Last night we went to see Beauty and the Beast at a local outdoor theater. Plays in the Park has been around for 46 years. And every year they do three productions in a local park. There is an amphitheater there and a nice hill to sit on. Once upon a time the productions were free. You got there when you could and staked out your spot with blanket or chairs and then waited for the production to begin - or perhaps enjoyed the rest of the park or the nearby shopping while waiting. Now there is an admission charge. It's five dollars for people over the age of twelve. Four dollars for senior citizens. In this day and age that's almost the same as being free. The difference now is that they don't allow people to simply set up their chairs as soon as they can manage to get to the park - but must wait until the box office opens at 5:30. The performance is at 8:30. People start lining up sometime in the early afternoon so they can get a close seat.
We got there at 6:30. We did not have close seats. We set our chairs up in the very back - but center (we could have been a bit closer had we opted to go far over to one side). At least we weren't over on the "back hill" as it was called. Though later - looking at the elevation of the hill I wondered if we might not have been better off - since we couldn't see from where our seats were unless we stood - and since we were in the back, we did stand. A show is more enjoyable when you can see what is going on.
One funny thing about the "back hill" - in the middle of the "Be Our Guest" production number - the person singing stopped and looked out toward the hill and said "For those of you out on the back hill - we're doing Beauty and the Beast" - and after the laughter and the applause for the shout out died down they continued the song.
The show is long - and wasn't over until eleven - so it was a late night (remember we got there at 6:30 - some people had been there for hours before that). The shows are cheap - but it is quite an investment in time (and in dealing with people whose manners are less than... um... less than good shall we say.)
The kids had a blast and I'm glad we took them. At this link there are some pictures from the show. I tried clicking on the "play" button for the top item - but it didn't seem to work - just scroll down for a few pictures.