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Broadway usher fired for sneaking into performance of RAISIN attended by the Obamas

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AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
Interesting story here:

As a teenager in 1975, Deborah McIntyre found work as an usher in those stately Broadway theaters: the Barrymore, the Longacre, the Majestic, the Lyceum and the New Amsterdam. It was a backstage world of lush curtains, narrow stairways, tiny dressing rooms and intensely felt make-believe.

........

Of late, she worked as an usher for “A Raisin in the Sun,” with Denzel Washington, at the Barrymore. So it was that she heard that President Obama and his wife were coming to see the play, on Friday, April 11.

Ms. McIntyre is African-American, which was rare for ushers when she started out. To see Barack and Michelle, watching a black cast led by Denzel? As she puts it: “Oh. My. God.”

She was not scheduled to work on that Friday night, but she went to the theater because she wanted to see the president. She arrived at the gold and glass doors of the Barrymore about 5:30 p.m. Already, the Secret Service was in place. Ms. McIntyre saw the house manager, and she says he confirmed that she worked there. Security let her in.

Ms. McIntyre went downstairs to the staff dining space to sip soup and wait for the play to start.

She stood in the mezzanine that night, nearly vibrating. At the curtain call, the camera flashes flickered like crazed fireflies. She felt tears.

On the way out, she saw the apprentice manager. Did you work, she asked? No, Ms. McIntyre said she replied, “I was just here to help out.”


........

She ended up talking to a vice president for Shubert. You didn’t have a ticket and you breached security, he told her. What gives you this right? We’re going to have to terminate you.

“Terminate me?” Her voice hiked up, as she recalled it. “Nothing happened!”

Security officers escorted her to clean out her locker. Shubert runs more than a dozen theaters, and she was banned from all of them. (She can work elsewhere.) Ticket offices even taped up photographs of her, as if she were a wanted criminal.


According to the article, she's retained a lawyer and is fighting her termination and banning. Some people are suggesting that the punishment is too harsh, but what do you expect when the President and First Lady are involved? What do you all think?


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/nyregion/security-and-enthusiasm-clash-in-theater-of-the-absurd.html?ref=theater
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
Updated On: 6/12/14 at 09:28 AM
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
I just started a threat at approx the same moment as you.

If you've been going to the theatre long enough, you will know and recognize Debbie, an old school usher, who was, up until recently, working the Barrymore. She snuck into the theatre to watch Obama watch "Raisin in the Sun" and was fired for it. This is the Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/nyregion/security-and-enthusiasm-clash-in-theater-of-the-absurd.html?ref=theater&target=comments#commentsContainer

You can register a complaint with Shubert management at 212.944.3700 if you so wish (and I hope you do as this firing was just wrong). Their offices open at 10am.

Updated On: 6/12/14 at 09:33 AM
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
The punishment is extremely harsh. But why didn't she contact management to see if she couldn't have gotten clearance to work or view the performance, instead of sneaking in?
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StageManager2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/21/05
She doesn't look like a teenager. I guess black does crack sometimes.
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra
Salve, Salve Regina
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
O clemens O pia
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StageManager2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/21/05
She doesn't look like a teenager. I guess black does crack sometimes.
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra
Salve, Salve Regina
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
O clemens O pia
AC126748 Profile Photo
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
I would be curious to know if the house manager has received any kind of reprimand in the case. Based on the article, it sounds like he or she passed MacIntyre in--that makes him/her as responsible for the situation as anyone.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
People are gonna go batsh*t and overreact, and Shubert will wind up reinstating her with an apology.



NiceWork2
Swing
joined:4/2/14
While the punishment may sound stiff, breaching security protocol for a Secret Service-organized function is an infraction that most people at other ordinary jobs would indeed get terminated for. In addition to workplace rules she violated, she most likely broke federal law in the process, though no one would ever charge her for something like this. That being said, the punishment is extraordinarily harsh in light of her extended service. I thought all house employees were unionized - does the union have no power to intervene on her behalf? Is Shubert that uncaring? Even if termination was non-negotiable in Shubert's view, a firing without at least consulting union officials is indeed heartless.
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
"She doesn't look like a teenager. I guess black does crack sometimes."

Huh? She was a teenager in 1975.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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everythingtaboo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/5/04
It's a tough call. Frankly, she's lucky she didn't end up in Guantanamo. She shouldn't have been fired, but they I'm sure Shubert had to make an example to everyone working for them that this sh*t cannot fly. I would've perhaps suspended her the remainder of the run, and the house manager docked pay or formally warned - the HM may not have realized she was there to see the show, but she should've though to ask.

She (and really everyone at the Brooks) should've been smart enough to realize you can't screw around when it comes to POTUS.


"Hey little girls, look at all the men in shiny shirts and no wives!" - Jackie Hoffman, Xanadu, 19 Feb 2008
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Eris0303
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/07
She doesn't look like a teenager. I guess black does crack sometimes.

