Regular summer audience members at Near West Theatre know they need to come with a strategy, or many, for staying cool. Not that you can ever completely beat the heat in the third-floor ballroom of the St. Patrick’s Club Building, short of last year’s miraculous gift of generator-powered air conditioning, which we regrettably can’t repeat this year. If Side Show, opening for an eight-show run this Friday, July 19, will be your first experience with us, here are some of best hot-weather tips we know.
Light clothing. This is no time for formal theater attire. Tank tops, shorts, sun dresses, sandals, flip-flops –whatever works for you works for us. Wear the coolest clothes you can.
Lots of water. Feel free to bring a big container of water or whatever will keep you hydrated. You can take it right to your seat. Our concession stand sells chilled water and soft drinks before the show and at intermission, too.
Ice in your lap. One creative trick is to freeze a big jug of water or a blue freezer pack in advance and bring it in a plastic grocery bag or other drip-free wrapper. Hold it in your lap during the show. One patron we know even slips off her sandals and puts an ice pack under each foot!
Fan in your hand. We’ve seen old-fashioned church fans, new-fangled, battery-powered fans that also spray mist, and plain-old, trigger-operated spray bottles. We’ll have hand-held electric fans for sale at our gift shop, too, by opening night, we hope. It’s all good. If you’re spritzing, just don’t hit your neighbor without permission. (You might get requests, though.)
…And bring an adventurous attitude! You’ll see sweat pouring off this cast of 13- to 21-year-olds, but more than that you’ll be amazed at the energy they’re pouring into the story, action and music of this engaging, dark, endearing musical. Advance tickets and information are available online anytime; by phone weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (216-961-6391); or by visiting our business office during those same hours (6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9). Any remaining tickets are sold at the theater, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, starting one hour before each show. It’s $8 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under, and $20 for a reserved Star Seat that offers special benefits and supports our art and mission. — Hans Holznagel
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Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell
Music by Henry Krieger
Vocal and dance arrangements by David Chase
Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler
Side Show is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.