My friend Laurie and I typically wind up in the most amusing situations.
We’ve crashed a few parties, gone to numerous book signings, and weaseled our way into some fascinating scenarios.
But for this particularly cold Saturday in January, we had simple plans: Attempt to purchase student rush tickets to a Broadway matinee, and then enjoy a reasonably-priced brunch.
So we waited in line at the box office of The Heiress, completely frozen, though high in spirits. There were only two people in front of us, meaning our chances of grabbing discounted seats were greater than usual.
Forty-five freezing minutes later, we had two tickets to the show (but, admittedly, we had lost all feeling in our fingers and toes).
The rest of the morning was spent at a diner in Hell’s Kitchen, where we warmed up over coffee and eggs. Next we found ourselves traipsing through Soho, amongst the discounted stacks of books at Housing Works. Finally, by 1:45 Laurie and I were ushered into the Walter Kerr Theatre on West 48th Street.
A man checked our tickets.
“Oh, first row,” he said, pointing down, down, down, toward the stage.
Laurie and I exchanged excited glances. We had noticed our tickets were listed as "orchestra," but we hadn’t realized our good luck until seated approximately a foot away from the stage. If I had reached my hand out far enough, I could have grabbed the velvety red curtain – and all for a lovely $30.
The play starred Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey), and David Strathairn (Lincoln, The Bourne Ultimatum).
It was a well-done show with ornate costumes and a lavish set that was even more fascinating from the front row. I’m certainly no theater critic, but I was most impressed by Chastain’s flood of real tears in Act II and Stevens’ ability to completely snuff out his British accent, transforming himself into an earnest Yankee.
After the curtain fell, Laurie suggested we find the stage door to see if any of the actors appeared. As you might guess from previous Facebook posts and squeals of delight via Instagram, the performers did indeed grace us with their presence.
Somehow I found myself relatively close to Dan Stevens, or Matthew Crawley as you might know him from the British miniseries, Downton Abbey.
(And let’s be honest… he’s the main reason I wanted to see The Heiress.)
I passed our Playbills over a girl’s head so that he might quickly sign them. Suddenly, space opened up, and I was standing right in front of the actor, congratulating him as he initialed our programs.
Picture. I… I need a picture, I thought to myself while fumbling to pull out my cell phone. He just stood there and looked dashing.
Don’t act crazy.
You are starting to look a little crazy.
Just focus on opening the camera app.
Laurie asked if I wanted a picture with Stevens. No, no… I didn’t want to bother him, I replied in haste. Meanwhile I attempted to snap a photo of the actor while he signed another fan’s playbill.
But panic ensued.
My phone…my brand NEW iPhone… was completely frozen. Apparently, he too was star struck by the great and admirable Downton Abbey character. I silently cursed all the technology ever created in the world.
Click, click… CLICK! Nothing.
Now you really look crazy, my mind politely told me. But augh! I needed a picture of Dan Stevens, aka Cousin Matthew, aka the sudden love of my life. I’m not crazy!
Click, click… nope. It wasn’t happening.
Right then, I almost chucked my iPhone at Dan Stevens’ head.
WHY NOW!? Whhhhhhy!?
Luckily, Laurie remained calm. “Just ask him for a picture Brit,” she said with her camera ready.
“Uh… could I trouble you for a photo?” I hesitantly questioned, with as much poise as possible.
“No trouble at all,” he smiled.
You should know that Stevens has a perfect British accent.
You should also know that while I have a picture with him, my heart is not beating in said photo.
What a good ol' New York kind of day.
[Editor’s Note: I promise I am not as bananas as this blog post may suggest, though I do have a certain weakness for all things British. Also, my bashful iPhone and I are on speaking terms again.]
Laurie and I pre-show.
The cast was uber sweet and signed a ton of Playbills, despite the temperature outside.
Dan Stevens, Matthew Crawley, Morris Townsend; whatever you best know him as.
(I really did try to be cool. *Try*)