea I'm really dating myself now) In 1963, I was part of the "Eager Beavers" 4-H group of St. Joesph's School in Lincoln Park, NJ and we met, one Saturday, at the house of the mother of the DeVito brothers who came running through the house with the other Seasons, raided the fridge and sat outside on the picnic table harmonizing. As a little girl, I knew they were part of a "rock and roll band" but they just seemed like any other group of loud, noisy boys raiding the family fridge to me. So this show was going to be a nice stroll down memory lane for me. Their music is terrific and I understand that most of their songs would be sung and there would be lots of "jersey language."

We had good seats located in the orchestra right section (of course there are really no bad seats at the Fox). We were dolled up and dressed for a night on the town and enjoyed conversing with some of the Fox volunteers who willingly shared the history of the Fox Theater. We then found our seats and waited for the houselights to go down and the orchestra to begin.
This was going to be a packed house and it was fun people watching as folks found their seats. At a little after 8:00pm the houselights were dimmed, the orchestra began and the show's first neon sign dropped from the ceiling heralding the start of the show. The first song had begun and in troops four loud and obnoxious women with one very emasculated man in tow. They are laughing loudly, and talking above the show and standing in the aisles shaking their butts at each other. They refused to sit down and I whispered to the rotund woman standing in front of me to please sit down as the show had begun. She gave me a dirty look and proceeded to nest into her seat. Unfortunately, my sister had to deal with a nuttier woman who refused to stop singly loudly (and badly) and insisted upon waving her arms as high as she could reach. Several other "ssshhhhh's" from other audience members ensued but to no avail as these rude women continued to treat this lovely theater as their personal living room. Ten minutes into the first act, and luckily two of them left to drink at the bar, the hand waving woman was still in front of my sister loudly proclaiming that "Frankie was my man, that Frankie is my man and I'm all over him". My sister leaned in and also very quietly and politely asked her to please put her hands down as she is a distraction. She did quiet down for about 30 minutes but when her "booze bag" friends showed back up, she was loudly singing again. With the end of the first act and the house lights turned up, the ill-mannered and drunk woman in front of me turned to us and pokes her finger at everyone in our row demanding to know who told her sister to stop singing and waving her hands. Being Jersey girls, Sis and I looked at each other and we both raised our hands and said, "We did." "Ya gotta problem with that?" This woman started yelling at us and then threatened the folks in our row. So sis gets up, leaves the seats and meets with the Fox Theater manager. Long story short, three ushers escort sis back to our seats, they wave for me to follow them and we are escorted to center row, 11 seats from the close we can see the Jersey Boys sweat! It was fantastic. The other two ushers remained standing at our previous seating row and baby-sat the rude group until the show ended.

The Fox was more than happy to ensure that our theater experience was a good one and corrected the problem by escorting us to very expensive, front and center seats so we could enjoy the second act. I thank the Fox for their enforecment of proper theater etiquette. What sis and I will never understand is that this group of women were at least my age or older. We are all from a generation that was taught how to behave at live theater venues and not treat it as a personal living room. I was disappointed in their behavior as I had expected much better from women my age, but they had no respect for the other theater patrons and they made it all about them. Glad that the Fox would not tolerate this. It was a terrific show and I recommend it to everyone.

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