So at last night’s performance (Thursday) started ten minutes late.

“But Joe,” you anxiously ask, “why would the show start a full ten minutes late? Especially on a night in which the audience was filled with wonderful, wonderful critics? Weren’t the actors ready? Wasn’t the band ready? Wasn’t the backstage crew ready? Why, Joe, why?”

Good questions, generic Toxaholic! And yes, the actors, band and backstage crew were all ready at 8:00 sharp, as always. And yes, I love all critics and think they’re wonderful though they shouldn’t feel the need to return the favor and write nice things about me though that would make them super people if they did. No, none of the aforementioned were at fault.

“Then who was?!” you ask, now more anxious and suspense-ridden than ever.

Well, it seems that last night, a large group had purchased tickets for the show, and they were seated across the front row. Thank you, large groups, I love you! But, last night at 8PM, this large group was nowhere to be found. Nor were they anywhere to be found at 8:03. So the house management decided to wait for them for a few more minutes, so when they took their seats they wouldn’t disturb the performance since they were seated in the entire first row. Let me repeat that — they were seated in the entire first row.

Well, at about 8:09, we all assumed that they weren’t going to come so we just started the show. All right, Toxicaholics, guess who walked in at 8:10? Guess. C’mon, guess!

Aha! You got it! The entire first row.

Now we have a strict policy at Toxic — latecomers will not be seated until after the opening number; that way the latecomers don’t disturb the ticketbuyers who actually showed up on time. So latecomers stand in the back until the opening number’s applause and scenic transition.

So the opening number finished (to thunderous applause! Yay!) and the New World Stages ushers quickly and deftly guided THE ENTIRE FRONT ROW to their seats. (You rock, New World Stages ushers!) And that would’ve all been fine but then as the next scene started, many of those in the front row decided that they wanted to switch seats with others in the front row, which was A LITTLE DISTRACTING to the saintly Sara Chase and Demond Green who happened to be on stage WORKING while all this was going on. It also happened to be A LITTLE DISTRACTING to the audience members who came on time and were seated behind the front row, which happened to be EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE THEATRE.

As for your author, I was in the back row hyperventilating weeping praying hyperventilating and weeping and praying. Amazingly, the actors carried on brilliantly although I’m sure they were hearing, “No, no, let me sit next to Bobby, you sit here next to Rachel … did I step on your foot, Samantha, sorry, sorry…okay, let’s watch the show … is she supposed to blind or something?”

Despite all this delightfulness, the rest of the show went terrifically with another Hyeana audience (for this of you who just thought — “Hyeana audience? WTF?” — please check my invaluable Audience Analysis blog from a couple of days ago.) Also, the entire front row turned out to be a very fun group, even though they will never know what happened in the opening number (unless they buy tix to see the show again and show up on time. Do that! Do that!)
Also, one of the front row latecomers was a woman who guffawed non-stop for the entire show (except of course, during the opening number.) And we thoroughly encourage people to guffaw non-stop for the entire show, since it’s appropriate for The Toxic Avenger in a way that it wouldn’t be appropriate for, say, Death of a Salesman.

But my fav moment from last night had to be after Sarah told Toxie — ALERT DE SPOILER! ALERT DE SPOILER” — “Maybe we should just be friends…” and a large part of the audience went “Awwwwww …” followed by the other half of the audience laughing at the other half of the audience who had the involuntary group response. So cool.

Today, my buddies George and Scott flew in from Chicago to attend the show this weekend (I already told them that Keiko flew in from Japan a couple of weeks ago, so they don’t win the coveted Longest-Distance-Flown-In-To-See-The-Show award. Keiko’s got’em easily beat by about 11 hours. You go, Keiko!) Still, it’s nice to have friends in town to o help walk the dog share the show with.

Hoping that the front row shows up on time tonight,