Tag Archives: Pantages Theater

An Epic End To The Pantages Season (or We Aren’t Going To Throw Away Our Shot)

This past Sunday was the final show for my group in our current season at the Pantages. While we are a bit sad our season is over, we already have bought our season tickets for next season and we are really excited for that. But what was even more exciting was that the final show for the season was Hamilton! Getting to see Hamilton was the reason many people got season tickets this season. But I think all of us in my group were just excited to see all of the shows. Hamilton was just going to be a super amazing addition to the season!

And as we have done with the past few shows, we went to dinner at Wood & Vine before the show. And Wood & Vine just introduced a new menu with their new chef so we were ready to try some amazing new food and to have some of our favorites! Everything on the menu looked incredible, but we had to try to limit ourselves to make sure we didn’t feel overstuffed while at the show.

We ordered some veggies because they sounded delicious and they were a lighter option. The squash had an amazing butter sauce with some cheese and they were perfectly cooked so they still had a bit of crunch to them. And the carrots reminded us all of eating Honey Nut Cheerios! It was so crazy how sweet they were without having the sweetness overpowering the flavor of the carrots.

And while we knew we’d be ordering the bone marrow again, everything else that we got was something that was new to the menu. We were also able to have the tuna tartare, pork belly tacos, and the branzino filet.

And as we expected, everything was just incredible. I only had a taste of the tuna as it had a chili sauce on it and I’m really sensitive to spicy food. But it was really good and everyone else loved it. The pork belly tacos were so tender and the sauce on it was really refreshing. And the branzino was flaky and so flavorful! And of course, the bone marrow was out of this world! We had 2 orders of it and between the 4 of us the bones looked like this within minutes of the plate being brought to us.

When the bones were empty, Dani and Michelle decided to order some shots to have with the bones. They were actually talking about doing this the night before at my party so it was pretty funny that they were getting to do this. Doing a bone luge is a thing, I just hadn’t heard of it before they were talking about it at my party. If I knew I could handle a drink, I think I would have joined in with them. But it was cool getting to watch them and they seemed to really like it (even if it was a bit messy).

We also got to try some of the new desserts! They have a buttermilk panna cotta now which had berries on top. But what was our favorite was the new Nutella bombshell (and yes, I loved that it had bombshell in the name)! It had chocolate cake that was light and fluffy topped with Nutella mousse that reminded us of the texture of ice cream but was room temperature. It was so good that I can’t even think of better ways to describe it! And we also were given the butterscotch that we’ve had in the past but now it comes with maple ice cream which was loved by all of us.

Then the chef, Jennifer O’Neill came out to the table. It was wonderful to meet her and we were so excited to tell her how much we loved the food! And we got to learn about some things that might be coming up at Wood & Vine that we can’t wait for. I can’t share that stuff yet, but trust me I will as soon as I can!

After dinner we headed across the street for the show. We couldn’t believe it was finally time to see Hamilton! We ordered our season tickets about a year and a half ago and it seemed like we would never get to this date. And we were all remembering how we realized at my birthday party last year that it marked one year until the show. And it was finally here!

The energy in the theater was electric. I think everyone was just so excited to see the show (it only opened 2 days before so it was still very new to LA). The 4 of us kept saying how we couldn’t wait for the show to start. Michelle and I both have listen to the music from the show (many, many times) and have seen videos as well. But Dani and Elisa both tried to avoid seeing stuff about the show ahead of time since that’s how they like to see shows. But we were all equally ready for the show to start.

And I’m happy to say that all the hype about the show is true and more! I don’t know how to explain how amazing this show was and how it really is an incredible piece of theater. I wish that more people could see it because it’s that great. I know that ticket prices are high and there aren’t enough seats for everyone to see it now who want to. But hopefully eventually with the tours more people can experience this show.

While it’s a pretty long show (almost 3 hours when you include the intermission), it doesn’t feel like that at all. It goes by so quickly even though it is a very full show. I could see how there could be so much more show that I’d want to see and now I’m even more motivated than ever to finish reading the book that the show is based on (I’m about 1/4 of the way through the book).

I think all of us agree that this was such a highlight of what ended up being a pretty amazing season at the Pantages. We are all hoping that we will win the Ham4Ham lottery so we can go see the show again. It’s in LA for a few months so there’s a chance that at least one of us will win. But no matter what, we are all so grateful that we were able to see it with our season tickets!

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Book Of Mormon and Marrow (or Another Night Out At The Pantages)

This past week was another show for our season at the Pantages. This time, we were seeing “Book of Mormon”!. Usually our shows are on Sundays, but because of some scheduling issues we had to move our show. So we went this past Thursday and it ended up being such an awesome night out!

It was a bit weird having the show on a Thursday because once I was done with work it almost felt like a Sunday to me. I had to keep telling myself that it was Thursday and tried to keep doing my usual Thursday stuff I have to get done. We knew that there would be traffic getting out to Hollywood so we ended up meeting a bit earlier than we probably needed to at my house to carpool out there. But one advantage of Thursday night shows is that we were able to park at a parking meter! We normally can’t because of the timing of Sunday evening shows, but it was nice to only have to spend $4 in parking at a meter instead of $16 to park in a garage.

As always, the 4 of us went to dinner before the show. And because we had such an amazing time at Wood & Vine last time, we knew we’d have to go back there! The last time, it was raining so everyone was seated inside. But this time, it was a really nice evening and we were seated outside on their patio.

Sitting inside was fun, but I think I might have liked the patio a bit more. It’s always nice getting to sit outside and it didn’t feel like we were in the middle of Hollywood. It was quiet and peaceful back there. And we were told that sometimes they screen movies back there! We were all saying that we would have to find out when they do that and go back for sure!

Ever since our first time at Wood & Vine, we have been dreaming about what food we were going to get the next time we were there. We decided to start with some things we’ve had before and some new things so we can see if we have some new favorites.

But of course, what we have been dreaming about the most and what we knew we’d be ordering for sure was the bone marrow!

This time, the bone marrow was served a bit differently but it was still as delicious as we remembered it. We got 2 orders since there were 4 of us (last time 3 of us shared 1 order and it almost wasn’t enough) and it was the perfect thing to share. It was so creamy and flavorful and I’m already craving it again! There’s something so decadent about getting bone marrow and it feels like a real luxury. But it’s actually not that expensive (at least not at Wood & Vine) so it’s nice to have an affordable treat.

After eating all that, we were all pretty full. But then the manager came over and was chatting with us and asked us about what we wanted for dessert. We said how we were debating if we had room for dessert and he said that he had already placed an order for our usual. And to our surprise, they had treated us to all 3 desserts from the menu again!

We were not expecting to be treated to dessert again and we didn’t really plan our dinner to be having dessert. But even though we were all so full, there is always room for delicious desserts! We dug into all 3 of them and agreed that they were all amazing and so worth feeling super full.

This meal was just as good (or maybe even better) than our first time to Wood & Vine and we already know that we will be back before our next show this season. And we are talking about very possibly going there before every show next season as well. I just can’t believe it took us this long to discover this amazing restaurant!

We had taken our time with dinner so we were walking over to the show with only a few minutes before curtain. Fortunately, it only takes a minute or two to cross the street and we were at our seats right before the show started.

Since this wasn’t our normal night for our season tickets, we weren’t in our normal seats. But these seats might have been a bit better. They were similar to our normal seats (2 seats in 2 rows one behind the other) but a bit further back than we were seated for the other shows. But because we were farther back we had less of an obstructed side view. But even with the slightly obstructed view, I was so excited to see the show this time because the last time I saw “Book of Mormon” it was from the very back of a theater. So being up close was a nice change.

When I saw the show in NYC, Ben Platt was in the cast. He’s an incredible actor who is now a Tony winner. I had said to my friends that I felt a bit bad for this cast because Ben Platt is a tough act to follow. But this cast didn’t disappoint at all! They were amazing and they had some really fun and different takes with the characters. It almost didn’t feel like the same show because they had so many unique things that made their characters their own. Also, I felt like the choreography was very different from the Broadway show and that adding to making it feel unique and different.

We were all laughing so hard at the show and it was so much fun seeing it again now that I knew what to expect. It was totally a perfect evening out at the theater. We’ve only got one more show in our season (finally seeing “Hamilton”!) and then we’ve got 5 months after that before our first show in our next season. It’s so crazy to think that this season is almost over. It felt like it wasn’t that long ago that we were thinking that we still had a year before seeing “Hamilton”. Now it’s just over a month away!

The Bodyguard and Bone Marrow (or An Amazing Dinner At Wood & Vine)

This past Sunday was another Pantages night out for me and my season ticket group. Normally I write about the dinner first and show second (as that’s the order that we do things), but I’m changing it up a bit. The show that we went to see was “The Bodyguard” and I’ll be honest that we were a bit unsure how we felt about this show before seeing it.

But this was such a fun show! It was explained to us as almost like a Whitney Houston concert with a bit of plot between the songs. And that’s a great description for the show! Deborah Cox is the lead and she was incredible! The songs were so much fun, the dancing was awesome, and everyone seemed to be dancing in their seats. And if you go to see the show, don’t leave during the curtain call. There is some fun after everyone takes a bow and I’m glad we stayed for it. Even though this was a show we were all unsure of before seeing it, I highly recommend getting tickets for it if you are looking for a fun night out at the theater!

Now, back to our dinner. Our group is always trying to figure out where to get dinner before our shows. We have gone to the same few places multiple times and when I was at the LA Times Festival of Books I went to the Pantages booth and grabbed one of their restaurant guides. I sent a photo of it to the group and we decided to check out Wood & Vine. Wood & Vine is right across from the theater and I have no clue why we hadn’t been there before. But trust me, we will be making many return trips there now!

Only 3 of us from the group could go to dinner, and since it is all shared plates we got a bunch of things for us to all share. We started with some olives which were perfect and then ordered a few things that sounded good to most of us. Michelle and Dani wanted the Brussels sprouts and I figured I’d try it. I hate them but I try to try foods that I think I hate at least twice a year. These were good, but there is still something about Brussels sprouts that I don’t think I will like (sorry Wood & Vine). But I think Michelle and Dani were happy I didn’t like them because they wanted them all to themselves!

Dani and I also split the mac and cheese which was so perfect! It was nice and creamy and the cracker crust on it was a nice crunch. And we also got the scallops and pork belly (scallops were something that I didn’t like until recently and started to like after forcing myself to try them) and I think we were all in heaven eating them.

But for us, even just looking at the menu, we were most looking forward to the bone marrow. My grandpa loved bone marrow and I actually had some at a Tone It Up dinner the night that he died. But I hadn’t really had an opportunity to order it since then. So to get it at Wood & Vine was exactly what I wanted. And when the plate came to our table, we were not disappointed. It looked incredible!

There are no words to describe how delicious this was. It was heaven on a plate and even just writing about it is making me crave it again!

The entire time that we were at Wood & Vine, the staff was just so nice to us. We got to chat a bit with the manager (he was the one who described the show as a Whitney Houston concert to us) and it was just wonderful and friendly there. And while we were eating we were looking so happy and they were telling us to save room for dessert. We figured they were talking about the bone marrow since that was the last thing that was coming to the table. We thought that was the perfect “dessert” for us and when we were done eating our table was full of empty plates where the amazing food had been.

But then, the chocolate pot de creme was brought over to our table. We thought it was a mistake but the staff let us know that they actually ordered dessert for us on the house! We were thanking them and then the other two desserts from the menu, butterscotch with bourbon ice cream and an apple fry pie, appeared on our table too! We couldn’t believe that they got us all 3 desserts from the menu on the house!

We were full, but of course there is a separate part of your stomach for dessert so we all dug in. And the desserts did not disappoint! They were all decadent and delicious and at that time the last member of our group, Elisa, got there and we offered to share the desserts with her too. We were not planning on dessert (we might have ordered a bit less if we knew we were getting it), but it was a fabulous end to an incredible meal. And to have the restaurant give us the desserts on the house to make sure we could try them is above and beyond what I would ever expect from a restaurant!

We’ve already decided as a group that when we go to see “Hamilton” in about 3 months that we will be returning to Wood & Vine. It is really one of the best restaurants that I’ve gone to and there are so many other things on the menu that I want to try now. And of course, we’ve joked that we are going to order at least 2 plates of bone marrow to split between the 4 of us. And I have a feeling that we will be going there for a lot of our pre-show dinners for our shows next season as well.

Usually my nights out at the Pantages are more about the show than our pre-show dinner. But because of how amazing the food and staff at Wood & Vine were, this time the food was totally the highlight of the evening and has raised the bar on what we expect out of our pre-show dinners! Thank you Wood & Vine for your hospitality, awesome Broadway show discussion, and the desserts you gave us!

“An American In Paris” (or Not Exactly A Musical)

I’m past halfway through my current season of shows at the Pantages. It’s crazy to believe how quickly this season has gone by. When we got our tickets, we knew it would be more than a year before we would get to see “Hamilton” (which is the last show in our season). Now, we have about 4 1/2 months to go before “Hamilton”! And we’ve even already ordered our season tickets for the 2018 season at Pantages. We will get 6 shows next year and all 4 of us in the current group will be doing the season again.

I’ve said this pretty much each time I recap one of my Pantages outings, but I’m so grateful to have my group that I go to shows with. We always have fun going out and we all have pretty similar musical tastes. It seems that each show we all have similar reviews on what we liked and didn’t like. So it’s working out to be a really amazing group to have these musical adventures with.

The show that brought us beyond the halfway mark of the season was the past weekend when we saw “An American In Paris”. The musical is inspired by the film that starred Gene Kelly. I’ve seen clips of the movie, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the entire thing before. But I knew that the movie featured a lot of dancing and the music was by George Gershwin. I figured there would be a lot of dancing in the show, but I didn’t know much more about it. I’ve been very happy when I’ve been surprised by musicals in the past, so I was excited to see what this one was all about.

3 of the 4 of us in the group met up for dinner before the show. We went back to Shake Shack to try it again. I didn’t love it the first time I tried it, but I got a burger protein style this time (wrapped in lettuce instead of with a bun) and it was much tastier to me that way! So I think for my future Shake Shack meals I’ll probably do the same thing. I did get a shake again, but I skipped the fries so it didn’t feel like too much of a splurge meal for me.

This show wasn’t one that we had to change dates or anything for, so we were back in our normal seats. I love our seats because even though we have a slightly obstructed view, we are super close up to the front!

We all knew that this show would have a lot of dancing, but none of us knew exactly what the show was going to be like. And there was a lot of dancing for sure. I think that this show had more dancing than singing in it, which is a bit different for a musical. It’s not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t what we were expecting.

The dance numbers were really incredible. There is a ballet toward the end of the show that is over 10 minutes long that is really beautiful. But since there was no dialogue or singing during that time (and 10 minutes is a good chunk of time), it did feel less like a musical and more like a dance show. Besides the long ballet number, there were a bunch of other amazing dance numbers in the show. Some were just dance numbers and some had singing with them like what we are used to seeing in musicals.

This wasn’t my favorite show I’ve seen at the Pantages, but it was still a fun show to go to! Any night I get to go out and see a musical is a great night to me! And I do love getting to see new shows that I probably wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t have season tickets. I like the variety of shows that we have in our season this year and I know that the last 3 shows will be so much fun!

Our next show will be about 2 weeks after my surgery. I’m a bit nervous about how I’m going to feel going out that soon after, but I think that having something to look forward to is really going to help in my recovery. And my friends in my group are all more than willing to help me out with whatever I’ll need so that I can attend the show. I think that it might not be my most comfortable time at the theater, but it’s still going to be a great night out!

Finding Neverland (or An Unexpected Musical Experience)

This past week was time for another show in my Pantages season! And this time, we were seeing “Finding Neverland”. I was looking forward to the show for a couple of reasons. First, our season picks up now and we have a show almost every month now! Also, our group just decided to renew our season tickets for the 2018 season, so I know that we have so many musicals in our future. Going to the shows make me so happy, and I’m just glad I have an awesome group of friends to go with me.

Originally our tickets were for this past Sunday. But since it was Oscar Sunday, none of us wanted to drive to the theater (close to so many road closures) and we all had plans that day. We tried to find a date that we could switch our tickets to that worked for all 4 of us, but we weren’t able to make that work. So 3 of us went together this time (the 4th person went the day before the rest of us did). None of us knew what to expect for the show. I think the most that we all knew was the show is about JM Barrie, the writer of Peter Pan.

Since we didn’t go on the night our tickets were originally for, we had slightly different seats. We were still off to the side, but we were much farther back than normal. This might have been the furthest back I’ve sat since getting season tickets, but it was still a good view and I think we didn’t miss anything by sitting in the back.

We were talking about how much our friend had liked “Finding Neverland” the night before, but we were all pretty curious if we would enjoy the show as much and what would happen. And once the lights went down, I know all of us were excited to see how we would feel about it.

I have a connection to Peter Pan that made me extra excited about the show. When I was in high school, I was in the show (although I don’t think we did a musical version of it). I really wanted to play something awesome in the show, and I ended up being cast as the dog and crocodile. It was an interesting experience having to act while in giant mascot suits and not being able to say anything. I had some really fun memories of doing that show, and because of that Peter Pan has always felt special to me.

Seriously, this show was incredible! It was so magical and I was not expecting it be enjoying it nearly as much as I did. I’m probably a bit spoiled when it comes to musicals. I’ve gotten to see so many shows and have so many experiences. So to impress me takes a lot. And this show impressed me beyond anything I could have expected! There isn’t as much about the show Peter Pan as I thought there would be, but that is part of what made it great. There wasn’t much that I knew about before so it was all new to me!

During intermission, all of us turned to each other and I think we were all pretty speechless with how much we were loving “Finding Neverland”. I always hope that I will love a show I’m seeing, especially if I don’t know the show or what it’s all about, but it’s not always like that. But this show was just breathtaking and the cast was doing an amazing job. And we were all so excited to see the second act and couldn’t wait to see what else would happen.

And the second act didn’t disappoint at all. It was so emotional and it was a perfect ending for the show. We were all crying at the end and didn’t care that we might all have mascara running down our faces. It was the perfect musical to see and I’m sad that it’s only in LA for a short time because I would love to go see it again! There’s a chance I might make it to the show again, but I have to double-check the schedule and my budget to see if I can make it work.

I’m so glad that I got to see “Finding Neverland” and was so surprised by it. Many of the shows this season and next at Pantages are shows that I don’t know well so I’m hoping that I’ll have more pleasant surprises coming up. I know that not all shows can affect me the way that this one did, but I’m so glad that I had such a reaction to this show. I’ve loved so many shows in the past, but this one moved me more than possibly any show I’ve seen and I really appreciate that I got to experience it.

Burgers And Broadway (or Another Musical)

I’ve seen so many musicals lately, but I still get so excited for each one I get to see! It feels like such an indulgence, but with a lot of shows I go to they are pretty affordable. With my season tickets at Pantages, they average about $40 a show. And considering I’m still not ordering delivery food, I think I’ve got the money to spend on shows since I’m not spending it on food (although I might be getting delivery food for Christmas but that will be the first time since the beginning of 2016).

My second show in the current season at Pantages was this past weekend and we got to see “The King And I”. Since our shows are at 6:30pm on Sundays, we try to meet up for dinner before the show. There are a bunch of places to check out right by the theater, but the last time we were there we noticed there was a Shake Shack now open and we said then that it would be our dinner before the next show.

I had never been to Shake Shack, but I was excited to check it out. I knew it would be a splurge meal and I had my brunch earlier that day. Fortunately the brunch was late enough that I was able to eat that for my morning meal and then have Shake Shack for dinner. We all got burgers and fries and of course we each had to get a shake. They had a bunch of options, but the sugar cookie one seemed fun and that’s what I got.

It was a pretty good dinner! I think my favorite part was the shake (the fries were a bit too salty for my taste and the burger was good), but it was too much food. I felt pretty full after eating and I was so glad I planned my food around the meal so it wasn’t a sickening feeling of being full.

After dinner, we walked down the street to get to the theater. It’s always pretty at nighttime there, but having a Christmas tree on the top of the marquee made it even prettier.

We got there a bit before the show was going to start, so we ended up taking a group photo by the step and repeat backdrop they had in the lobby. We tried to take a selfie, but there was no way to get all 4 of us in the photo. Thankfully, a woman saw us struggling with the photo and offered to take it for us!

I really love the group we have for season tickets this year. And we originally thought it would be just fine to have our seats in 2 separate rows (2 seats in front of the other), but it has actually turned out to be a pretty ideal situation! It’s easy to talk among the 4 of us before the show and during intermission. And we are loving where our seats are! Even though we are on the side, there is very little that is obstructed and we feel so close to the stage!

I’ve seen “The King And I” before and I’ve even helped to produce a production of it at a kid summer camp (that was an interesting adventure), so I know the story pretty well. But this was still such a magical production! The cast was very talented and the staging was really nice. I always find it interesting how touring companies do the staging for shows since they have to be able to move them from city to city. But this was a minimalist set that worked perfectly.

The show was just as amazing as I remembered it from the previous productions I’ve seen. It’s not a show that I have seen that many times, but it’s familiar enough that I can just sit back and enjoy the show and not need to think too much about it. And the entire audience seemed to be the same way because whenever super familiar songs were starting, everyone was swaying with the music (and fortunately nobody was singing and making it tough to hear the performers).

Our next Pantages show was originally scheduled to be on Oscar Sunday, but since we all have places to be that day (plus the theater is close to where the Oscars are held so we don’t want to deal with traffic) we switched our date for the show. It will be 2 months before our next show, but I’m ok with that. I’ve got lots of other awesome stuff happening and there’s always a chance I’ll find another musical that isn’t a part of my season with discounted tickets to check out.

I know I’ve said this so many times, but I’m so grateful that I have my season tickets this year and that I have amazing friends who are joining me for the shows. Before doing season tickets, I didn’t realize that I was missing out on so much happiness in my life. And I have a feeling I’ll be doing season tickets for so many more seasons in the future.

Another Night At Pantages (or Hedwig Take 2)

Even though we got to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Sunday with our season tickets for Pantages, I actually went back again on Thursday! It is extremely rare for me to see a show more than once (I think I’ve seen maybe 5 musicals more than once) and I’ve never seen a show that I wasn’t working in twice within a week. But we had a reason behind the craziness.

This current tour of the show stars Darren Criss as Hedwig and Lena Hall as Yitzhak (she won a Tony for playing this on Broadway). However on Sunday evening shows, Lena Hall plays Hedwig and Shannon Conley plays Yitzhak (and Darren Criss has the night off). We absolutely loved seeing Lena Hall as the star, but we were curious to see how Darren Criss played it and we wanted to see Lena Hall in her Tony winning role. So on the ride home from our show on Sunday, we found some cheap balcony seats for Thursday and decided we would see the show both ways.

Of the 4 of us in the Pantages group, only myself and Michelle could make it on Thursday (we never could find a night where 3 or 4 of us could go). So she and I dealt with the rush hour traffic, managed to find a meter to park in which was $13 cheaper than the lot we normally park in, and decided to get some dinner before the show.

We had dinner at a restaurant near the theater and both of us were so excited to be seeing the show again. We kept saying how crazy it was that we were back, but we had such an amazing time on Sunday that we were ready to go again. Plus, both of us were still feeling a bit overwhelmed and saddened by the election and how people on both sides have been acting. We needed this escape and it was the perfect thing to have planned.

Our seats during our season tickets are on the right side of the audience almost all the way to the side but very close to the front. We do have slightly obstructed views, and the way the set is done for this show it was more than slightly obstructed, but we love our seats. We can see so much and being able to see the expressions on the actors is really fun. For Thursday’s show, we were up on the balcony where we were about halfway up and all the way over to the left side. So we figured that whatever was obstructed on Sunday could be seen this time. Even with our seats being high up, we couldn’t stop being so excited to see the show again!

hedwig

Overall, the show was really great. Since when I went on Sunday I was a bit overwhelmed (it was the first time I had ever seen the show), it was nice to be able to relax a bit and pay more attention to the show this time. It was interesting to see the differences between how Lena Hall and Darren Criss play Hedwig. And while the script and jokes are pretty much the same, there were some really funny parts that were about Trump winning the election that were really great. And seeing Lena Hall in a role that won her a Tony was just incredible. I’ve never had the opportunity for any shows I’ve seen before and that felt so special to me.

The only real negative part of my time at the show this time was the woman sitting next to me. I don’t know why she felt this was ok, but she took off her shoes during the show and had her bare feet out. And unfortunately for us, her feet didn’t smell nice. I was breathing through my hair for the first half of the show and Michelle found some perfume in her purse for me to use. I sprayed it under my nose and then on my hand so I could smell my hand when I needed to. I thought about saying something, but I figured that if someone feels that doing that is appropriate wouldn’t care or put her shoes back on.

But we did have another funny experience at the show this time. The female usher who was in the section we were sitting in really was into the show! She was doing a lot of restrained dancing during each musical number (you could tell she didn’t want to move too much and distract people). Seeing someone so into a show is just fun and made things seem ok in the world again when in reality there is so much uncertainty.

I’m really glad we got to go back to see the show. I wonder what my opinions would have been like if we saw Darren Criss in the lead first, but I feel like I still would have wanted to see both versions of the show. While it is the same show, it did feel like a totally different experience with how each of them played the role and created the world of Hedwig.

Our next Pantages show is in December, but there have been more musical experiences since this! Shockingly, last week I saw 3 musicals and it was amazing! And my 3rd musical of the week will be in tomorrow’s post!

More Musicals! (or Another Season At Pantages)

Earlier this year, the Pantages announced the 16-17 season for musicals. This past season I didn’t have season tickets (I did the Black Friday deal instead) but I had them the season prior and it was so much fun! And most of the shows in the coming season looked pretty awesome so I was happy to order season tickets. Plus, the last show of this coming season is “Hamilton” and for what we paid for our season, single ticket buyers will be paying for that show!

We ordered our season tickets so long ago that it seemed like the first show would never get here! But this past Sunday, we finally had our first show of the season! This time, there are 4 of us in the group for the tickets and since we all live pretty close to each other we are planning on carpooling for the shows. We decided to go a bit early on Sunday so we could get some dinner before the 6:30pm show.

Fortunately there are a bunch of places to eat near Pantages, so we should be able to try a bunch of different restaurants over the 7 show season that we have. And most of them are quick service places so we should always have time before the show to go get dinner. While we were eating, we were talking a lot about how excited we were to have our first show of the season. The show was “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and while I saw the Tony Awards performance recently, I have never seen the show or the movie. I had no idea what I was in for, but I like to be surprised.

hedwig

When we bought our season tickets, it wasn’t easy to find 4 seats in a row in the price range we wanted to be in (we wanted the cheapest seats). So we ended up getting 2 seats in one row and 2 seats directly behind those. It worked out pretty well for us and we are pretty close to the stage! And being off to the side does cause occasional sight line issues, but it’s never been that big of an issue at any of the shows I had been to before.

pantages-group

It seemed like a lot of people in the audience were season ticket holders like us. And I’m thinking a lot of them didn’t really know what they were in for with this show (maybe they just got the season tickets to be able to see “Hamilton”?). While most of the audience seemed to enjoy the show, there were more walk outs during this show than I’ve ever seen. And I saw people covering their ears during songs as well.

Personally, I really enjoyed the show. I wasn’t expecting it to be a concert style show (I thought there would be scenes taking place in between the songs), but it was a nice difference compared to most of the musicals that I see. I thought the songs were all done really well and the set was fun to look at. While the tour of this show has been advertising that it stars Darren Criss, he doesn’t perform on Sunday evenings so we got to see Lena Hall in the lead role. She actually won a Tony for playing the other part, but she did amazing in the show!

I think we all agreed that this show was a great way to kick off a new season of musicals. We will pretty much get to see a show every month for the next several months with our last show being “Hamilton” in August. Each of the shows we get to see should be a really fun adventure and there’s only 1 show in the season that I’ve already seen (“Book of Mormon”) and I think all the other shows look really good.

Even though season tickets are a splurge, it really makes me so happy to go to the shows and I think that it’s so worth it. There have been so many times where I didn’t do something I wanted to because of the cost and I think that sometimes you need to put mental health above financial health. I love having these shows to look forward to and going out to more cultural events does seem to make the quality of my life so much better. So here’s to another full season of musical adventures!

The End Of My Black Friday Deal (or Cabaret At Pantages)

This week was the final show in the amazing Black Friday deal I got with my friend Dani for the Pantages this season. This time, the show was “Cabaret”. Dani and I really lucked out with our shows in the Black Friday deal and I’m so glad that we decided to go for it. Plus, our seats for each of the shows were so much better than any seats we’ve had before (they were significantly better than what our season tickets were like last season or will be for next season).

The big downside to this final show in the deal was that Dani couldn’t go. The entire run for the show was while she is out of the country, so she gave me her ticket to give to a friend. I asked around to see who wanted to come see “Cabaret” with me this week, and my friend (and amazing casting director) Jeremy Gordon said he could go with me. I met Jeremy through The Actors’ Network, but I hadn’t seen him in person for a very long time (but we’ve stayed in touch through social media). Jeremy and I have been saying for a long time that we were way overdue for a coffee hangout, so going to see a show together was pretty awesome.

Since it’s not cheap to park by Pantages, Jeremy and I carpooled there. It was nice to have someone in the car with me while I dealt with traffic, and it gave us a great opportunity to catch up on things. We also both realized that neither of us had seen “Cabaret” in its entirety before. I’ve seen most of the musical numbers and knew a lot about the story, but I’ve technically never seen the show before. I thought it was pretty cool that we were both first-timers at the show and we were looking forward to seeing what it was like.

Cabaret

I don’t want to give away a ton about the show in case some of you haven’t seen it, but it was incredible! The cast was really great and I think that it was beautifully staged (which can be tough for a touring show). There was a great mix of silliness and seriousness throughout the show. And while the sound seemed a bit too low (both Jeremy and I noticed it was a bit quiet and could be tough to hear at times), I was able to follow the story and got sucked into it pretty easily.

I did know a bit about how the show ended, but I didn’t know all of it and it took my breath away. It was very intense and while it was sad it was also beautifully done. And when the actors took their bows at the end of the show, there was no music from the orchestra (which I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before) and that added to the shock value of the ending and made it stick with me. I am glad I didn’t know the entire show because that moment was so powerful and I’m glad I was able to experience it at the show.

I think Jeremy will agree with me that the show was so well done and I highly recommend checking it out if you are in LA (or when it tours in your area). With the way that politics are going these days, this show is actually pretty relevant and current even though it takes place in the 1930’s. But even without the politics of the show, it was just great and I’m so glad that we chose it to be a part of our deal when we bought them back in November.

After the show, Jeremy and I took a silly selfie outside the theater to document our awesome hangout.

Jeremy Gordon

I’m so glad that Jeremy was able to come with me to the show. While I was sad that Dani wasn’t there, it was great to get to share the experience and my love of going to the theater with another friend. We’ve talked about hopefully going to another musical again in the future so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve promised to tell him if there is another Black Friday deal similar to the one I got so he could get some tickets for next season (it seems like the season tickets for Pantages are pretty close to being sold out so I’m lucky my group was able to get our tickets already).

With the exception of any shows I may see at the Bowl this summer, I most likely won’t be seeing another musical until my season tickets start in November. I’m ok with taking a break. I’ve only been going to the Pantages again in the past view years. Before that, there was more than a 10 year gap between shows there. But I’m glad that my friends have gotten me back into seeing musicals because they really do make me happy and make my life so much better.

Dinner And Carole King (or The Best Musical Ever!)

This past week was the 3rd musical in the Black Friday deal my friend Dani and I got at Pantages. It was actually the last show Dani can go to (she’s missing our last show but I’m bringing another friend to it) and our season tickets for next season don’t start until the fall. So this may be our last musical together for a while!

This time, we were seeing “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. When I saw that this was a part of the Black Friday deal, I knew I wanted to see it. Dani wasn’t totally sure on it, but she trusted me and we got the tickets with our deal back in November.

We drove over to the theater together (we don’t usually take the train for weeknight shows because we get out so late and the train isn’t as fast as the freeway at night), but we got there early enough to grab some dinner before the show. We weren’t sure where we wanted to go, but we saw Greenleaf Chop Shop and it sounded good to both of us.

Greenleaf

Greenleaf is mainly a salad place, but when Dani and I sat down at the bar (the line to order at the counter was really long) we saw that they had way more than salads! We ended up ordering some spinach artichoke dip, chicken nachos, and goat cheese pizza to split between us. We also got some dessert because we felt like we needed something sweet too. I think it’s pretty funny that even though we were at a salad place, salad wasn’t part of our meal (technically Dani did order a side salad, but basically our meal was all non-salad foods).

After we were done with dinner, we walked down the street to the theater. It was a bit crowded because it was getting close to showtime, but we were able to get to our seats with time to spare.

Beautiful

We really lucked out with the seats we got for our Black Friday deal. For all of our shows, we are in the center orchestra. I don’t know how we got such great luck, but I love it!

While we were waiting for the show to start, we both were admiring how awesome the Pantages Theater looks. It’s really so beautiful and we were both saying how grateful we feel that we get to experience shows like this so close to where we live.

Pantages

Once the show got started, I knew that we had made the right choice seeing this show. It was so incredible! It was a jukebox type musical that reminded me of a mix of “Jersey Boys” and “Motown”. It had the storytelling elements from “Jersey Boys” but since Carole King wrote for so many musical acts there were a lot of different musical groups portrayed in the show similar to how “Motown” was.

The songs were all so great and every time a new one started you could hear the moment the audience recognized the song and everyone was excited to hear it. I recognized pretty much every song and I think they were sung so well and the choreography was spot on. Dani and I were both laughing and smiling so much during the show and I was just in awe of what we were getting to see.

Not only were the performers awesome, I loved the sets and costumes. The sets were beautiful and so impressive (especially considering this is a touring show). I loved how they were so simple but so elaborate at the same time. And the quick changes that the actors had to do in the show were almost like magic tricks! There was one quick change that was done on stage in view of all of us and I wish I could watch that part over and over again. And there was another quick change where the performers were wearing one thing when they walked behind a small wall, walked behind the wall to the other side, and emerged with a different outfit! It just made me so happy seeing all the cool creative things that were in this show.

But what I loved the most about this show was how it was the story about not giving up on your dream. It’s about going for what you love and making sure that you know at the end of the day you did everything you could to make that happen. And it was just inspiring to see just a small snippet of someone’s life when they have had a very long career in a creative pursuit.

I’ve had a couple of friends tell me that my favorite musical will be “Hamilton” after I get to see that next year in August, but I really don’t know how something can top “Beautiful”. This was just incredible and I’m even trying to figure out if there is a way I can go to see it again because I want to experience the show at least one more time (and I almost never see a show more than once).