With Meryl Streep's huge success in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada," crowds began lining up in Central Park before dawn Tuesday to nab free tickets to see Streep and Kevin Kline in the play "Mother Courage and Her Children."
Just after 1 p.m., when the box office first started distributing tickets, nearly 2,000 were gone. The last ticket went to a fan who got in line at 9:15 a.m. — for an 8 p.m. curtain at the park's Delacorte Theater.
Hundreds of people walked away empty-handed into the Manhattan sun. Fifty others left with vouchers for a possible pair of tickets each in place of last-minute no-shows.
But the die-hards stayed on — a waiting line for a waiting list to see the two Academy Award-winning actors in Tony Kushner's adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht anti-war drama.
"It's like a cluster of shooting stars," said Alison Wonderland, a young actor who sat on a blanket opposite the box office, busy scribbling a love song for a cabaret show.
She shared the designated waiting space with several dozen others — from New York, Florida, Oregon, even Israel.
At 6:30 p.m., the first standby tickets were doled out to those with the vouchers.
Varin Ayala, a 20-something Puerto Rican-born New York actor, sat in Central Park for more than eight hours straight for a chance to see the three hours-plus play.
"This is like a comet in the sky — everyone stays to watch. It's an event," Ayala said.
There was plenty of entertainment before the show, from card tricks performed on a Frisbee to yoga on the grass.