Long lines and short timeframes make getting to the ladies' room and back a feat of theater athleticism on par with dancing the opening Tony awards number. While it’s easy to complain about substandard facilities, in this post I'd like to acknowledge some of the better bathrooms on Broadway and beyond, in hopes of inspiring theater managers to consider future improvements.
Herewith, my own personal shout-outs to winning facilities, sorted into my own made-up categories.
Bathrooms with lavish numbers of stalls to accommodate the intermission rush get high marks. The American Airlines Theater, The Public, and Signature are three we love for having lots of loos.
Nothing is better than when a bathroom offers several stall routes to avoid one long snake-like line. Signature Theatre is the icon here, with its left-right configuration to two equal sink/stall sections, and clear sight-lines to easily tell which stalls are available/in-use.
Enter Stage Left/Exit Stage Right
Bravo to the Lyric for designating separate entrance and exit doors to facilitate flow and avoid the awkward squeezes going in and out. The Beacon's upstairs ladies' lounge also does the two-door tango.
At a recent performance of "The Color Purple", mezzanine-seated women making the intermission restroom rush were met by a smiling, take-charge attendant: "All right ladies, we've got 15 minutes and we all know what has to happen. Line up, keep it moving, and LET'S DO THIS!" Her energetic herding and chivvying got everyone in and out with smiles — and a minimum of fuss.
Debuting to Mixed Reviews
The new St. Ann's Warehouse was constructed as a flexible, open performance space, a design choice which carries over to the new bathrooms. Lots of stalls for both ladies and men — bravo! — but the two sections are connected via a common washing-up area that can be confusing on entry — are you in the wrong place, or is HE? Not sure that St. Ann’s boundary-stretching programming needs to extend quite this far — but what do other members think?
- Agree or disagree with my list? Have any bathrooms you'd like to add? Share your thoughts in the comments below!