Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wonderful Wicked Weekend

I had a Wonderful Wicked Weekend with great friends in Los Angeles, CA a few weeks ago. Gwen, Ellie, Krista, and I set out for an adventure on Saturday morning. Gwen's wonderful husband Michael drove us to the airport. Our flight to Los Angeles, CA was delayed for about 20 minutes because our flight crew was lost. The story seemed to change about where they were every time an announcement was made. After a few trips to the restroom, the gift shop, Cinnabon, etc, we were finally allowed to board the plane. Once we got on the plane, the flight went by quickly. Our first stop was once again the restroom when we got into the airport. Then our next business was to pick up our rental car. The rental car agency tried to pull a few fast ones on us, but being the seasoned travels we (I) were (was), we got what we wanted. They tried to give us a minivan when we had requested one of those small fuel-efficient cars. I wasn’t having any of that! I went to a worker and told them we wanted a smaller car that was more fuel efficient. Be careful what you ask for! We ended up with a Dodge Caliber with power-nothing! We had to manually roll the window up and down and lock and unlock the doors. It was ghetto but it was great on gas! There were quite a few times we forgot to lock some of the doors so we were always asking, "Did you lock the door?" Gwen was in charge of driving so we always sent her ahead of us to unlock the doors so that by the time the rest of us got to the car, we could just open the door and get in.

We checked into the Marriott Springhill Suites near Manhattan Beach. We had a nice big room with two beds and a sofa sleeper. We bought sandwiches from Subway and drove to Manhattan Beach. We had a difficult time finding a parking space because there was a volleyball competition going on at the beach. Eventually we found a place to park and hiked down a hill with our sandwiches to the beach. We sat in the sun and sand and ate our sandwiches. We put our feet in the water. The water was a little cool. A few waves caught a few of us (me and Krista) unawares and got more than our feet wet. We took some pictures on the beach. We watched dolphins play in the surf. We watched a few surfers try to get up on the waves. We watched these very peculiar large birds dive into the water. Then they would bob to the surface and ride the waves for a bit. Then they would fly away. We had never seen anything like it. We also watched a real lifeguard rescue too. A girl was getting sucked out from an under tow so two lifeguards dove into the water and saved her. It wasn’t exactly Baywatch but it kept our attention. We hiked back up the hill to our car. We drove back to the hotel and got ready for the evening.

We drove to Hollywood, CA. We drove past the Chinese Theatre and Kodak Theatre. We met my friend Matt at Sharky’s for dinner. I enjoyed talking with Matt. Unfortunately we probably bored the girls with our Radio City stories and news.

After dinner, we all drove to the Pantages Theatre and saw the musical Wicked. We had the BEST seats. We were on the front row of the mezzanine on the right side. There was no one’s head to try to dodge. It was great! My favorite Fiyero (Derrick Williams) and Madame Morrible (Carol Kane) were in that performance. I loved it! (It was my fifteenth time to see the show. I don’t think it will ever get old. I know I have a problem and I am looking into getting professional help!) Ellie, Krista, Gwen, and I waited outside the stage door for a little while for the actors to come out. (Matt had to hurry home because he had to work the next morning.) The only actors we saw were Nessa Rose, Doctor Dillamond, and Boq. They signed my playbill.

I even had the privilege of signing autographs at the stage door. Now that was an interesting experience. We were talking at the stage door waiting for some actors to come out. All of a sudden the smell of alcohol fills our area followed by a very drunk woman. I thought, “Oh great!”. She tells me that I am the most beautiful person she has met and that I should be in the movies. I thought, “Whatever drunk lady!”, but I just kept smiling politely. She then asked me to sign her Wicked program, the one you have to pay $20 for. I told her that I would not sign it. She kept pestering me and I kept telling her no. She asked me why I wouldn’t sign it. I told her that I wasn’t in the show so I shouldn’t sign her book. Finally I took her pen and tried to sign my name. Her pen didn’t work. Too bad! I told her I didn’t have a pen and my friends all shrugged their shoulders. The “kind” lady next to us saved the day and supplied us with a pen that worked. Darn her! I scribbled my name and gave back the program and pen. She said, “That’s not your signature. That’s just a bunch of scribbles.” I said, “Nope, that’s my signature.” She asked me my name. I told her (since she probably wouldn’t remember the next morning when she woke up with a horrible hangover) and pointed to the signature. Then she started talking to someone else and walked away. Thank goodness!

After that experience, we decided to go back to the safety of our ghetto car. On our way back to the hotel, we searched for some dessert. You can’t go to the theater without having dessert afterwards. All the Coldstones and Baskin Robbins that we came across were closed. We settled for a Ralph’s grocery store in a scary part of town. We bought some pints of ice cream and ate it all the way back to the hotel. We got to bed around 1 AM.
Unfortunately none of us checked to see if the alarm clock in the hotel room was set to go off so we had an early wake-up call at 6:05 AM. I managed to turn off the alarm without turning the light on. I rolled over and went back to sleep until 8:30 AM.

We drove to the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. We took some pictures in front of a fountain on the theatre complex. It was a beautiful day in LA. We saw 9 to 5 The Musical. Matt met us at the theatre just before it started. Matt and I both wanted to see it because Stephanie J Block was performing in it. She is only the MOST AMAZING Broadway star we had seen! 9 to 5 was pretty fun! Stephanie did not let us down! She did an AMAZING job! Her song in the second act was a show stopper! The thing I love about Stephanie is that she doesn’t need an ensemble or any set pieces to accentuate her singing. All she needs is an orchestra and a stage. Anything else distracts from her performance. I loved it!

Ellie, Krista, Gwen, and I had to leave right after the show ended before the bows in order to get to the airport to catch our flight home. I gave Matt a big hug before we left. We made a wrong turn from the theatre to the airport which cost us about twenty minutes. We put gas in the car and returned it. Then the rental car shuttle took us to the airport. We boarded our airplane and headed home. It was a fun, quick weekend to LA but I had a blast!

Since Wicked is closing in LA around January, next year's Wonderful Wicked Weekend will be held in October in Denver. Let me know if you want to come along!

Here are some pictures from our trip.

Gwen, Me, Krista, Ellie at the Beach

Me and Matt after Wicked (I don't know why we have the sack?? We were the only two in our group who didn't buy anything!)

Gwen, Me, Ellie, Krista on the Plaza outside of the Ahmanson Theatre