31 May 2007

19 Feet..

I'm becoming a theater freak. I admit to it.. Even as I sit here, I'm wearing my 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee shirt. Next to me is my Wicked mug filled with pens, my season ticket book for next season, a pin from Cats, and my poster from Light in the Piazza (signed by the touring cast). And in the corner of the computer screen a bootleg copy of Wicked plays in halfway watchable form.. {Side note:: Yes, you can watch the entire show on the web, sad as that is, but since I've seen it and bought the merchandise, I figure I can watch it without feeling guilty.. And besides, I really wish I'd been able to see it with the original cast.. Honestly, I can't imagine the theater gets any better than Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. (That's not a link to the bootleg version, but a video of them performing the song Defying Gravity.. Also, there's a second bootleg version with Shoshana Bean as Elphaba, which is who we saw in Portland, and it's a slightly better quality video, though it still does no justice to seeing it in person.)}

Going to see Wicked with LVH and G'ma was amazing,!. Taking my friend's foster kid to see Annie was very special. I've been fortunate to have seen so many shows (Rent, Urinetown, Sweet Charity, Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Light in the Piazza), and in the next 15 months I will see many more (Mamma Mia, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Avenue Q, Spamalot, Camelot, 12 Angry Men, Sweeny Todd, and I have a special "date" going with me to see Phantom of the Opera). Seeing a show that is out on tour is wonderful, and they do cast very talented people, but it's long been a dream of mine to see a Broadway show with the original cast, seeing the actors who have brought the characters to life (and sing on the soundtracks) being directed by the person who made the show into what it is.. However, I can't exactly drive over to New York, and even if I could get tickets to a big musical that still had the original cast, with tickets there being in such high demand, it would be months into it's run and I'd surely have a seat up on the side of a second balcony or something... Yeah, it was one of those "someday I'll" things...

The other day I received a notice in the mail saying that I, as a season ticket holder, could buy tickets to see some new musical that is premiering in Seattle in August. (I guess this is common practice. Big shows run for a few weeks somewhere outside NYC to iron out all the kinks and get things perfected. Kind of like a long dress rehearsal.) I was familiar with the show's writer and knew how huge his last show was (getting a ticket to see his last show with the original cast was down right impossible and it still holds ticket sales records). However, due to all the shows I already have tickets to, I set it aside and didn't think much of it.. Later, it nagged at me that I should pick it back up and give it a second thought.. Curiosity made me do a little research, something that wasn't easy because the show is too new to have a website.. I could have looked up the names of the actors rumored to be starring, but they didn't jump out as people I recognized.. Still, I thought, "what the heck, I'll just see what kind of seats I could get." Trying to make it hard for me to justify the expense of seeing yet another show, I looked at the tickets available for the Friday performance (the show starts on Saturday and so the Friday show is only the 5th performance), not opening night but still opening week.. When I saw what seats it said I could have, I ran to get my wallet before I lost my "place in line".

It was only later that night that I realized exactly what I had. Before the tickets go on sale to the general public, before this opens on Broadway in the fall and becomes THE show that you can't get tickets to, before millions of people know the songs by heart, and before it wins any Tonys (the writer's last show won 12, the most of any show ever) I'll be there and not in a seat far back or in the side of the balcony, but on the 4th row just left of center, 19 feet from the center front of the stage! Oh, you want to know what the show is? Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.

Upon further research, I was impressed at the talent associated with this production. Besides Mel Brooks' many awards for stage and screen, the person directing/choreographing it has already won 3 Tonys and I could only find one cast member who hadn't won or been nominated for one.. And, I found that I do know many of the cast. You may know Roger Bart from his roll on Desperate Housewives or, as I do, from his roll in The Stepford Wives. And the female lead, Megan Mullally, is best known for playing Karen, the obnoxious assistant to Grace in Will and Grace.. Also starring is Andrea Martin who you probably know from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

This is going to be BIG!! Almost big enough to make me wish I could get more tickets and see it more than once. I would and could, and every time I leave a show I wish I could go right back in and see it again, but there's the "can I really afford to do this?" not to mention the "who to take with me?" factor.. (Why must everyone live so dang far away??)
***Added pictures.. Top one is the inside of the Paramount Theater in Seattle. The bottom one is the sample view from the 4th row..***