On Fans, and the Nature of Respect.

So tonight, my roommate and I decided to stand on the cancellation line for a show we’ve both been wanting to see. Why not? Worst case we don’t get tickets and lose an hour to reading books and chatting in line, best case we get to see an awesome show for a fraction of the usual cost. Win-win right?

This time was especially lucky because we actually got tickets! Not just any tickets, but 7th row orchestra seats, which are pretty amazing, and pretty hard to come by.

The show itself was brilliant. Hilarious and touching, complex and perfectly simple. Of course, this show-going experience was a bit different than usual, because a famous person was in the title role. Not a ‘famous-for-theater’ famous person, either, but a real one. Someone that a person who’s never set foot in a theater might recognize on the street. I didn’t realize how different that could make things.

First off, the energy! Wow, I have never – ever! – in all my years of spectating and performing musical theater seen a crowd go so totally nuts during the show. Teen girls shrieked and sighed and clapped with abandon after every number. They stomped their feet and indulged in raucous laughter. That I loved. It was such an organic and genuinely appreciative groundswell of emotion. That’s fan behavior I appreciate.

It was the post-show antics that got to me. After the final bows, fans flocked to wait by the stage door for the star to appear. While not my cup of tea, I get it. No problem. My roomie and I walked by as we headed off to a late dinner. The thing is, though, an hour and a half later, when we’d eaten our fill and headed back along the path of the theater? People were still waiting. Not to speak to the star, who had already shaken their hands and signed their programs, but to watch her car drive away.

Seriously. The theater had barricades up to block overzealous fans as they shrieked and clapped at her vehicle, a heavy duty SUV with tinted windows.

So while I appreciate folks’ fandom, can we think about taking a step back? I don’t care how famous you are. You shouldn’t have to have a barricade and tinted windows to make sure you get home safe.

— S

Day 131: May 13, 2017

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