Before my sister came to the city, she booked us tickets to see Wicked on Broadway. She had always wanted to see this play, and I knew most of the songs vicariously through her. I’d also heard it was awesome from a few people I’d met. Aria bought tickets for the worst seats in the house. Her high school and my college budget couldn’t afford anything higher than the $73 that we paid. I had heard from colleagues that anywhere you watched the show from was bound to be amazing. The show started at 7pm, but I didn’t get off until 6pm, and I had a 30-minute commute back into Manhattan from Long Island City.
I was planning on wearing my work clothes and meeting the girls inside the doors of the show. However, my sister told me that I should come home and change into a nice dress like they were wearing. I knew that getting off the train, making my way home, changing, and then catching a cab to the Wicked theater would be cutting it close in terms of time, but I wasn’t going to be the only one not dressed up for the performance. The subway was running late, so I ended up making it home at 6:45 exactly. Getting up to my apartment and changing took a few more minutes because the elevator in my old building absolutely takes its time.
My sister began to cry when none of the passing cabs were vacant. In order to keep her calm, I asked her when she’d ever seen a show start on time. She argued that, “This is a professional play. Of course they’re going to start on time!” I felt awful, but I couldn’t have done anything about my train being late. We finally caught a cab, but ended up sprinting from several blocks away because traffic around Times Square is so repressed by tourists. Even upon getting out to run, it was hard to make it through the crowd. They were obstacles to dodge with their eyes gazing high into the sky. On your first visit to New York, one can’t help but being hypnotized by the blinking lights. Neon billboards make Times Square a worldly sight to see.
After being ushered to our seats my sister’s worry died down because the show had yet to start. Though I only said, “Shows don’t ever start on time in New York,” to cheer my sister up, I was sure glad my prediction was right. We sat in our cheap seats and panted from our run to the theater from the cab. Getting there late ended up being a bit of a blessing, however, because we realized there was an entire row of seats free near center stage. We decided that we’d move to these seats until the rightful owners came to claim them. Nobody came, so we enjoyed the show from the $250 seats. The view was even better being that we didn’t have to pay for it.
When the first half of the show ended, I honestly thought the play was over because the first part was so astonishing. Everything was beyond perfect. The set must have been extremely costly to create, as it was so interactive with the players and the audience. The performer’s voices were perfectly on key and the parts were perfectly cast. Defying Gravity—the last act of the first half of the show—made me cry. With tears percolating from my tear ducts, I looked over at the smaller version of myself two seats down. She was sobbing too. If we inherited anything from our dad, it was definitely his tendency to cry at beautiful things. The show was absolutely incredible, completely outshining any other live performance I had ever seen.
Alena Netia Horowitz