One of the best things about theatre is that it’s a social activity. For people working in the field as much as for those who attend it regularly, it can be a great way to meet and mingle with new people.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that it can also be a great way to make a love connection. That’s what happened to two longtime TDF members one magical matinee in the spring of 2003.
“I almost didn’t go to the theatre that day,” recalls Marcia Kaplan-Mann, a retired educator from Brooklyn. “I wasn’t sure I felt like seeing a play.”
She sure is glad she went, after all. The play, appropriately enough, was Enchanted April, and she happened to sit next to Gabriel Wiesenthal, a retired telephone technician from Long Island. They struck up a conversation and found out they were both longtime members of TDF. As she’d done many times before with other fellow TDFers, she exchanged contact information with Gabriel so they could call and compare notes on lists of shows available through TDF.
Gabriel contacted her the next day--and not to compare TDF offers.
“He knew that I liked to collect autographs,” Marcia recounts warmly. “He said he had wanted to stay afterwards to get Molly Ringwald’s autograph for me, but he had to catch his train back to Long Island.”
Since then, the couple have become frequent theatregoing companions. Marcia estimates that through TDF alone they’ve seen “several hundred” shows, and that they’re also members of several theatre companies—-the York, Manhattan Theatre Club, etc. They see a lot of theatre, in other words. And thanks to TDF, they get a lot of discounts.
But sometimes they’ll forgo a discount for a must-see show. Marcia rushed to secure tickets to a double bill of Albee’s The American Dream and The Sandbox at the Cherry Lane.
“In the 1980s, I was an actress in community theatre in Brooklyn,” Marcia says. “I played Mrs. Barker in American Dream, so I can’t wait to see how they do it.”
A straight play is not a characteristic first choice for Marcia, who confesses, “Musical comedy--that’s me. The first Broadway show I saw was Carnival, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Gabriel’s preference is non-musicals, but he does have great memories of the original production of A Chorus Line. Together, he and Marcia attended the current revival in a special TDF fundraiser performance.
It sounds like these two complement each other’s tastes very well.
“Thanks to Gabriel, I’ve become much more eclectic in what I see,” Marcia effuses. “I’ve seen a lot of shows I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.” She cites the Off-Broadway hit Bug and the current play The Farnsworth Invention. “I didn’t plan on seeing that one, Gabriel did--and it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve seen.”
Clearly, it’s a good thing that Marcia made it to that Enchanted matinee nearly five years ago. What’s her advice for any unattached Valentines out there?
"If you want to meet people, go to the theatre and other events alone,” Marcia says. “When you go with others, you tend to talk with them and often do not mix and mingle."
Now, of course, these longtime TDF members tend to go to theatre together. Theatre lovers, indeed.