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BWW Blog: That Time I Snuck Into the Tony Awards

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Oh what we’ll do for the things we love.

BWW Blog: That Time I Snuck Into the Tony Awards

In the least creepy way possible, one of the things I'm best at is sneaking into places where I *probably* shouldn't be. Let's take it back to June 2017.

I was staying over in New York for my cousin's wedding, which happened to be during the same weekend as the Tony's. So, as one does, on Sunday morning I made my mom and grandma wake up with me at 5AM to head over to Radio City Music Hall. I'm not sure what I was really planning to do, but I thought I could at least get a glimpse of the ~Broadway Stars~ heading into rehearsal for the ceremony that night. Not to mention, I was dressed to the nines in lace up heels and wearing huge round black sunglasses. 17 year-old me obviously didn't understand that New Yorkers, especially Broadway actors heading to a Tony dress rehearsal early in the morning, are not accessorizing as if going out for a night on the town. Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb while we stalked the stage door. As I watched the Manhattan sun make its way above the skyscrapers, to my dismay, I did not see anyone I recognized come even near the building. About two hours since arriving at our stake-out post, I began to notice that one boy, probably only a little older than I was, had been going in and out of the building multiple times carrying different pieces of equipment.

BWW Blog: That Time I Snuck Into the Tony AwardsBored, tired, and eager for a chance to get closer to the event, I asked the boy if he needed help. To my surprise and joy, he laughed a little but said sure. It was obvious he was exhausted, and probably thought letting me help would be an exciting way to spice up his mundane stage management tasks. My mom and grandma laughed as they watched me, still wearing my very uncomfortable heels and cocktail hour outfit, wheel in the mics for the Tony Awards into Radio City. As I was waiting for the elevator to carry this box of mics up to an unknown location, other crew members joined us. A few of them acknowledged that they hadn't met me yet, but they all quickly introduced themselves to me and engaged me in casual conversation. As soon as the elevator opened up to the fourth floor, it was like I was Dorothy in Oz. People were buzzing around everywhere, yelling different tasks to each other, and quickly unloading and moving around different boxes of equipment. Not only was I not wearing the all black uniforms as everyone around me, but I had literally no (insert bad word here) idea of what I was doing. I crouched down and pretended to be unloading the mics when an older man approached me. Upon him asking me what team I was on, I hesitated, then answered "production." When he replied "Well, I'm the head of production, and I've never seen you before", I knew that no matter how much I tried to spin this one, I was out of luck. Long story short, I was asked to leave the building. But wait- this is just intermission.

BWW Blog: That Time I Snuck Into the Tony AwardsWhile I was busy playing the role of production intern, my mom and grandma had been befriending one of the workers outside. Their shift was almost up, and after I explained my failed attempt to get one step closer to the Tony's, the worker offered to give me their pass. As I was probably now on Radio City's "most wanted" list, I went back to my room, changed my outfit, hair style, etc., and made my way back to the building with my official pass on.

With a newfound confidence and feeling of hope, I walked through the stage door and passed security as if I was the host of the award show that night myself. The security guards barely glanced at my pass, which was actually for the day before (confidence is key, everyone). I wasted no time when I was past them. I started sprinting up the many flights of stairs, fueled by the feat I had just accomplished. I spent about an hour exploring the dressing rooms of the hosts and performers, and also the dance rooms of The Rockettes. As a dancer myself, giving myself a self-guided BTS tour of Radio City was pretty awesome.

I knew I couldn't screw this up again, so I stopped running rampage through the dressing rooms and practice spaces and made it my goal to find the theatre. And it was pretty easy. I got in the elevator, and when the elevator operator asked where to, I simply said, "the stage" (very dramatic, I know). The doors opened, and I exited into the control room for the Tony's (WHAT?!??!!). I was shaking and couldn't believe my eyes, which scanned the room and landed upon the sign that said "house entrance". I burst through the door right as the opening number was in the middle of their rehearsal, and as this was the year of "Dear Evan Hansen", in an almost too-perfectly scripted way, the lyrics "You Will Be Found" blasted in my face as I stepped into the theatre of everyone's dreams. I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. I was at the very front of the house, right under the stage, and the sweats were only about 5% full. I hopped into the center third row seat and stayed there for the next four hours for my exclusive preview of that night's award ceremony.

I did miss my cousin's wedding brunch and survived only off of the two leftover Schmackary's cookies I had in my bag, but it was an experience I would never trade for anything. With my newfound interest in the production elements of theatre, it was surreal to experience the dress rehearsal process in person. My heart skipped every time I would see a new cast enter the theatre, in full dress and makeup, just sitting several rows back from me as they waited their turn to take the stage.

As I watched the show on TV that night back at home, I would constantly tell my parents what was about to happen and give away the punchlines of all of the jokes. I didn't know exactly what I was planning to accomplish when I woke up before dawn that morning, but by the time I went to bed, I had surpassed my own expectations. Radio City Music Hall and the 71st Tony Awards will always have a place on my heart, as will the production intern and worker who entertained my hopes for the day. Hopefully one day I won't have to break any rules to get into the Tony's, but until then, I guess a little rule breaking will have to suffice.


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