Tag Archives: Pantages Theater

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).

42nd Street (or So Much Tap Dancing!)

Even though my friend Dani and I got our Black Friday deal for the Pantages Theater a while ago, most of the shows in our deal weren’t until this summer. We had already seen “Mamma Mia”, but our second show from the deal was this week. This week, our show was “42nd Street” which I had never seen before! So I was pretty excited to check it out (plus we had some amazing seats!).

Before the show, Dani and I got some dinner at a sports bar on the same block as the theater. Dani has had some crazy work schedules lately so I haven’t seen her at workouts for a bit. So I had to update her on my running and all other things Orangetheory. And she had to fill me in on the craziness of her life! We actually were able to get to Hollywood pretty quickly, so we had a relaxing dinner and didn’t feel rushed at all.

We walked back over to the theater and I noticed a step and repeat set up right in the entry of the theater. Turns out, this show was the opening night of “42nd Street”, so they was some media outlets interviewing a couple of celebrities who were there. It was kind of cool to see, and since Dani doesn’t work in the entertainment industry I think she thought it was fun to see how the press line works.

With the Black Friday deal that we did, we got to choose any seats we wanted in the theater. Dani was the one who organized the tickets and she just selected the best seats available. We were toward the front of the orchestra just off of center! The seats were amazing and I had no trouble seeing the stage (except for someone 2 rows in front of me that had a super tall hairstyle).

42nd Street

We also checked out our seats for next season as we walked to our seats. We got a great deal where we are toward the front of the orchestra, but we are farther off to the side than we are used to. I was worried that sitting so far off to the side might make it tough to see everything on stage, but when we were checking out the seats we got for next season (we have 4 seats that are split up between 2 rows) I was pleasantly surprised to see that the seats are awesome and we should have no issues seeing the shows! Our next season tickets don’t start until November, but I’m already so excited for it!

We were in our seats close to when the show was starting, and the show started off with an amazing tap dance number! I’ve seen tap dancing in shows before (“Newsies” had some), but this show was almost all tap dancing! I was so impressed not only by the dancing but by how the performers could still sing after dancing like crazy for minutes! That is a serious cardio workout!

The show was really great! The cast was all “unknowns” but they did an incredible job and the opening night performance went really smoothly! The show was a lot less serious than some that I’ve seen in the past, but sometimes you just want to see a show that is light and fluffy and it was perfect for that!

My next show will be in a few weeks and then I have the last of my Black Friday shows in July. Then it might feel like a long wait until November when our 7 show season starts. But I know I’m so incredibly lucky that I have the chance to do this. Not only did I have the money saved up to buy tickets (or we found an amazing deal like the $99 for 4 shows Black Friday deal), but I’ve got a great theater like the Pantages not too far from me where I can see these shows! Every show I see inspires me more and more and I love that I have theater back in my life again!

Working On Money Priorities (or What’s Worth The Splurge)

I’ve really been working lately on spending less. I know it’s important for me to do this because I need to use that extra money toward my credit card debt (and not creating more debt). And obviously, there are some costs that I can’t avoid (bills and stuff), but I’ve gotten more serious at taking a look at my fun expenses.

I’m sure it sounds like I spend a ton because I go to Disneyland pretty often and now I have a pass to Universal Studios as well. This Disneyland pass was pretty much half paid for by recycling ink. That option won’t work for me in the future (the loophole that let me do that was fixed), but pretty much what I paid out of pocket was the same as 2 days at Disneyland. And my pass has the parking so I’m not paying $18 each time to park. I know I’ll go more than 2 times in a year so it’s easily worth it. And my Universal Studios pass was something I got at Costco for almost the same price as a 1 day ticket. The issue with my pass is that you can’t use it on weekends at all, but since I will probably only go on Mondays that isn’t an issue for me as well.

I am still spending money on other fun things, but I’m really trying to limit them to fun experiences like my season tickets to the Pantages or other shows (I just got tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” live at the Hollywood Bowl soon!). And when I do tickets like those, I’m working hard at finding good deals or making sure what I’m paying is a good value (like the season tickets being about $300 for all 7 shows). Part of why I love going to so many shows is it keeps me busy. And when I’m busy I’m not focusing on food.

