Ashamedly, I play the Mommy card, snatching the seat away from both Master/Master and Blondilocks. Sorry kids. This isn’t the first time I’ve nudged them out of the running, but to be fair, they have attended while I watched the broadcast from the comfort of my bed, sporting pajamas. Over the years, it has become increasingly obvious that behind every gorgeous individual gliding down the red carpet and filling a plush seat in Radio City Music Hall is a “team.” I had never considered recruiting my own team until one presented itself on the opposite side of the Bakers bench. Complaining about the rigors of Tony-ing, specificially the footwear (the dreaded heels) and the threat of humidity (the dreaded hair-do) my co-workers Speedy Icer and Kirsten provided just the right amount of positive reinforcement necessary. With their coaching, they transformed a royal-icing-spattered-kitchen-clog-wearing pie baker into a black tie event goer. Thanks for the support, ladies.
In case you were wondering, Radio City Music Hall seats approximately 5,933 individuals. Even more, if the risers on the stage are utilized. I happen to know the number of seats having learned them in excruciating detail during my stint as a member of Guest Relations. (A well-worn copy of the seating chart is still in my possession.) The infinite rows of seats are so hard to remember, they are harder to forget. You can’t help noticing how incredibly glamorous everyone looks when upwards of 5,900 people are gathered in one lobby. The sequins, couture gowns, open-backs and décolletage are dizzying against the black ties and blindingly white tuxedo shirts.
Last Sunday evening, riding the tide of audience members through the art deco doors, a woman in terrifyingly high strappy heels and a perfectly executed chignon practically blindsided me. Engrossed in her iphone, she was oblivious to shorter people in lower heels. I desperately tried to avoid stepping on the black satin train of her white satin sheath. The swell of the crowd reached a crescendo and the iphone offender floated down the aisle of the orchestra, snapping selfies.
I was seated in row Double Something, trying to navigate the slope of the carpet while juggling the weighty playbill and my diminutive evening bag. Sadly, the bag proved too tiny for a sensible package of peanut M&Ms. As I carefully climbed over several fabulous members of Broadway glitterati, I was finally secure in my seat with just a whisper of a snag in my pantyhose. The two seats to my right remained vacant until moments before the start of the show. Who should glide in making herself comfortable but Miss Perfect Chignon. Her sliver of a sheath brushed the floor perilously close to my right foot. Fearful of stepping on the pristine satin, I adjusted my leg causing the subtle but noticeable pantyhose snag to gain momentum. Miss Chignon’s dangly earrings sparkled, reflecting her beautiful self. Refusing to extinguish her phone, out of the corner of my eye I glimpse nothing but selfies of this woman, clearly just taken in the lobby. She agonizes, editing and sending, deleting and texting. I’m tempted to engage her in conversation, asking her Tony picks of the season or if she had some chocolates she would like to share. Sensing her utter boredom and total detachment from the stage, I suspect she is not a theatre-goer. The opportunity to chat with my seatmate is dashed, as she gathers up her phone and her Swarovski crystal evening bag and floats up the aisle into oblivion. A seat filler promptly takes her place.
There’s a turning point in the evening when the audience sentiment shifts from enthusiasm to hangry. Or in the case of the woman with the short blond bob seated in front of me, thirsty. It is clear that the blond and her husband are from across the pond, and because they have an aisle seat, I suspect they are Somebodys. Indeed they are, as the husband’s name is announced and he works his way to the stage to accept an award. Soon after his heartfelt speech (in which he mentions his devoted wife and children), I see his wife fumbling with her moderately sized evening bag from which she produces a petite flask. Observing this I make a mental note; should I return to this event next year, bring a bigger evening bag.
The next day there are several articles about the Tony Awards including a column dedicated to Red Carpet Winners. There are dozens of color photographs of women deemed best dressed. Funny, I am not included on the list but that is no reflection whatsoever on my team. Singled out among the perfectly attired is none other than my former seat partner, the chignoned-iphone beauty responsible for my hosiery debacle. Upon further investigation, it appears the young lady is a model, an up and comer, someone to watch. It also mentions that one of her hobbies is ‘taking pictures.’ No kidding.