TAMPA — Some came with lawn chairs, others in their most-comfortable shoes expecting a queue stretching endlessly like a rumba line at Mardi Gras.
A line did form Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for ticket sales of the highly anticipated The Book of Mormon, which opens for 16 shows Nov. 12 through 24.
But it was nothing like earlier years, Straz spokesman Paul Bilyeu said, when a popular show brought ticket lines that could stretch around the block.
You see, there is this thing called the Internet.
Steve and Maria Armstrong of Temple Terrace laughed when, standing in a line of about 75 people, they suddenly remembered the "ticket window in a pocket" also known as a smartphone. A few taps later, the couple had their tickets.
The guy standing in front of them was impressed. He took out his own smartphone and bought his tickets in a few minutes.
News of this spread like a computer virus.
"I guess I came down to experience the ambiance," Steve Armstrong joked.
A few folks came an hour early for ticket sales opening at 10 a.m. and endured a 90-minute wait. At 10:15 a.m., about 80 people stood in line. With 40,000 tickets on sale, all were guaranteed a seat.
That included Peter Leonard, 61, of Clearwater who waited in line without a smartphone, cellphone or any electronic device whose name is preceded with the letter "i."
He said he left the technology behind when he retired four years ago from an airline company.
"I was connected for 32 years," Leonard said. He said he was overjoyed to cut that electronic umbilical cord the day his retirement began.
The Book of Mormon is an award-winning musical satire from South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker that opened on Broadway in 2011.
For more information on the show, including ticket information, visit strazcenter.org. The center's website cautions that the ticket sales are causing heavy traffic to the site and could lead to delays.
William R. Levesque can be reached at [email protected]