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October 23rd, 2004 - We're Boxed In!

Took pictures, but too many left to just waste film.  Soon as the camera is full and they are developed, they will be up!

This experience I swear was so not planned.  Megan attended the October 20th evening performance, beating me, first by one and after this time two shows.  Being the single best pal she is, however, she brought her cell phone and called me three times: before the show, intermission, and at the stage door.  So I semi got to talk to Brooke [Tansley] and heard Peter [Flynn].  I have hence dubbed her cell as "This is me!" in all the pictures she took. =)
Prior to the 23rd
Now at first as a joke, I said "Maybe I'll just go on Saturday and catch up to you!"  We laughed it over, but as the conversation went on, I got more serious, and not going to let ME go alone just yet =), Megan got us the tickets for this experience later that week.  At first, it was Row X!  All the way in the back!  Would she stand for that, no.  The only other seats available were the Right Box, Row A.

Right box, Row A?  Neither of us had even HEARD of it, but she took them.  We figured it had to be somewhere in the mezzanine.  For the few days before the show date, I consoled Megan that self proclaimed "mezz" seats are just as good as anywhere else.  There are FEW seats in the Lunt-Fontanne that are bad.

Now for the very first time, I beat Megan to the Lunt-Fontanne.  Mind you, we hadn't the chance to convey when we would be meeting, but for once, the stupid bus arrived on time.  I arrived at the theater a little after 3 and Megan got there closer to 4.  Most likely knowing the buses and Lincoln Tunnel traffic, this will never happen again, so I cherish the moment =)
Also, a shout out to the McDonald's next to the Palace theater in Times Square.  I think we have officially dubbed that our dining facilities as we always grab a small fries and drink after we meet.  God bless the staff there, they work so hard with such crazy crowds!  You guys rock!
Did we attempt to stage door the matinee again?  Yes.  Did we catch anyone?  No.  I think the colder season brings take out and delivery for lunch so we really didn't see anyone.  Result?  More time to kill =)
We took in a quick pre show dessert break at one of the Marriott Hotel's gorgeous lounges.  Good Lord, even if you just go in and get a soda or something, go!  The view of Times Square is marvelous, and the desserts are wonderful!  If you're feeling up to it, get the Liquid Center Chocolate Cake!  $9, it does sound pricey, but there are two ways to look at this.  Pricey and horrific, or pricey and for a great reason.  This was the latter!!  So worth it!
Afterwards, we walked over and sat at the Times Square Visitors Center to kill some time before going to the theater.

During the Show
Quick note #1:  If you ever get box seats for Beauty and the Beast, you have NOTHING to fear!  They are located in a small section at the sides of the mezzanine floor, a bit lower than level (there is a huge step so be careful!), with a WONDERFUL view of the stage!  This is not partial view, my friends; you do not miss a moment of the action!  Only complaint is the seats are somewhat like those at your dining room table, not regular auditorium seats, so you have to adjust your sitting position sometimes to stay comfortable.  But it is one of our new favorite spots to sit.  Oh you don't have the first few rows available?  We'll take the box! =)
Quick Note #2:  Are our experiences convincing you to see the show?  You want good seats?  Beauty popularity seems to be skyrocketing!  Seats are selling fast, get tickets now!  (Now as usual, gotta cover my neck.  Disney does not pay me to say this I swear; I'm simply sharing the knowlege and technique of getting good seats.  I'm not a paid plug, and I don't intend to be one.)
But onto the memory lineup, once again composed with Megan:
  • The only other uncomfortable thing about these seats?  Cell phone vultures!  Do I sound harsh, sorry but good.  This is one thing I can't tolerate.  People, cell phone usage is no longer allowed in theaters, turn them off!  But if you do decide to be rude, don't tell fans like us to tone it down and relax, especially when we are not loud.  People want to talk during the show quietly about the action, not "Who does your hair?", I don't mind, I do it all the time politely.  Cell phones and flash bulbs during the show?  No way, no how, uh uh!  Turn. Them. Off.  Or put them on vibrate and get your voicemail later during intermission.  Thank God, these two didn't come back for the second act.
  • Great audience, second time in a row...well for me at least =)  It is so great to hear the audiences laughing and clapping along with the show again!  For a while they were getting boring and not responding at all; not anymore!  Let's keep it up!  Good audiences are good fun!
  • This one is so from Megan, but I have to agree.  James Tabeek is a gorgeous Young Prince, among his other roles. =)
  • God bless the orchestra!  The narration during the Prologue was delayed, by technical difficulty we guessed, but they seemed to slow down and let it catch up without missing a beat for the untrained ears.  Sounded flawless!  Great job, guys!
  • Missing in Action that night:  Steve Blanchard (Beast), Tracy Generalovich (one of the three Silly Girls), and Marguerite Willbanks (Madame).  We missed ya!  Hurry back!
  • *shakes head and bites lip to keep from laughing/blushing*  Peter Flynn.  The man...never lets us down.  Ladies of the Haven, I know there are a few of you who focus on Lumiere only, you know who you are! =)=).  I am determined to drag you up here to see this man.  As I told a few people before, Peter knows no limits...or very few of them.  He appears to feel if he can get away with something where adults will get the hint but kids will just find it funny, he WILL do it.  Intentionally?  I don't know.  Won't go into detail, as I am SOOOO not complaining =), but Megan and I have agreed that he raises the parental rating a few notches every show. =)  He's that darn good and just gets better.
  • The hardcore usher brigade still hunts the aisles out during Be Our Guest, but we also caught them at the ballroom sequence and the finale this time.  Flash bulb/camera mongers, be warned to not even THINK about trying anything!  You will get caught, and if they don't catch you, we will.  Seriously though folks, flash cameras are dangerous during the show; from experience, I can tell you that when onstage, the first row and maybe the second are the only visible parts beyond the "fourth wall".  A flash is deadly to the actors; be kind, keep this rule up there with cell phones.
  • Being on the side of the theater has it's advantages, you get glimpses of things that usually shouldn't be seen offstage.  Unfortunately this time, we caught Peter tripping on one of the stairs that climb up to the plates from backstage.  Flawless as always, it didn't phase him, went right into character nonetheless =)  Good job sir! =)
  • Applause, it's glorious.  A number of times, we got the audience to clap with us after certain scenes that normally get ignored.  Even got a few people to give a small standing ovation after Be Our Guest =)  I feel the power! =)
  • The Wow Count begins Nov. 20th when we plan to see the show with my mom.  The word "wow" was always associated with Gaston at one point in the show, but now is also one of the new Lumiere-isms. =)  Not only will he light up in flames when he gets excited, he has made "Wow" part of the French vocabulary =)  We are determined to count how many times "wow" is said during the show next time.
  • In the finale tonight, with everyone onstage, all romantical and such, Peter and Pam made Lumiere and Babette not look all lustfully attracted...yes for once! =)...but as if they really adored each other and meant it! =)  The only thing keeping me from grabbing the camera was my strict dedication to the rules and knowing that if I broke this one, I wouldn't be coming back.  But take my word for it, in the eyes of a fan, it was so beautiful.  Like watching the bridal party instead of the bride during a wedding! =)  Ok, ok I'll stop blubbering now =)

