Ladies, Rejoice: The End of the Blumenthal Intermission Dash

The intermission dash. Women who attend shows at Blumenthal’s Belk Theater in Charlotte know it all too well.

Blumenthal Bathroom

The upgraded, roomier ladies’ restroom at Blumenthal’s Belk Theater in Charlotte

It’s a sight to behold. Rarely does one see a line form as quickly as the one at the orchestra-level ladies’ room at intermission. This line is both the cause and the effect of the intermission dash: women sprint from the theatre as quickly as high heels will carry them and propriety will allow. The dashers are the regulars who know the drill: If we’d like to make a stop at the ladies’ room and have time for conversation and concessions before the lights dim, we need the speed of Road Runner and the strategy of MacGyver to get ahead of that line.

Ladies, rejoice: the intermission dash is no more.


Photos courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts

This past year, the Blumenthal began renovating the ladies’ restroom, and the upgrade is now complete. They’ve doubled the size of the restroom on the orchestra level — last year, it had 24 stalls; this year, it has 48. In addition to increasing the size of the restroom, they’ve installed new fixtures that meet ADA standards as well. And although it may sound silly to say this about a bathroom, I have to admit: it’s quite pretty, too.

“This particular restroom was inadequate for the size of our audiences, and the line was the top complaint in our customer surveys,” said Elise Esasky, the Communications Manager for the Blumenthal Performing Arts. “People love the Belk Theater, but many women were spending the entire intermission standing in line to use the restroom.”

Linda Franzese, a season subscriber since the Blumenthal’s first season in 1992, agreed: “Although the old space was quite large, it just didn’t accommodate the number of women who needed to use the facilities during a 15-minute intermission. Now that the area has been expanded and renovated, we can enjoy not only an aesthetically beautiful stop, but a very efficient one.”

Fellas, take heart. The theater upgrades aren’t just for the women. All patrons will enjoy other upgrades, including a facelift to the lobby and new theater seats.

So ladies, if you’ll be at the symphony this weekend, I’ll see you there. But instead of bonding in line while we wait to powder our noses, let’s propose a better idea for intermission: wine and conversation, no dashing necessary.