Friday, October 16, 2009

Theater, but not in Lansing

Last week, I took a trip with my mom, her two sisters and their daughters (my aunts and cousins). They had recently sold my grandfather's house and they decided to use the proceeds to take us all on a trip to Chicago to see "Jersey Boys."

I was excited about it because while I see a lot of theater, rarely do I see it with my relatives. Indeed, for my one aunt, this was her first time ever going to see live theater. She said it was on her list of things to do before she died.

So on Monday, five of us took the train into Chicago while my other cousin flew in from Arizona. We checked into the beautiful boutique property, Hotel Felix, and proceeded to go shopping at Water Tower Place.

On Tuesday evening, we headed to the Bank of America Theater to see Jersey Boys. We had a little trouble getting in as two of the six tickets had printed out in Japanese on my aunt's printer rather than English and we had to get that fixed at the box office. However, we all made it in in time for the first act. It was a pretty good show. I could tell it was a Tuesday night performance as the energy was low and some of the lead performers were struggling with mush mouth for the first half hour.

At intermission, everyone said what a good time they were having and we did the usual intermission things. After some time had passed, we realized that the intermission was lasting a really long time.

Then the ushers went to the front of the theater, and we watched as everyone in front stood up and started coming up the aisles. Sure enough, the ushers were evacuating the theater. They did so very calmly and efficiently. We all got outside and they moved us across the street. The Chicago police were there, as was the SWAT team.

Soon they evacuated the entire street and the hotel above the theater. Then people from the theater came out and told us all to leave, that our tickets would be refunded.

Later, we learned that two suspicious packages were found in the alleyway next to the theater. One of them had a note that read, "This is not a bomb." The other had a note that read, "This is not going to end good." (Obviously, they need to look for someone with an incomplete grasp on grammar.)

Eventually the bomb squad exploded the two boxes. There were not explosives inside and last I heard an investigation was going on to find who did it and hand them a bill for the city's response.

It was definitely a memorable night at the theater, even if we all left at intermission and can't tell you how it ended. Nor could the actors be blamed if the audience complained that the show bombed.

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