Wait...what?
"All our dreams can come true -- if we have the courage to pursue them." -- Walt Disney We must have different Gods. My God said "do to others what you would have them do to you". Your God seems to have said "My Way or the Highway".
getlucky2
Understudy
joined:3/26/14
"Huh? She was a teenager in 1975."

He clearly can't read.
ArtMan
Broadway Legend
joined:9/10/08
If she SNUCK in, she knew from the start she was wrong. I am curious with her senority/experience, why she wasn't scheduled to work that night in the first place. She may not be the great employee we think she is. On an important night, like this, the House Manager would have his most experienced and personable employees working. The House manager may assumed she was working that night and that is why he allowed her in. I would think the theatre had at least a few days notice, for clearance,etc. and she could have easily been put on the schedule.
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
I'm thinking that the HM should know who his ushers are each night so that when Ms. McIntyre showed up, he would have questioned why she was there and this wouldn't have happened. I agree both are guilty but the HM should have sent her away.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Honestly, I could see why he wouldn't know right then and there exactly who was on/off that night. With all the hoopla, it likely didn't register that she wasn't there to work. But yes, I would think the HM should bear some of the responsibility.

I DO wonder what the protocol (without the POTUS' attendace) is. Are ushers ALLOWED to come see shows then they aren't working? I would think not.

We certainly don't know the whole story, she may have other violations on her record as well. Things are never as black and white as the first version of a story lead us to believe.

As an outsider, I can certainly see both sides.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
billis2
Chorus Member
joined:3/22/13
Nicework2, what federal law would she have broken? Trespassing and the like are not federal laws.
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
As a theater house manager, I made it my business to know who my ushers were each night. Goes without saying that the boss should know who to expect and who not to expect.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Yes, SHOULD know, I'm just saying, I can see how that might have gotten by him/her.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
"Honestly, I could see why he wouldn't know right then and there exactly who was on/off that night."

In all my former experience as a house manager, I had a list of who my ushers as soon as I arrived at the theatre.

The article makes it sound like the HM wasn't aware she was there.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
What would have happened if she had asked her boss if she could be there that night, either subbing for another usher or as an audience member?

But who the hell would think it a good idea to "sneak" into a theater when the president and the first lady are attending? Hasn't she ever heard of John Wilkes Booth?
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
Especially on THAT night. Everything about that theater should have been on heightened scrutiny. Especially who the ushers are. He slipped up but it was a serious mistake.

He ought to be put on some suspension.
<-----craves juicy pizza
Updated On: 6/12/14 at 10:43 AM
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CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
I feel bad for her. I can understand her wanting to see the President and First Lady, especially going to see a play that broke new ground not only for African Americans but all minorities. I wish she would have cleared it with her house manager first and not gone ahead and just showed up as if she were going to work when she wasn't scheduled to.

I think the decision to fire her, ban her from the entire organization and then post her picture as if she were a convicted felon is a bit over the top. I'm sure the house manager caught hell from his boss and he used her as an example to keep his staff "in line".

It's unfortunate this went down the way it did.

Hopefully things will turn around if enough people make noise about it.



"I was raised to be charming, not sincere"
Updated On: 6/12/14 at 10:46 AM
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
I don't like that her picture was posted either, but what she did actually was pretty serious. Let's say a celebrity was scheduled to be in the audience, and this usher wanted to see them. This would also be breaking a rule, but not serious enough for firing. It would deserve a small punishment.

However, when the POTUS is involved, security is tighter than at any other time. I'm surprised she didn't realize this and took such a chance. She was totally out of line.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
"You can register a complaint with Shubert management at 212.944.3700 if you so wish (and I hope you do as this firing was just wrong). Their offices open at 10am. "

No, I don't believe this firing was just wrong. It was just right. And probably the HM should have been fired also.

How do you expect the Shuberts to react to a breach of security with the POTUS? Even if the Shuberts didn't think the firing was necessary, they are bound to act accordingly with the highest power in our country. It was imperative that they take this as seriously as is warranted.
<-----craves juicy pizza
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James885
Broadway Legend
joined:5/2/05
She definitely screwed up sneaking into a performance where POTUS was present. I understand she wanted to see him, but she totally went about it the wrong way. I agree that she should've cleared it with the house manager. Instead, she committed a serious security breach. What if she had turned out to be some nut? She could've potentially harmed the President, as well as others there.

When I first read the article, I didn't agree with the decision to fire her, but now that I think about it, I do agree - what she did was very serious, and shouldn't go without a harsh punishment. I also understand the need to make an example out of her - if folks knew she got away with it scot-free or with just a slap on the wrist, then maybe others would try it.





"You drank a charm to kill John Proctor's wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!" - Betty Parris to Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
Updated On: 6/12/14 at 11:02 AM
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CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
She made a poor choice. She's unemployed. The President of the United States is safe and well. Nothing to see here.




LMAO
"I was raised to be charming, not sincere"

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