Picture this: You are at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, having a great time and dancing around, when you see an usher doing the same exact thing. Then you look a little further down the aisle and you see even more ushers all enjoying themselves almost as much as you are. Because haven’t you wondered what it’s really like to work as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl?
This past summer, and now on weekends during the school year, I’ve been working as an usher at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s been such a privilege to work such a variety of shows, including Kings of Leon, Rent and Reggae Night. You’re getting paid to listen to concerts and meet people, so it’s the best job in the world. But there is more to being an usher than just standing and looking good in your clip-on tie and your white button-down, tucked-in shirt.
The first thing you have to know is the seating for the entire theatre. Although it seems impossible, and I admit I was terrified my first night, you easily pick up the seat patterns and learn how to guide anyone to a box, bench or super seat in your sleep. For example, if you’re in box 563, you are five rows up from the stage, in the sixth aisle and three boxes in. The benches are pretty straightforward, so you would go to your section, up however many rows you are, and in to your seat. I’ve worked in different spots and learned there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Once you’ve worked many sold out shows in a theater that holds around 18,000, you realize that 4,000 people on a Tuesday or Thursday classical series night is as much of a relief as your AP Euro test being cancelled. Because they are easy shows to work, we usually finish up earlier, so most of the supervisors get physical after we’re done for the evening. They do a one-mile run through and around the Bowl, followed by various drills, such as crunches and sit-ups. After one of the last classical shows, I joined the supervisors in the run, and let me tell you that the Bowl is a steep place.
There’s even more to being an usher at the Bowl, but some secrets are to be kept among those with the ID badges.