Volunteer ushers watch shows for free

(Saving with 6abc - Amy Buckman)

January 13, 2010 5:32:41 AM PST
Tickets to a musical production like "Oliver," which recently played at the Walnut Street Theatre, cost $70. But there is a way you can see all sorts of shows and musicals for free.

Volunteer ushers at the Walnut Street, the Arden, the Wilma and other local theaters, enjoy a great finge benefit of getting to watch shows for free.

Toby Blender is one of them.

"I started ushering while I was working full-time," Blender explains. "And three years ago, when I retired, I figured, this is a great thing. So, I'm now ushering for 12 different theaters."

That's right, 12 different theaters.

Jo Callison and Ann Murphy, of Wilmington, Delaware, volunteer at three different theaters and figure they've seen about 100 free shows over the past five years.

"It's fun to meet the people," Callison says. "And to see the play of course, that's our payment, the plays. And we do not very much work for a wonderful, entertaining afternoon or evening. "

Murphy adds, "Meeting the people is great. Seeing the shows is fantastic. It's a lot of fun. I''m retired, it gives you something to do."

With up to twenty different ushers needed for every performance, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities.

Marta Rodriguez just moved to Center City. When she heard about volunteer ushering, she called The Arden and then The Walnut Street and found plenty of opportunities.

"They are so wonderful," Rodriguez says. They're very welcoming, come right in. They try to find you a spot, times that work for you, either during the day or in the evening."

If you're interested in volunteering as an usher, and getting to see shows for free, here are some links you can try:
The Walnut Street Theatre
The Arden Theater
People's Light and Theatre Company
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Delaware Theatre Company
InterAct Theatre Company
Dance USA Philadelphia