No one booed Rudy Giuliani when he appeared at Shakespeare Theatre Friday evening, but his trip to see Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical Camelot was not without some unchivalrous behavior.
The Presidential surrogate and former New York mayor saw the musical with Louisiana Republican strategist Jennifer LeBlanc, his son Andrew, and Andrew’s wife, Lithuanian real estate executive Zivile Rezgyte.
The quartet apparently showed up at the Harman Center for the Arts just moments before the musical was scheduled to begin. The theater’s house manager radioed backstage to hold the show, and apologetically told four patrons sitting in Row G that they were going to be reseated while the curtain was delayed, and they would receive free drinks at intermission..
And then, the Giuliani family took those seats, with a reporter right behind them in Row H.
It must have been a tiring Friday in the West Wing, because while the “Camelot” cast was celebrating the “Lusty Month of May,” the attorney repeatedly mopped his sweaty brow with a pocket square and squirmed in his seat, occasionally receiving a sympathetic shoulder rub from LeBlanc.
Reached by phone Monday morning, LeBlanc described herself as “a guest who was just in town for two days. I have no idea how the tickets were arranged.”
Via email, a Shakespeare Theatre spokesperson described the situation as a “double seating issue,” and said the patrons originally sitting in Row G had received comp tickets. The Giuliani party’s seats were paid for, she said, adding that unless a security detail is coming to the theater, no advance notice is necessary for VIP patrons.
It was obvious from Row H that this musical about a beautiful queen sentenced to burn at the stake for sleeping around aroused both Giuliani men. The Shakespeare Theatre production has received mixed reviews, but Camelot does star Broadway veteran Alexandra Silber, whose honey-mead sweet soprano is the best reason to see it. All four members of the Giuliani party applauded her liberally. After King Arthur pulled out Excalibur to tap Sir Lancelot’s shoulders just before intermission, Andrew leaned over LeBlanc to excitedly ask, “Hey Dad, is that what it’s really like to get knighted?”
(Queen Elizabeth II named Giuliani an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in October 2001. As a non-citizen of Great Britain, he was ineligible for a tap with a sword or use of the honorific “Sir Rudy.” The former mayor recently bragged to Politico that this honor is one of many reasons why he is superior to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.)
The Giuliani men lounged in a secluded lobby during intermission, then returned to Row G with their dates; LeBlanc scrolled through Facebook, and Giuliani read emails—a bold move given a certain investigation and the proximity of a reporter.
Andrew Giuliani, meanwhile, proved he’s still very into his wife of 10 months. The younger pair kissed like they were going at it in the darkened corner of some Clarendon bar. Although Queen Guinevere and King Arthur are pretty much on the outs by the time they sing their Act 2 duet “What Do the Simple Folk Do?” the younger Giuliani and Rezgyte spent the entire song making out.
“Hey,” Giuliani said, reaching over LeBlanc to wave at his son. “I don’t think they’re supposed to be doing that.”
Trump White House staffers have made few public appearances at area theaters; notably, the president and First Lady Melania Trump skipped out on presiding over the Kennedy Center Honors.
VIP theatergoing is generally handled unobtrusively in Washington, both by appointed officials and previous presidential administrations. US Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer attended Camelot‘s opening night with little fanfare. IMF manager Christine Lagarde and justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are among other high-profile politicos who’ve slipped in quietly to see theater and dance performances.
Although the Obamas were criticized for flying to Broadway rather than driving down Pennsylvania Avenue to see plays, Michelle Obama did pay a belated visit to Woolly Mammoth in February to see Danai Gurira’s drama Familiar and posed for photos with cast members backstage.
A spokesperson for Woolly said Obama’s staff contacted the theater’s development office four weeks in advance to purchase tickets.
The theater has no formal policies for seating VIPs like the Giulianis.
“We try to make everyone feel taken care of and make sure everyone’s seating needs are met, independent of their celebrity status,” marketing director Gwydion Suilebhan said.