Last summer, I had a startling revelation while attending a Saturday matinee of Sunset Boulevard. Actually, I had two startling revelations, but the other one doesn’t involve seeing Michael Xavier in a Speedo at the start of the second act. As I watched Glenn Close’s tragic portrayal of a faded Hollywood star behaving years younger than her age, I looked out at my fellow audience members and saw rows and rows of seemingly sane and well-adjusted adults, seated underneath the glittering chandeliers of the Palace Theatre—and grasping cheap plastic sippy cups like contented toddlers. Let me just say, it was a little too meta to handle before 3pm.
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Like many an airline or regional sports stadium before them, Broadway theaters have clearly determined that a mildly tackier customer experience is worth it to make more money overall. One of the three companies that runs most of the bars at Broadway theaters is, appropriately enough, called Sweet Concessions. I would argue, however, that feeling like you’re trapped in the world’s most expensive daycare after paying hundreds of dollars to see a Broadway show is not very sweet to concede.
Still, every one of us has the power to resist the dollar-store siren song of sippy cups for the cultured adult. This is about more than just beverage containers with attachable lids. Today, many audience antics—like loud conversations and blatant tripod filming—take place within a range of acceptable behavior irreparably lowered by the presence of items you’d find in a bargain bin at Babies R Us. And they leak.