Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Sidney Harman Hall. Is it worth $72.00?

I had commented in a earlier post about paying $72.00 for a play. Well last Sunday My wife and I finally made it to Sidney Harman Hall for the first time to check out the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington DC.

Now’ you might be asking, if I love Shakespeare so much why hadn’t I been to the  Sidney Harman Hall yet? Well’ I’d been hesitant in the past to checkout a play there for the simple fact of cost. $72.00 seemed like a lot of money, even though that may be cheap by New York standards. But lets face it, there are several plays every year in the DC area that cost any where from $10.00 to $40.00, with at least 2 or 3 productions that are free. So not being what I would call a “Theater Person” myself, (I really don’t have a desire to see any other plays other than Shakespeare) that $72.00 was gonna be really hard to let go of. But’ then the opportunity finally came. Because of the Blizzard of 2010 the STC was doing Henry V (one of my favorites) for $25.00, and I just couldn’t pass up this chance.

The Sidney Harman Hall Experience
So I went on-line, selected my tickets, and made my purchases at STC’s web site. Uncertain as to how good the seats were, I decided to call the box office and was cheerfully greeted by a pleasant woman in no time. She explained where the seats were located that I had just purchased, and suggested a different set of seats which turned out to be wonderful.

Getting to the Sidney Harman Hall was easy enough, I live within walking distance of a Metro, and the Sidney Harman Hall is in the visual line of sight from our destination stop at the Verizon Center Metro. To easy!

The theater itself was very well laid out, we sat in the front row of the upper level mezzanine with a really nice view of all the action. As for the stage, it was surprisingly low, just about a foot high. But this turns out to be really nice since they use stadium seating, the first 3 or 4 rows won’t give you permanent neck problems from having to stare straight up for 3 hours. The acoustics were perfect also, at no time did we have to strain to hear what was being said on the stage. The seats, cushy and comfortable. We were able to lean back and still see all of the stage without any obstructions.

But $72.00! was it worth it?
The long and the short of it is yes. Now let me explain why.
Most of the plays I have seen were using “original staging practices”, which means the lights stay on, the costuming and staging may be minimal, the players generally play multiple parts, and there’s generally some sort of audience interaction. And by audience interaction this could include a bawd sitting on your lap for half a scene (taunting your wife), to you being pulled onto the stage by Sir John Falstaff as he recruits rouges and wretches to be cannon fodder in his dismal platoon! These plays my friend are generally a lot of fun.

So how was The Shakespeare Theatre  Company different? They had complete theatrical stage lighting, full booming surround sound, amazing costumes that looked like they would cost a princely fortune. Suits of armor descending from the roof to the awaiting rank of soldiers below. A battlement in the background for a King to descend by ropes, or a soldier to climb up using hand holds. In essence it was a theatrical event, and a spectacle to see. It felt lavish, and looked quite expensive to produce.

Will I go back again?
Yes, most definitely. There are just some plays that would be incredible to see here, and I can’t wait to do just that. My wife and I missed some of the intimacy of the “original staging practices”, but this is meant to be different,  and honestly the grandeur was just amazing. I can’t afford to do it often, but I will do it again.

link: The Sidney Harman Hall House Managers Extraordinaire

9 Responses

  1. Did you know they have $20 tix for all shows? It says “C and D section seats are limited and may be obstructed, please call for availability” and it’s the D section that are $20, but the C are cheaper, too. I believe you might not be able to get 2 $20 tix together, but still… it’s a way to get in the theater without busting your budget. I wonder how “obstructed” the view is. Anyway, see here and then click on “view price chart.” Also, here:

    Also, I saw Synetic’s Antony & Cleopatra has $25 seats available (lansburgh theater).

    I haven’t seen any of these, but hope to soon!

    • Thanks –
      Cool on the 20.00 tickets.. I think I noticed that a while ago on their web page, along with the word “Obstructed”… Until I actually went to the Sidney Harman Hall for the first time, that didn’t sound to appealing. But now that I’ve gone, I know that it would be worth it… I’m just imaging The Tempest, or Mid-Summer there where the theatrics can really be showcased. I still may pay full price to see Richard II considering, when done right, it’s one of my favorites.

  2. […] Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Sidney Harman Hall. Is it worth $72.00? […]

  3. Just a heads up that Harman Hall is spelled with an “a” not and “o.”

    • Thanks!!! You are very correct, and I made the corrections… That’s funny, it makes me want to add some intentional bloopers just to see if anyone else out there is actually reading this web page :)

  4. Also – are you aware of The website/service is free, but you have to register and commit to receiving at least one email per week from them of discount offers in areas/genres you tell them you’re interested in. Anyway it gets you 1/2 price tickets based on what the theaters make available, the only downside is you’re only guranteed the specific seating section – not the actual seats. (You won’t know the actual seats until you pick up your tickets). But Goldstar is always happy to include any information on the order (accessable, etc) they send to the theater.

  5. […] Henry V: Shakespeare Theater Company (DC) : I saw this version back in February, and can highly recommend it. This was my first time at the Sydney Harman Hall, and here is want I had to say about it. […]

  6. […] Link to my first visit to the Sydney Harman Hall to see Henry V […]

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