Great stuff tonight.  So many people keep telling me "The show won't change", "You're crazy for going back".  Well this is why I do.  No two shows are ever the same =)  Story line may be, but never the show itself.

Stage Door
"Wicked fun" =) as always.  "Chip" Henry [Hodges]'s mom saw us this time =)  The woman is so sweet, and we can't thank her enough for not thinking us insane...or at least not saying it =)  She's always been a joy to talk to.
*the readers think "here we go!" as I say* Brooke!  Please read previous experiences for my thoughts.  I'm starting to get repetitive =)  But Megan gave her some of the great pictures she took on the 20th, to which she almost cried.  Megan says she would have had I not opened my mouth teasing "She's going to cry!  So going to cry!".  Nonetheless she was thrilled at Megan's newest great work!  My picture from the first time I met Brooke pales in comparison! =)
Caught Peter again =)  Even hung up his cell for us; whoever it was, thank you!  You're the kindest person alive.  Laughed with us for a while, signed stuff for the kids around...then came the picture complaint.  Megan asked him for a picture with me (the man puts me in shock sometimes, sorry) and then Peter and I went on to humorously argue as I warned...
Me: "Now, look.  Every time that I take a picture you, you make me laugh somehow and I come out looking dorky!  Don't do that!"
Peter: "You do NOT look dorky!"
Me:  "Yes I do!  No laughing!"
Peter:  (amused-ly serious) "Well come here!"
So far from what Megan has told me, it actually looks good, but seeing it will have to wait till they're developed to know.
Met Christopher Monteleone, ensemble member and Beast/Gaston understudy.  Nice guy!  Megan told him how she had seen him as the Beast on the 20th, and how good and scary he was.  He took it as a compliment =)  Plus, one more cast member shocked by our B&B scores: Megan 19 and myself 17. =)  Feels great to have another person to surprise when we show up =)

Most Memorable Performer of October 23rd:  Brek Williams
Another understudy that stuns us!  Brek moved away from his usual role as the Pepper of the Salt and Pepper shakers that appear during Be Our Guest to perform the role of the Beast.  Different take but certainly not disappointing, he's younger looking than Steve Blanchard and has a tenor voice instead of a bass/baritone.  It's not the gruff, low voice that the Beast is expected to have, but I think that helped.  The audiences seem to forget one crucial thing sometimes.  The Beast and his servants are not an animal and objects, they are human!  Brek's voice being higher made him seem more human to me and kept that aspect in check.  Needless to say, we enjoyed his wonderful performance.

Most Memorable Moment of October 23rd:
I must say, Belle's Door, as I affectionately call my fave Lumiere/Babette scene, has to step down this a Cogsworth scene.  It's a world gone mad, I tell you!! =)
Never really saw any true adlibs in Beauty and the Beast; new lines maybe but never an adlib.  Then comes Jeff Brooks as Cogsworth.  Some may consider this a spoiler for those who haven't seen the show (there may still be a few yes =)) and care about not knowing some of the newer portions of the ending that aren't in the film.  Just wanted to let you know, you have been warned =)
Madame de la Grande Bouche (aka the wardrobe) has this one dress that she absolutely adores and during one scene says how she will never have a prayer of fitting into it again.  Well at the end of the show, that's her human costume, and as Cogsworth and she get together, he compliments it ("It's magnificent in excelsis!")  Megan had just stated how the costume makes her look a little....busty if you will.  JUST as she says this...
Madame: "I just can't believe it fits me again, after all these years!"
Cogsworth: "Just barely."
Well many laughed but we LOST it!  Dear Lord, that shocked us, both the fact that Jeff adlibbed and that it came just as Megan gave her opinion!  The people around us must have thought we were nuts, but we were laughing so hard until Chip runs out in human form which is a good few minutes or so later.  Jeff, you're the best!!

And until the hopeful 20th of November, this is Faith, signed out!  Have a great, Beauty-ful day! =)

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