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Re: Best “You are calm in a crisis”

Re: Best “You are calm in a crisis”2011-01-11T19:38:18+00:00

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Patte Rosebank
Post count: 1517

I was an usherette at “Phantom of the Opera”, for its first two years in Toronto. One night, there was a gas leak in the area, so they couldn’t start the show on time. We were ordered not to even open the auditorium. The lobbies (not meant to hold 2000+ people) were packed with 2000+ people. After the first 15 minutes or so, common sense said the performance should be cancelled, and the tickets refunded or exchanged. But Garth Drabinsky would never do that, would he?

Instead, we held those people in the lobbies, for over an hour past curtain time. And we weren’t allowed to tell them what was going on, other than “technical difficulties”. Understandably, after the first 15 minutes, they were not happy. So I started telling them “horror stories” about onstage glitches we’d had, and about some of our more memorable encounters with patrons. I kept them laughing with those stories, and the time passed pretty quickly that way.

Then, around 9 p.m., the inside ushers were told to switch places with us lobby ushers, to give us a break. As soon as my inside usher switched places with me, the crowd surged towards her, so menacingly that she had to open the door to try to escape back inside. The angry crowd saw me, and instantly changed from menacing the other usherette, to urging me to come back out and tell them some more stories. So I did.

The show finally started at about 9:45 p.m. And I added that night’s “adventure” to my collection of theatrical “horror stories”.