Backstage pass

I have always loved theaters–they are sacred spaces no matter how secular we may hold them to be. Most towns have at least one grand old theater, and lucky towns have a great many more. As I live in Seattle I have a number of lovely theaters on hand, and one of the grandest is the Paramount. It shows silent films (complete with the playing of an original theater organ) and stages touring Broadway shows, concerts, and all manner of fun.

Last Saturday I went for a tour of the Paramount. It’s free on the first Saturday of the month (but check their website if you plan to go). The guides were very friendly and pointed out all sorts of things we might not have noticed on theater visits. The best part, though, was touring all the areas the public doesn’t usually get to see. We saw the star dressing rooms and I thought of Ethel Merman singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. They were truly grand. We were able to stand on the stage and look out into the audience of chairs, and we were shown the system they used to make people fly during various productions. Way up in the back of the theater we saw the old projection booth and looked out over the ceiling into the catwalks.

All of this adventure occurred because a friend and I had an offhand question when we went to see the silent movies. I didn’t know they gave free tours. It makes me wonder what other goodies I might be missing around town. It’s often easy to forget to be a tourist in your own town, but there’s always something new to see, somewhere new to explore. I’m going to start looking for more opportunities.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
254. How can you be a tourist in your own town? Take an afternoon or even a whole “staycation” where you live and explore your area as if you were just a visitor. The Chamber of Commerce often has excellent resources for this, and many of them give out coupons to the attractions, too. If you’re in Seattle, consider taking the tour of the Paramount Theater. I am certain you will not be disappointed.

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