They live in the shadows. A scarred hero who now only seems to exist within the walls of a theater. No, I’m not talking about the Phantom of the Opera, but Hillary Rodham Clinton who was spotted last night taking in a performance of the musical Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because this is the fourth Broadway show Clinton has been spotted at this year. In addition to Sunset she’s attended performances of The Color Purple, as well as the Tony-winning Best Play The Humans and the new acapella musical In Transit.
Now I have a few reactions to this, the first being that after her brutal and upsetting experiences running for president, Hillary deserves to treat herself to some quality New York theater. After devoting so much time to campaigning around the country, she’s probably accrued a lengthy list of shows she’s missed out on and the most amount of free time she’s had on her hands in years. Plus anybody who’s claimed a victory in the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes should at least be rewarded with the chance to Cynthia Erivo’s Tony winning performance, dammit.
That said, at this point the public has just discovered the easiest way to get themselves in the same room as the iconic politician: buy a ticket to a Broadway show and hope she shows up. Now being a certified theater nerd whose apartment walls are decorated with taped up window cards from his favorite shows, I’ve taken it upon myself to create a short guide to best gauge your chances of sitting in the same audience as Mrs. Clinton.
1. Does the play have strong female characters?
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the first female nominee for President seems to have a soft spot for complicated and compelling female characters. From Celie’s quest to build a life for herself in The Color Purple to Glenn Close’s iconic portrayal of fading starlet Norma Desmond in Sunset, Hillary champions shows that give actresses something to do other than be trophy for the male protagonist.
2. Does the show tell the story of New York?
Between The Humans, a play about a family coming together for a Thanksgiving in a Chinatown apartment and In Transit, a musical exploring the lives and dreams of New Yorkers as they commute on the subway, Hillary has a soft spot for stories about her adopted hometown. Conveying the ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity of the city, New York continues to be the setting of some of the richest drama currently on our stage.
3. Is the show about to close?
If there’s one thing to be said of Hillary’s viewing habits, she does have a tendency to wait until the last possible minute to see a show. When she attended Purple, it was the final performance of its year-plus run, while the former Secretary of State caught The Humans at the show’s final matinee. It could be that she appreciates the emotional intensity actors bring to their final performances, or that she’s been a busy lady with a lot on her plate the last few years, but if an acclaimed show is ending its run you may just see her get in there before that last curtain falls.
So go out there and see some quality theater and you may just happen to find yourself around Mrs. Clinton. Just one request, if you do see her, please for the love of God don’t make things weird. Seriously, let the woman enjoy her show in peace.