And speaking of food, one of the biggest savings I’ve had lately is food related. I set the monthly challenge not to order any delivery food in March, and I’ve been able to keep that up so far this month too! I’m not doing as great about cooking from scratch, but even getting microwave food from the grocery store is cheaper than delivery food. When I’m not cooking, I’m going out to eat and that tends to be with friends so it makes it more of an outing than just eating. My grocery bills have gone up a bit since I’m eating at home more, but the amount they have gone up is significantly less than what I was spending on delivery food so that is a win for me.

But I think the biggest savings for me as been shopping. Mainly buying books, but I’m trying to be better about shopping in general. I used to buy a lot more stuff. Now, if I’m buying things online it tends to be household stuff I need or workout clothes. I’m not buying as much “normal” clothes because honestly I’m not in “normal” clothes that often. And even on non-workout days I usually wear my workout pants because they are more comfortable to work in.

But my book spending was pretty bad in the past. I used to be a huge library person, then there was an ordeal with my library card not working (I don’t know what happened and neither do they). Instead of doing the easy thing and just registering for a new card, I took advantage of how easy it is to get books on my Kindle. My old e-reader was much more difficult to get books on so just being able to press a button and order a book was so fun! But the spending was adding up. And while most of the books I buy I love and read over and over again, there were some that I got because they were on sale for $0.99 that I’ve read once and that’s it.

So recently I finally got a new library card and I’ve been taking advantage of it so much!

Library Card

It is so easy to get books on my Kindle from the library. Yes, I have to use my computer to get them. But then they are sent wirelessly to my Kindle and are on the device for 21 days. So most of the time I can read them more than once if I want to. I actually went a little overboard with putting Kindle books on hold from the library and had to delay a couple of holds (I had gotten 8 library books available at once). But I’m starting to find my groove with the library again and I feel like an idiot that I waited so long and spent so much money. I can’t go back and change it, but I’m glad I’ve changed now.

I know that there are still a few more places I can save money in my monthly spending. I want to get my grocery bills down a bit more as well as my household stuff (cleaning supplies, paper goods, and those things). I’m going to do some price checking between stores near me and Amazon and hopefully I can figure out the best options for me to maximize my money.

I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up this summer and a lot of them will involve money. But hopefully with the cutting back that I’ve been able to do I will not put myself into more debt just to do them.

A Night Of Magic (or Not Quite A Musical)

Even though I got a really great Black Friday deal on tickets for the Pantages (and already got my 2016-2017 season tickets), I’m always on the lookout for good deals for shows I don’t have tickets for. It’s so funny that I’m seeing so many shows now since before my season tickets last season for Pantages I hadn’t been there since I moved to LA in August 2001. It’s almost like I’m making up for lost time. I’m not able to see everything I want because of money issues, but fortunately lots of shows do random deals and my season tickets were a bit cheaper than expected so I had a little extra money.

Most of the runs at the Pantages are longish runs. Some shows are there for a couple of weeks, and some shows are there for a few months (when “Hamilton” is here next year, they will be here for 5 months). But sometimes they have shows that are here for a week or two and they can be tough to get into because there aren’t as many shows to go to.

I had seen that one of the short runs at the Pantages this year is a show called “The Illusionists”, which is a magic show that was on Broadway. The show is with 7 different magicians each with a different speciality or theme. I love magic (I’m hoping to get back to the Magic Castle soon!), but my friend Dani who did the Black Friday deal with me didn’t want to see that show. So we didn’t put it as a part of our season and I let it go.

But a few months ago, my friend Sarah mentioned that she and her husband wanted to see the show. So we agreed to be on the lookout for cheap seats and we’d go together. Sarah ended up finding $45 seats and was supposed to get the tickets, but things came up and she couldn’t do it. But it worked out for the best for us because I got an email a few days later offering $30 seats! So I got our 3 tickets and ended up getting us seats pretty close to center in the first row of the balcony!

We saw the show this past week and it was so much fun! Our seats were pretty amazing and I’m glad that we were able to get in the balcony because it was probably better to see the show from up there instead of in the back of the orchestra.

The Illusionists

The show was broken up by magician and each person would do an illusion or two before the next magician came out (each magician did a couple of different segments). It was a little like seeing a bunch of little shows and even though it didn’t quite flow together it was still great. And a couple of the magicians also did some comedy so it became like a mix of standup and magic.

I’ve seen a lot of behind the scenes magician specials so I do know how some of the illusions are done. But that didn’t ruin any of the fun for me. And there were plenty of illusions that I have no clue how they were done and they shocked me! I wish that I could watch videos of them because I want to see them over and over again!

