Hair Balls decided to take in the free showing of The Wiz at Miller Outdoor Theatre this weekend. The show has been in an extended run at the Ensemble Theatre (not for free) but, for two nights only, transferred over to the city's outdoor and free stage for the vox populi.
Free tickets to covered seating are distributed from the Miller box office starting at 10:30 a.m. each day of the show. Hair Balls and company got there before 10:30 a.m. to find out, alas, that we were idiots.
The line stretched all the way around the sides of the theater and into the park beyond. Optimistic as ever, we took our place in the queue, waiting and hoping that a) tickets would stretch really far or b) that a huge chunk of the line ahead of us would drop out.
After a while, a security guard on a golf cart rode over to our sector (by now there were many more people standing behind Hair Balls), asked for our attention and informed us that based on their experience, it was extremely unlikely that any of us past the first 200 would get tickets. Each person in line is entitled to four tickets.
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As Hair Balls started mentally reviewing how many covered seats there were, the guard went on to say that other seats were reserved for the corporate sponsors who help pay for the whole thing. Ah.
We dropped out of line and just for grins walked over to the guard and asked when people started showing up. The guards come on duty at 6 a.m., he said and when the first one got there that morning, there was already a line. "We figure they started around 5."
There was always the option of sitting on the hill in the non-covered seating, but Hair Balls knew when it had been beat. People who would arrive at 5 in the morning to get tickets five and a half hours later are in a whole other league. And arriving early enough to get a good viewing spot on the hill (no tickets required) would have required more determination than Hair Balls was feeling that day.
So we eased on down the road.