Here Come the Royals! Report from Opening Night

For my money, a Broadway opening is the next best thing to a Royal Wedding. No, there isn’t a chariot or any chintzy memorabilia, but as my first-night experience at “The People in the Picture” proves, Broadway premiers have an undeniable allure and, yes, sense of royalty.

The reigning monarch at this particular kingdom was our own Kate Middleton, theater star Donna Murphy. Headlining “People” as a Holocaust survivor splinched between two eras, Murphy filled Roundabout’s Studio 54 with a tri-generational look at ancestry, sacrifice, and passing things on.

As serfs of the rear mezzanine, my friends and I dutifully followed our post-show instructions and headed directly to the premier party at the Marriot. Feasting on delectables like fried chickpeas, sautéed shrimp, and mashed potatoes, we all wondered one thing: When would our queen arrive? Where was Donna?

Being a theatrical peasant had one advantage. While the lords, ladies, barons, and baronesses were stationed at the center of the sprawling ballroom, we were relegated to the periphery – right next to entryway. No royalty could get past us!

But the hours slipped by. Yummy, show-themed drinks (“Delicious Dybbuk!” “Raspberry Raisel!”) helped to pass the time. That, and the desert tables cascading with treats so decadent that Bacchus would blush. (My favorite: silver spoons with bites of lemon meringue pie baked onto them!) Sugar and alcohol proved to be distracting ingredients, indeed.

And then – the big moment! With a fanfare of trumpets and harpsichord, Her Highness arrived. (She was a super-fashionable two hours late.) Decked out in a long, fluttery gown, Murphy was every ounce the Queen we had expected. Like those poor British suckers sporting Union Jack regalia, we gaped, ogled, and cheered.

Before long the lights came up on the boozy fete, and we subjects were again separated from our ruler. “The People in the Picture” was this season’s last Broadway opening, so the severance was extra melancholy. Like the Brits, we’re now plunged into a sea of time with little cause for extravaganza.

And yet – we were there! We saw her! We saw the Queen! Here’s hoping next season brings equally wonderful monarchs.

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