We like to support the performing arts. But we like it even more if we can do it on the cheap.
A typical orchestra-level seat for a production by Theatre Calgary costs about $90. However, one time I noticed that they had a few $25 seats available. Rather than being way in the back or up on the balcony, these seats were on the front row. We jumped all over those tickets, and we've never looked back. We sat about 12 feet from the Man in the Chair (Dean Paul Gibson) for "The Drowsy Chaperone". It was amazing. Tickets in the first 2 rows are cheap like that but if you move back one more row, suddenly it goes way up to $90. And I bet that $90-guy in the 3rd row is still sitting within the "splash zone" (Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby had more range than most).
Last year we snagged some $25 tickets for Pride & Prejudice and invited along a couple that we often go out with. They were a bit shocked at how fun it all was (he had NEVER seen Pride & Prejudice!), and then they were hooked. I got a letter offering me a season subscription for those same seats and they went in on it with us. For only a few dollars more than we had been paying, we could get guaranteed 2nd-row seats for opening Friday for every show, and if we couldn't make it that particular day, they would exchange the tickets for us for a different night without a fee. This year we saw:
- Kim's Convenience (hilarious)
- The Great Gatsby (perfectly cast)
- Major Barbara (Dean Paul Gibson is king of the world!)
- The Mountaintop (Great acting, but language was a bit excessive)
- Mary Poppins (Aaaaaah! This was AMAZING!)
Opening Friday is supposed to be extra fun because they have a gala afterwards with a drink and a snack and you get to meet the cast. We actually never made it to the opening Friday until we went to Mary Poppins, and then the show went so late that we had to quickly snag a cake pop and rush back to our babysitters. Still, there is something strangely satisfying about being a subscriber -- even a cheapo subscriber. It makes you feel sort of classy. Like you are a patron of the arts.
Our kids also love live theatre. For some strange reason, Scott sort of hates going to movies. The only way you can get him to go is to promise him popcorn and pop. He isn't that excited about the movie itself (except for the Lego Movie -- he would give up anything to go see that again, it seems). Katie appears absolutely terrified of all movies. Maybe she was too traumatized by watching "Brave" when she was just tiny. If she sees a character who is marginally "bad" she wants to hide. Same thing if the music takes a dramatic turn. We watched "Muppets Most Wanted" with our Kalispell cousins and she was scared of Konstantine, which was just Kermit the Frog with a mole on his cheek.
The typical progression for Katie at any movie or show is to slowly tense up and curl into a smaller ball as the plot thickens. And then when the good guys finally get the upper hand on things, she suddenly releases in peals of laughter and the cutest giggles for everyone in the theatre to hear. We went to "Flat Stanley" at the community-run StoryBook Theatre last month and it was the same thing. When that girl gets into a production, it's like there is no one else in the room. She just lets go.
That's the kind of audience that you want to have in the front two rows.