While I do feel like it was a really fun show and I’d encourage people to get tickets, there were a couple of things that weren’t so fabulous. The sound quality was pretty off and some of the music was so loud that we were starting to get headaches. Also, it was very showy and lots of parts of the show could have sped up to make it more fun (we didn’t need to spend several minutes watching a magician prepare for one trick with no music or other things happening). And some of the jokes were a bit off to me, but that could be just my sensitivities. If we had paid the full price of tickets for where we sat, I might be a bit more picky. But for $30 seats it was a great evening out!

This show really did make me want to get to the Magic Castle again soon. The magic there is so amazing because you are up close to the performers and it’s very toned down and basic. They don’t have music, effects, and a huge stage to hide behind or to hide what they are doing. Everything is right in front of you and you feel very connected to the show. That wasn’t the case with “The Illusionists” since we weren’t in the areas where they got volunteers and had to watch a lot of stuff on a screen since we couldn’t see from that far away without it. But that’s what happens when you go to see a magic show in a large venue.

I don’t know if there are any additional shows coming up that I’ll be buying tickets for outside of my Black Friday deal this season or my season tickets next season. I think I’ve got tickets for everything that I want and unless someone offers me free tickets I don’t know if I’ll have the money for it. But I’m getting to see a lot right now and I’m so grateful to have entertainment like this close enough to my house and within my budget!

Mamma Mia (or The Best Black Friday Deal Ever!)

I loved having season tickets for the Pantages last year and getting to see a bunch of amazing musicals. It was the best thing I splurged on and it brought me so much happiness. But when the season for this year was announced, I couldn’t justify splurging on the full season when there were only a few shows I really wanted to see. So I figured that I’d try to catch a show or two if I found a good deal.

Then, right before Thanksgiving I got an email from Pantages saying that they were running a Black Friday deal! You could get tickets for 4 shows on Tuesdays for $99! That’s basically $25 a show (it’s usually about $100 per show on average). I emailed my friend Dani about it and asked if she wanted to get 4 shows. I’m so glad that not only did she say yes, but she said that she could do the ticket order (the deal started at midnight and I knew I’d be at a movie with my cousin then).

We got the 4 shows we wanted and Dani said that she just chose to have the best seats available. When I took a look at our order, I realized that we were almost always exactly centered in the theater and only a few rows farther back than our season tickets had been! That’s pretty amazing and I know that we scored on that deal.

Our first show of 4 was this week and it was Mamma Mia. I’ve seen the movie before and had enjoyed the plot and the music. So I was pretty happy that we were going to see the musical. Two of our other friends, Sarah and Ali, got tickets for that show (they didn’t want to do the 4 show deal) so we all got a quick dinner at the W Hotel (across the street from the theater) before it was showtime.

I know that Sarah and Ali tried to get tickets near us, but it wasn’t possible. So we split up in the lobby (Ali and Sarah went to the balcony and Dani and I went to the orchestra), but it was ok with us that we weren’t sitting together. We were all just glad that we were getting to see the show!

Mamma Mia

I really enjoyed the show! It was similar to the movie, but there were a couple of songs that weren’t in the movie or were in different places in the play. It was fun and you could tell that the actors were having a great time performing! There was no way you couldn’t smile during the show (and in Dani’s case, there was no way not to sing and dance by the end of the show).

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I told my parents about it and they decided to get tickets for when the show will be touring near them this summer! My parents don’t go to a lot of musicals, but they seem to have similar tastes for shows that I do. So I have a good feeling that they will love it (and I helped them find some really great seats!).

Of our 4 shows that we got in our Black Friday deal, the rest of them are in the summer so we’ve got a few months before the next one (although there is one show not in our deal that I might try to see if I can find a random deal for). But I’m ok waiting because I will have a lot of musicals to see this year and next year!

On Tuesday morning the Pantages announced their 2016-2017 season and it looks incredible! As soon as I saw it, I checked to see if Dani wanted to get season tickets. I knew I’d be seeing her that night for Mamma Mia, but I wanted to arrange our season tickets ASAP. She did, and same with a few other friends (including my Disneyland buddy June!). So yesterday we got our season tickets arranged for the season and we will be seeing 7 shows between November this year and August next year! We couldn’t get the exact seats that we wanted, but we got 6th and 7th row seats off to the side and we have the opportunity to move them in another month or two if we’d like.

It is another splurge and I’m taking money from what I’ve been saving to get a new computer to afford it. But it’s so worth it to me. I said that I want to go on more adventures with my friends, and going to shows are always adventures!