Billy Porter, Lindsay Mendez, Harvey Fierstein, Marin Mazzie and More Share TKTS Memories

By Playbill Staff
04 Jul 2013

Marin Mazzie
Photo by Mike Sharkey

Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie

In the spring of 1982 I was a senior at Western Michigan University. I had gotten my Equity card the summer before and I was going to be moving to NYC in the fall. I had only been to the city once, so when spring break came along, it was time for a trip to The Big Apple. I stayed at The Taft Hotel (now the Michelangelo) on 7th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. The room was small, shabby and cheap, and the perfect location for my main reason for being there: To see as many shows as possible in a week.

It was a very rainy week, but I didn't care. As I walked the dingy streets of Times Square, I stumbled upon a Save the Theatres rally. It was a movement to save The Morosco, The Helen Hayes and The Bijou Theatres. Joe Papp, Christopher Reeve, Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst were all there speaking – something I will never forget.

The friend I was traveling with knew about the TKTS booth, so off we went. We stood in line taking in the city and feeling so energized to be in the heart of one of the most famous places on earth, Times Square. The first show we saw was 42nd Street. Having seen it on the Tonys the year before, it seemed like a great show to kick off our week of theatre-going. We settled into our house left box seats at the Majestic Theatre, the curtain rose, Lee Roy Reams and Wanda Richert were singing "I'm Young and Healthy," and my friend promptly threw up all over the floor. There was no one else in our box, thank goodness, and I immediately jumped up and ran for an usher. She was, in true, wonderful, NY theatre usher fashion, completely unfazed. She said, "Honey, this happens all the time, don't worry about it. Just take your friend home." We sadly left the show and my friend had the flu for most of the week. I, luckily, did not get sick, and saw Crimes of the Heart, The Dresser, Evita, Amadeus, Children of a Lesser God and The Pirates of Penzance. On our last night my friend was better and we returned to the Majestic to see the entire production of 42nd Street. All of my tickets were bought at the TKTS booth, and it continued to be the place I bought my theatre tickets.