By Steve Cisneros, Pantages House Manager
I love people.
I love theatre.
I love the people that go to theatre.
I have the perfect job.
Every night, at every performance, I get to speak to our patrons. Some of you are visiting us for the 50th time, some for the first time, and most somewhere in between. One guest, now entering her seventies, shared memories about her childhood, dressing up in the fanciest of gowns, pretending she was Ginger Rogers as she came down one of the grand staircases in the opulent Pantages lobby. Some can list every movie they ever saw here, back when movie theatres were big places and not cubicles. As I am often told, theatre was an Event, capital E, back in “the good old days.”
For me, it still is. Eight times a week.
As I stand at the front doors, I enjoy greeting our patrons. I smile at the couple who walks in, dashing in tuxedo and formal gown, dressed to the nines. I smile at those who arrive wearing suits and dresses. And I smile at those who wear t-shirts, baseball caps, and flip-flops.
Sometimes I scan the thousands of patrons enjoying their special time on the town. They appear to come from all walks of life. Some planned their night with us months in advance; others bought their tickets just 20 minutes before the show, their original intent simply being to buy a bacon-wrapped hot dog from a nearby street vendor. One man recently saw Legally Blonde The Musical while on a layover from a cancelled flight back to his home state of Colorado.
Every so often, I speak with patrons who wonder why we don’t enforce a dress code. Some might prefer that everyone be in formalwear, like “the good old days.” I can imagine how impressive the lobby might look in a sea of penguin suits. (I saw that scene in The Aviator, which was filmed right here.)
However, after much thought, I’ve decided that I wouldn’t want to change the attire of a single patron. You see, it’s our special combination of people, in all manner of attire, that ultimately creates the special brand of excitement at the Pantages Theatre – the standing ovations, the autograph lines, the laughter, the tears, and everything else that makes live theatre like no other experience on earth.
So the next time I get one of those calls (and there are many) asking what the “dress code” is for the Pantages Theatre (as if staff will be at the front doors with a measuring tape checking for gown length!), I’ll carry an extra smile in my heart as I say, “We have no dress code at the Pantages – You’ll find folks in everything from tuxedos to flip-flops. While we encourage our guests to dress up to make the occasion more special, please wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.” Because in my mind, I don’t want to see anything get in their way of taking that first step – walking through our doors because they’re interested in seeing what everyone’s talking about!
That alone, is enough to get my aforementioned smiles of approval as I stand at the front doors, show after show, knowing every day at the Pantages is one of the “good old days.”