Musical Chairs: The Opera, Disability, and the Greying of America

Like Dave and Joe, my husband and I go to the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts at our local movie theater. It’s a nice theater, stadium seating, with about 10 seats in the middle that can be reached without steps. Unfortunately, given the demographic of the opera-going audience, there are way more than 10 people who want those seats.

The opera starts at 11:00. The movie theater opens at 10:00. If we’re not there by 9:30 at the latest, I don’t get a seat. What’s wrong with this picture? I don’t like to compete with little old walker-using ladies and elderly men in wheelchairs being pushed by their frail wives for a place to sit.

Theaters are going to have to change. There’s going to need to be some changes in some folks’ sense of disability entitlement, too – today when the theater opened, numerous people using wheelchairs, walkers and canes had been waiting in a line three deep for an hour. As I got to the ticket taker, a couple comes in the door (he in a wheelchair, she pushing him), bypasses the entire line, and she insists that their tickets be taken NOW. I’m sure he’s unique in his disability in most of the situations they encounter, but not this one.


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