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Line drill

Learning the price of a cheap Broadway ticket on a pre-dawn sidewalk in New York

Line drill

Tina Fey (in white) joins in the curtain call for the “Mean Girls” opening night on Broadway April 8. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

A New York moment: 

Tony nominations recently came out and the Broadway production of Mean Girls topped the pack with 12 nominations (a tie with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical). A friend of mine works on the show so a few of us decided to camp out in the wee hours of the night with the hope of scoring some cheap tickets to see her work. The show, which officially opened in April, is in high demand and tickets are even more expensive after the Tony nominations—but a few cheap rush tickets are available at certain performances, for the price of your sleep.

While it was still dark and the streets were empty, we joined a line of sleepy people waiting outside the box office. Line sitters took turns to do coffee runs, and we weighed our chances with those in line around us. A few ingrates cut in line to join their friends, but generally the pre-dawn line was a civilized, self-policed situation. 

Once the sun came up a man in a Playbill truck pulled up and delivered the stacks of programs for the evening. Employees at the show began arriving for work, and shook their heads at the line down the block. “How long have you all been here?” one asked. Across the street is the theater for Angels in America, a two-part show that runs about eight hours long and came third in the number of Tony nominations. 

The box office opened and began selling the discounted rush tickets for the day. Slowly we made our way closer to the ticket man, but the person in front of us got the last one. Hope was not lost! The man offered us standing room, even cheaper, and a better view than some of the seats. 

I can’t recommend the show because it has some raunch, but it is very, very funny—as you would expect coming from the mind of Tina Fey. Afterwards we visited my friend backstage, not sleepy at all. 

Worth your time:  

Paul Simon’s performance of “American Tune,” which riffs off J.S. Bach’s melody of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.” I was at this 2015 taping, the first week of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where Simon performed, and it was wonderful live. The song didn’t make it on the show, but my cousin recently pointed it out to me on Youtube. 

This week I learned: 

That a family baptism can get you a temporary reprieve from house arrest. 

A court case you might not know about: 

New York state’s highest court unanimously threw out an appeal to recognize the personhood of chimpanzees. The case has raised interesting philosophical questions of what gives humans particular dignity. One judge concurred with the decision to toss the case, but cracked the door open to monkeys having personhood in court, giving this incoherent assessment: “In elevating our species, we should not lower the status of other highly intelligent species.”

Culture I am consuming: 

The first episode of Masterpiece’s new adaptation of Little Women, which airs on PBS over the next few weeks. Very charming, and it was lovely to see the story of a heroic but imperfect mother like Marmee on Mother’s Day. 

Postscript: Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback.