How 'Jersey Boys' Gave a Lesson in Wheelchair Accessibility
“What are you thinking for your birthday?” my daughter asked. “Got anywhere special in mind?”
It was the big 50, but I wasn’t feeling very celebratory. This multiple sclerosis (MS) really puts a damper on everything. My heart and my family wanted to “do it up big.” My body – not so much. I’m not really up for much these days (so tired) but was open to ideas.
“I’m thinking New York City is the place to be. There’s place in South Street Seaport where you can have dinner on a boat and take a tour of the harbor,” she said. “Or maybe have dinner and do some shopping and sightseeing… How about a Yankee game to see Derek Jeter?” (My not-so-secret love.)
She’s so cute. Such good ideas. I love how my family always tries to think of fun things to do. Right away I started thinking. Although I do not always have to use my wheelchair, I figured that would be the mode of travel that made the most sense. So wherever I chose must be accessible. On a boat? Will there be stairs? Where should we sightsee? Parking? Crowds? These are the things I have to consider before I go out.
“I’ve got it!” my girl says. “How about you and Dad see a Broadway show, have dinner and stay overnight in a hotel? You can pick a show and find a hotel in walking distance. We’ll find a garage, so parking won’t be an issue.”
She awaits my response… “Perfect!” I say. Now I’m excited, and we begin our quest to pick a date, find a show and a hotel.
After not much time at all, I pick my show: “Jersey Boys.” Call me an old soul. I love, love, love that music. We find a hotel right down the block with a parking garage next door and restaurants close by. And all this before Hubby got home from work! With all his questions answered (of which there were many), plans were set.
Finally, the day arrived! I can’t say Hubby was as excited as I was (he was nervous about our trek into the city), but he put on a strong face, and off we went.
I researched the theatre and discovered it has a wheelchair-accessible entrance. So, there we were rolling past the crowd (Sorry, guys!) to take the secret entrance. We were greeted by Diego who took us on the special elevator into the arena. I was given the choice to either stay in my chair (whereby they would remove the theatre seat… I know, right?) or transfer. I chose to transfer and couldn’t wait for the show to start. Now I can’t say being in a wheelchair is fun in any way, but there certainly can be perks. We usually get to bypass the crowds, enter early and have very good seats.
The show was great! I must say that although I was jealous of the ladies dancing in the aisles and wished I could too, I enjoyed the show so much. The singing gave me chills and brought me to tears at one point. And although I caught several of Hubby’s “I love you, but stop screeching in my ear” glances, it was a memorable night.
Before I knew it, Diego was back with my chair and had us out of the theatre before the crowd.
Oh, what a night…
Sorry, Jeter, maybe next time.
Photo: L-R: Cory Jeacoma, Matthew Dailey, Mark Ballas and Keith Hines in the national tour of “Jersey Boys,” which plays May 16 through June 24, 2017, at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 972-4400. Media Contact: [email protected] / (213) 972-7376. Photo by Jim Carmody.