Your curtain speech at “Avenue Q” delivered by Jac Alder … but which one?

When Avenue Q opens tonight following its weekend of previews, there will, as ever, be a curtain speech delivered by Theatre 3’s long-standing co-founder and executive producer, Jac Alder.

The question is, which one?

As I reported in this week’s edition, Michael Robinson and his team built a monstrous 36 puppets for the show … and one of them is of Alder himself.

So who will deliver the speech? Apparently, both: Alder will voice the reminder to silence your cell phones and drunk plus-ones, but someone else will be pulling the strings … or manipulating the hand.

This could start a trend. I’m sick of seeing the same folks trot up every show telling me how to behave — I already know, but increasingly, the folks sitting next to be don’t seem to. Maybe if they heard the same from a foam head, they’d actually pay attention.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Film critic’s notebook: A cautionary tale

My review of The Adjustment Bureau will be in Friday’s edition of the paper, so I won’t preview it here, but I wanted to share a story that happened while I was watching the movie at a preview screening.

Now, I’ve been reviewing film in town for almost 17 years (geez). This is a job to me — fun, yes, but still a job. I bring a notepad and pen; I go to my seat and hunker down. I like to enjoy it and the people I share the experience with (many of the critics know each other pretty well). But that’s not always the case.

If you’ve ever attended a preview screening, you know they rope off a few rows for critics, studio reps, media professionals, etc. Sometimes they put our names on individual seats, but last night they did not. I found a seat that was unoccupied and started to sit.

“I’m sorry,” said a man I’d never met before. “Those seats are taken by folks from Gordon and the Whale.” Those people were giving the curtain speech, so it was cool with me. But I still needed a seat.

“Is the one on your right free?” I asked the gentleman. “Yes,” he said. He turned to the woman sitting two seats away from him. “This seat isn’t occupied, is it?” he asked.

“No,” she said. “But I’d like to keep it free. I don’t like anyone sitting next to me.” The seat on her other side was empty, too.

“Well,” I said, “not wanting a neighbor isn’t a good reason. Move your bag — I’m taking it.” “What did you say?” she said, insulted. “I said, you don’t get to claim three seats in the middle of a row simply because you don’t want to sit next to somebody.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones