I went to see Spring Awakening tonight. How can I possibly describe what it's like to watch a Broadway show from a seat on stage? What an experience!
We stage-sitters were instructed beforehand to arrive at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre early, wear neutral-colored clothing, and put all worldly belongings (at least the ones we were carrying) in a locker off-stage. I duly complied. There were three rows of wooden school chairs on graduated risers on either side of the stage. On the stage. Not off-stage behind a curtain. On. The. Stage.
A nice little man showed me to my seat - stage right, second row, middle seat, and I waited for the other "stars" to arrive. A young couple sat to my right, but the seat on my left was vacant until about 5 minutes before the show. There were a few vacant chairs on both sides of the stage, and I felt kinda bad that they were empty. Well, duh. The cast sat amongst us at various times during the show. Very cool. And imagine my surprise when the girl on my left whipped out a mic and started singing during the third song! Yikes! She was part of the ensemble cast, and I was as close as a person could be to the action on stage.
I had no preconceived notions about the play. I mean, I'd seen the Tony Awards, which featured one of the songs, and I knew it was about teenage sex/angst, but other than that, I really didn't know what to expect. The music was great - mostly rock. A fine story, plus a little nudity (and I had a ring-side seat, thank you very much). But it was just incredible to see the thing unfold from my vantage point - to see the sets and lights shift (that folks in the audience couldn't possibly see), to watch spit and sweat fly (OK, that doesn't sound glamorous, but it was live theatre, I tell ya!), to watch the band members change out instruments. Plus, I could watch the real audience - I could see exactly what the cast members were seeing. Plus-plus, I got to feel Broadway spotlights on me - a very warm and glowy feeling, I must say.
It was an amazing night. Well, you'd just have to see it for yourself to believe it. Why everyone doesn't want to sit on the stage, I'll never know. And all for $31.50. Man, oh man.