Monday, October 27, 2014

A night out at the theater

I just love these types of stories of fans talking to John Lennon unexpectedly.  What a memory to have!    The play with the amazingly long title of "For Colored Girls who Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf" opened on Broadway at the  Booth Theater on September 15, 1976.   It played until July of that year.    We know that John was in Boston on September 17, 1976  and the person writing the story did not say that they went on opening night.   So I would assume that John and Yoko were there sometimes during the last week of September 1976 (although it is feasible that they went on the 15th or 16th).  

They play they saw was written by Ntozake Shange and was nominated for a Tony award for best play.   It isn't a traditional play in that it is actually 20 poems that include dancing that have topics that relate to women's issues and race.   I had to read it as part of my theater minor  requirements in college and I liked some of it, but found part of it to be a bit "out there."    Although I have to say that  read the play and I have never seen it performed live with the dance, which might have made more sense.  In all actuality, this seems very much like a play that Yoko would enjoy.

Please note that the photos of John and Yoko were from when they went to the Coppa Cabana in October 1976 and not from this exactly date.    Edit:  Further reading of the same issue of The Write Thing (in the news section) says that the pair saw this play and went to the Coppa Cabana room afterwards.   So the photos I posted ARE from the exact date, which is still unknown.

Story by Nancy Englehardt
The Write Thing
October 1976

Let me begin by saying that I am a Beatle fan who has, up until now, been content to worship my heroes from afar.  I’ve always admired people who have had the courage to just ring doorbells, do a bit of idle chattering and whip out their Brownie Instamatics for a few pictures.  But for numerous reasons I have shied away from that sort of thing.  Primarily because I also have a deep respect for their privacy.  Sure at times they’re hams who would love nothing more than to see a crowd waiting just for them but there must also be times when they would just love to shove your autograph book down your throat and I for one wouldn’t want to be there.  But ultimately it has to do with the fact that I’ve always wanted to keep them on their respective pedestals, afraid of meeting them as mere mortals.  I thought that if I met one of them that somehow he wouldn’t seem so important anymore.  Luckily that hasn’t happened.   For I had an actual face to face encounter with none other than J.L. himself.   So with no further ado, here’s what took place on that day that I’ll have a hard time forgetting. 

My husband and I went to see a play, “For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the rainbow is Enuf.”  We had particularly lousy seats, all the way in the back which made me extremely angry since they were the most expensive seats in the house.  Well, my anger soon subsided when the lights dimmed and who else but John and Yoko Lennon sat themselves down right next to us.  Actually two seats did separate us but that’s close enough.  Needless to say (but I will anyway) all of my time was spent trying to look at John without him seeing me do so.  He has such a marvelous profile.  You know, one of the great, long, arrogant noses and he looked particularly sweet this day.
The entire time was also spent deciding whether to speak to him after the play.  I was whispering to my husband who suggested that I go into the lobby before the show ended and wait there.  Good idea!  You see, since they came in late to avoid a scene, he figured they would leave early for the same reason.  I pretended to be using the phone so if they did happen to come out, it wouldn’t look as if I was ready and waiting to descend upon them even though those exactly were my intentions.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  They did come out early.  I started to rap up my imaginary phone call and hung up.  I was walking towards them, both smiling at me.  Was I going to blow probably my last chance to talk to one of them?  Io, I actually spoke.  Something coherent nonetheless.  “Were you two in the audience?”  I asked with a note of surprise in my voice.   Why I couldn’t admit to seeing him I’ll never know.  “I think we were sitting in the same row,” said John.  “You’re kidding,” said I (don’t I ever give up?)   Yoko remained silent but kept smiling while John asked, “So what’d ya think of the play?”  with the most adorable grin on his face.  What could I say?  You were distracting me and I wasn’t paying attention.  “Well, I’m not Clive Barnes (N.Y. Times Theatre critic) but I liked it.”  If I only could have known in advance that I was going to get John Lennon a theatre review I could have come up wit something better than that.  But I’m lucky that even came out straight.  John, said, “Well, we all can’t be Clive Barnes, now can we?”  I gave him a confused look since I was confused.  Yoko laughed and then he said, “Well, we gotta go now. “  “Nice meeting you” popped out (understatement of the year).  I was feeling so up that I had to go into the ladies room to let go with a yell.  Unfortunately someone was in there and thought I was an escaped loony.  But as long as John Lennon didn’t think so, I didn’t care.


  1. Wow. Can you imagine going to a play, or just going out.....and there's John Lennon???

    My buddy was once in a very tiny restaurant, with his back to the door. As he's talking to his friend, he notices his friend's eyes get he turns around, and standing right behind him is Mick Jagger. My friend was so freaked out, he wiped his mouth, stood up and immediately left the restaurant! He couldn't even deal!

    So imagine if it was a Beatle! I'd be just like my friend, I wouldn't be able to deal. That would be MY "Meet The Beatles For Real" story! Thankfully, there have been other fan accounts where they freeze and get tongue-tied, so I don't feel so bad!

    They were sitting RIGHT NEXT to them!!!! I would NOT be able to focus on the show, no way.

    So funny, she tried to play it off like " were in the audience" and J&Y obviously knew she was fibbing!! (at least that's my interpretation!).

    Thanks Sara for this ole nugget from "The Write Thing" (and thanky Barb, wherever you are, for "The Write Thing" in the first place!)

  2. What a great story, I love it! I can totally relate to being in the same place with J & Y and pretending I wasn't seeing them... It happened to me at Gregg's macrobiotic restaurant in London.