Weekend with the Phantom

Last weekend was dubbed #phantomweekend by my friend Forsh and I, as I made the trek to St. Louis to see her and she treated me to one of the things I’ve always wanted to do: see Phantom of the Opera on stage. It’s currently touring the US, and I didn’t think I was going to get to see it, but she made it happen.

The weekend started on Friday morning with the drive to St. Louis. It had been a really long time since I’d made a substantial drive by myself, but I didn’t mind it. I had some podcasts downloaded, so I stayed entertained the whole way. FYI, Podcast Addict on Android has become one of my favorite apps.

I rolled in early in the afternoon and chilled for a bit with Forsh and Little Forsh. When Mr. Forsh got home, we went to one of the local restaurants, a pizza place called Deweys. The wait was a bit longish, but we drank beer and luckily I wasn’t having many pain issues, so it was all good. The pizza was great. I kept it simple since I’m picky and had their meatball pizza and a salad that completely rocked my world.

After dinner, we rolled back to their house and Forsh and I commenced watching the Phantom of the Opera movie, the one with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. I did some knitting, though most of that knitting was spent fighting with some cabling, which I’ll talk about more in another blog post.

Saturday morning was another relaxing one while we waited for the babysitter to get there. The site had warned play goers to get there early, so we made sure we had plenty of time to find it, get parking, and find our seats. Things couldn’t have worked out better. The drive wasn’t long, and even though we sat in long lines of traffic downtown, we still found parking and got into the theater with about a half hour until showtime.

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The Fabulous Fox Theatre is huge and gorgeous and the lighting was amazing and the seating was comfortable. We found the bathroom, which was this whole lounge area, then found our seats and settled in. I’ve mentioned my love of theater before, but the anticipation for this one kind of had me emotional, and when the play actually started (with that opening piece of Phantom that always does good things for me) I may have shed a few tears of happiness.

The view when you walk into the Fox theater. So awesome!
The view when you walk into the Fox theater. So awesome!

As expected, the show was wonderful and I enjoyed it thoroughly. At intermission, I went and bought one of their specialty drinks (appropriately named The Phantom), so I even got my drink on. The music was good, the actors were good, and the things they did with set and stage design blew my mind. The only thing I wasn’t expecting was the difference in how the guy playing Phantom sang his parts compared to every other version I’ve seen or heard: less angry, more manic. It was still good, though.

After the show, we had dinner at Sweetie Pie’s. I’m kind of out of the loop on anything having to do with the Food Network or endorsed by celebrities, so I hadn’t actually heard about this gem, but Forsh had and was super excited about trying it out.

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Sweetie Pies is a home cooking, cafeteria style type restaurant with cozy booths and friendly staff. I was feeling a little adventurous, so I tried the ribs. They were so good! The corn was also fantastic. Pretty much everything was delicious and the portions were huge, so much so that in not planning to take any with me, I ate too much and then was in a great deal of discomfort at our next stop, which was Trader Joe’s. Still worth it.

We finished the evening with Tangled and knitting and then I decided to start my second reading of Unmasqued since I was already in the Phantom zone. After a quick smoothie breakfast with Forsh the next morning, I headed home, finishing off some podcasts and feeling very happy, if not a little sad that the weekend had to end.

The weekend was awesome and I owe Forsh big time for helping me check something off my bucket list.


The Hills Are Alive…

Back in March (yes, I’m that behind on blogging), I took the opportunity to attend a play at The Columbian Theater in Wamego. I always liked The Sound of Music as a movie (most of it anyway), and I was interested to see how well it would translate to the stage. Plus, a co-worker’s daughter was playing one of the Von Trapp children, so it gave me a good excuse to show some support.
I didn’t take any pictures because I wasn’t entirely sure of the picture policy, so all I have for this outing is narration.
I arrived early to scope out the seats and get comfortable, a plan that altered due to sound check. Even though I arrived early, I still couldn’t go right in, so I waited in the lobby where I talked to a woman who was attending her first play ever to see her daughter act in this production.
Once inside the theater, the woman who sat next to me visited with me about the Columbian and mentioned some other theaters in the area that I might like to look into. She also showed me the trick of unhooking the seats to make things more comfortable so we weren’t all huddled together. I was pretty stoked at having scored a front row seat. J didn’t want to join me (he’s not a SoM fan), so I think I got bumped into one of those single chairs that are sometimes hard for theaters to fill. I will say the chairs with arms are a bit narrow for bigger butts like mine, but they do alternate with ones that have no arms. Next time I go, I’m going to look into getting mine changed for a roomier sitting space.
I’m not sure if this is a “me” thing or if other people experience it, but good live productions make me tear up. I attribute this to the ambience of the play: the anticipation of the crowd, the voices of the singers, and the atmosphere of live theater. The general vibe elicits emotion in me.
I really enjoyed this production. The cast was good and the singing was great. The woman playing Mother Superior had one of those emotion-inducing voices, and during intermission, I spoke with two women in the elevator about it. They, like me, welled up during “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” I never even did that during the movie.
Most of the love story was removed from the play, something I believe was done to save time.  It felt like there was a bigger focus on the children, which was good.  However,  I believe anyone who hasn’t seen the movie would be a little confused at what there was of the romantic storyline. The cast for the Von Trapp children was spot on, even to the point where some of the actors resembled the children from the movie. I love watching talented actors on stage, and it’s so cool to see young ones with that level of talent.
It was a fun first trip to the Columbian. There’s definitely a good chance I’ll go see another show there, and who knows? Maybe I can even drag J along with me to see the next one.