The truly technical term for my line of work is “street team member.” Any show with any kind of budget these days has one (including the guy who stands on the corner for “Private Eyes Gentleman’s Club”. Total creeper.) You see us loitering street corners dressed in the-show-that-owns-us paraphernalia handing out fliers or fans or yelling ear catching jingles. Fortunately working for “the man” sells itself- it’s possibly the most recognizable brand name in America- so I never have to yell anything or make any kind of pitch. I’m still out there acting my ass off however, as the model cute/friendly/helpful/happy-go-lucky street team member. It’s quite the role, not really my type per say but I rock it.
All the different street teams are pretty buddy-buddy out on the streets. There’s a shared “omg tourists suck and it’s hot as balls” that really brings people together. We watch each others backs against the weirdos and share stories about the ridiculous things people do. We’re all in the same boat (although I’ve learned “the man” pays $3 more per hour than the non-man…)
Then there’s the street team for Young Frankenstein (the musical). No cute-friendly-helpful bullshit roles for them. They’ve got a tiny team -only two guys- who are dressed up like Frankenstein (the monster) and Igor from the show. They get to run around Times Square as their monster characters scaring tourists, posing for pictures, teasing everyone, and hell having a jolly fun time.
Frankenstein, as he is a newly created monster of course, doesn’t really talk to people- he growls and grunts, bears his fangs and basically sends them to Igor if they have any questions. That’s the way to deal with silly tourists. Now imagine my surprise when one day he comes over to me, drops the character: “God, can you believe how fucking hot it is today? Woo!” He has a tenor voice with a decidedly gay inflection. Totally cute! OMG, You can talk! I blunder back- immediately realizing what an idiot I sound like.
From then on we’ve been friends. I’ve learned that he has a major cooling system inside his costume- completely with fans (the lucky bastard), that Igor wears glasses but he can’t wear them in character so he’s wandering around half blind, that Frankenstein also teaches dance. They’re two really nice guys. It never gets old watching them scare people, or teasing traffic guards, or dancing like no one’s watching (but everyone is) to Sexy Back outside Virgin Megastore. But my favorite moments are when they’re out of character and you see Frankenstein texting on his cell and Igor sucking down a Sunkist. Those are the moments I wish I had a huge state-of-the-art camera strapped around my neck with the telephoto lens in my fanny pack.
I’m still working the ushering gig at night. This means I’m working 49 hours a week. Which is draining as all hell. That and two+ hours of travel time a day…well now you understand the sporadic nature of my updates. The plus side is ushering just got a lot more fun. The Shakespearean tragedy has been replaced by an awesomely energetic rock musical. So the energy in the theater is completely different (it’s tangible, trust me), the audience is completely different, and the show is a whole hour shorter so sometimes I get some sleep.
People like this play, it’s gotten much better press, and has sort of become the must-see play of the summer. This leads to a much more star studded audience. One of the first nights it started raining during the second act. Rain means we ushers really have to work for our money. Rain means every audience member in possession of an umbrella wants to put it up to keep dry, makes sense right? The problem is people behind an umbrella can’t see the stage. Rain means a loosing battle asking patrons to please put the umbrellas down. Now imagine having this battle with Mary-Louise Parker. Yep. Light rain has begun to fall, an umbrella goes up and before I realize who’s under it I’m poking under it informing Ms. Parker that we have to ask her to put it down because it blocks the view of those in back of her. “Well what am I supposed to do?” she asks me. “Uh, get wet? I’m sorry!” I say before I run off to fight more umbrella battles. Awkward! Especially because I really admire her as an actress and love Angels in America and Weeds. Her date was her co-star from Weeds, Justin Kirk (Uncle Andy) so in spite of my the awkwardness, it was pretty cool.
In attendance we’ve had Joan Rivers (who tried to help me do my job. I’m trying to get a woman with crutches to her seat, which is proving slightly difficult, and Joan pipes up “Where are you trying to get her to?” Let me worry about that, thanks. Girl looks even worse than she does on tv), Sandra Oh, Jay- the first winner of Project Runway, and Kevin Kline. I listened to Zach Braff sing to his girlfriend (according to a little imdb search they weren’t officially together at the time of my sighting which I think is funny cause I could’ve called up trashy gossip magazines and caused an “are they back together??” story) as they exited the theater. After observing him throughout the show (he was right in front of me, I couldn’t help it) I gotta say the man doesn’t do much acting on Scrubs. He is JD, JD is him, one and the same.
Along with the celebrities I still keep running into people I know. From high school, college, you name it. Still it surprises me when I’m walking into the theater one night and hear a “Hi!” directed towards me. Especially when it’s coming from a (though seemingly harmless) man I’ve never seen in my life. The look plastered all over my face is ugh, why do random men always talk to me but I’m supposed to be in friendly-helpful staff mode so I reply, “Uh, hi.” He laughs, “Oh, you don’t recognize me!” He then bares his teeth and growls. It’s Frankenstein! Sans costume, off the clock! I get to see him for what he is: sweet, cute, charming, little gay man by night, scary green monster by day. Arguably my favorite star sighting yet.