Beyond The Chair with First-Year Subscriber: Jennifer Voce

December 19, 2022

Beyond The Chair with First-Year Subscriber: Jennifer Voce


It started with a performance around the sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; four men on Broadway, snapping their fingers and delivering notes that would make them legendary. But for Jennifer Voce, seeing The Jersey Boys on Broadway was less about their story and more about her own.

Growing up in a single-parent family, Voce and her brother didn’t have extra opportunities, like Broadway or the arts, at their doorstep. Although Voce was too busy playing in the neighborhood and interacting with her friends and peers to notice that she was missing anything, as she grew older and learned about the world’s possibilities, she became eager to explore them. “My mother provided for my brother and me on her income, so opportunities like theater were out of reach. To be honest, I never gave any of these things a second thought or felt like I went without until I went to see The Jersey Boys on Broadway. I sat there as an adult; mesmerized by everything the show offered. The music, the lights on the stage, and the interaction captivated me. I’ve seen The Jersy Boys nine times since that night, simply for the experience alone.” Voce’s love of Broadway continued as she expanded her palate and spent weekends in New York City to take in additional shows, like Wicked, which only heightened her enthusiasm.

“There’s something about Broadway and live theater that transports you. Wicked was one of those shows that took my breath away.  I sat in my seat, watching monkeys fly over the audience, and realized how much the directors put into these shows so that they’re unforgettable. I came to Broadway because I was curious about a story, but I left with an entirely new appreciation. For me, that’s what makes Broadway come alive.” In Utica, Voce began dabbling in Broadway shows that toured the area. “I was taken aback by all the different shows Broadway Utica brought to The Stanley Theatre. It’s so unique how they compile a list of shows since they all seem to represent several different perspectives on Broadway. It’s a great way to appeal to people’s interests and bring them to theater, even if it’s with one show.” Drawn in by several of Broadway Utica’s shows, including  An Officer and a Gentleman, Waitress, Hairspray, and, of course, The Jersey Boys, Voce and her partner Aaron Mahoney decided to become Broadway Utica subscribers before the 2022 season ended.

“We enjoyed everything about those nights and came to realize how much they brought us together. When life gets in the way, it’s easy to cut back on time with your partner. When you set aside one evening per month to do something different, you create another bond that lasts into the next day and weeks.” Both fans of the arts and the theatre, Voce and Mahoney set up their 2022-2023 season with bated breath.

The Book of Mormon was awesome. I was completely taken aback by the show – in a good way. It was cool to see how the show presented humor and broke down issues of worldwide events. The Book of Mormon felt so electric that I remember looking around to see if any seats remained open as I couldn’t imagine a show like this not selling out.” The unexpected humor and diversity of The Book of Mormon reflected exactly what Voce and Mahoney enjoyed about the 2022-2023 line-up. Voce found herself dancing in her seat for Chicago, feeling nostalgic in Tootsie, and partaking in an old tradition as she brought her grown daughter to see Elf and her grandson, Caleb, to see A Charlie Brown Christmas before the holidays. However, one of the most unexpected additions to the shows and evenings out just might be the chatter.

“Aaron did a great job picking out our seats. Most of the people around us are also season subscribers so we’ve had a chance to talk to other couples and learn about their favorite plays and experiences with Broadway Utica. It’s funny how strangers suddenly become people you look forward to seeing and chatting with before a show. We’re all here for the same reason: to be entertained, so we’re excited to share our takeaways.”

Traveling from Rome to see shows has also brought a new appreciation for Voce. “It’s a half-hour drive, but it’s worth it. Utica is home for me. It’s where I spend my days teaching. When I return for events, such as this, I feel as if I enjoy the area even more. I pay attention to small things like the food and atmosphere and welcome the fact that I get to partake in it all on a different level.” As a subscriber, Voce and Mahoney have access to eight nights that are spent enjoying a meal, seeing a show, and discussing the performance as they drive back home. That conversation often delves deeper into their relationship, both with each other and with the arts community.

“Life is so hectic and unpredictable. This is a time that allows us to immerse ourselves in the arts and let everything fall to the side. The hour or two becomes an outlet, like working out or reading, that allows us to put housework and schoolwork aside for a night. It’s exciting that Utica has this wonderful venue that allows us to see these incredible shows, without driving to Syracuse, Albany, or NYC. I’m thankful to the Broadway Theatre League for placing Broadway on our doorstep.” 

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