Monday, June 04, 2007

Elphie and me

This weekend I traveled to the Southern half of the Rainbow Kingdom for a special event...WICKED!!! I left Saturday morning after a late Friday night in town with some of the crew. The trip started on a sour note when we learned Scotty can't count. He bought the tickets months ago...and informed me we had tickets for the show on Jun 2. So Jerry got tickets for the same night for himself and Chuck. We were SO excited! Scotty's folks were down for the show too, as it was a birthday present for Mom. It was going to be C's first time at a Broadway show (virgin!). Then the unthinkable happened: Scotty read the tickets and discovered they were for the show on Jun 3! I was NOT a happy camper, as I wanted to see the show with Chuck and Jerry too. While drinking margaritas to dull the pain, I repeated to myself "Everything happens for a reason. This is not the end of the world. We will make it work. Everything happens for a reason..."

And we had a fabulous weekend anyway. Cocktails, dinners, cocktails, BBQ's, and cocktails...and in no time it was Sunday night. We had decent seats in the mezzanine, great company, and it was closing night of the show. IT WAS BEYOND FIERCE! Phantom has always been my favorite show. Then I discovered Rent, and it moved me in ways Phantom never could. And then Elphie came into my life. I've read the book and memorized the OBC album, so I was well-informed going into the theater. I wasn't ready to fall so deeply in love with this show.

Perhaps even more so than the book (which is SO rare for me), the musical resonated with my life and soul. Elphies struggles for acceptance and constantly being the outsider. The taunts and snickers from her peers. The pain of loss and search for identity. The beauty of finding a true friend who understands and accepts you no matter what. The fighting between dearest friends only to come back together over and over again. Appearances are deceiving. Rising above the challenges and working to make a difference in the world around you. I'd say that I want to be Elphie when I grow up, but the truth is that I'm already her.

Naturally I raced out during intermission (right after Elphie sings "Defying Gravity," my FAVORITE song) and immediately overspent at the merchandise kiosk, as I NEEDED more. And that's where today's lesson comes from, gentle readers. It pays to be a nice person. At the upstairs "Ozdust Boutique," I waited while an obviously tired clerk did his best to meet the demand for t-shirts, posters, and trinkets. I bought the hat, the glasses, the Grimmerie, and the photo book. He sensed my enthusiasm for the show (and probably noticed my puffy, bloodshot eyes from where I'd been moved to tears...for the 3rd time), and smiled. While he bagged and rang up my goodies, we chatted about what an amazing job the cast was doing, how FABulous the script and score are, and how glad I was to be there.

That's when he quietly asked "You know where the stage door, is right?" I didn't, but knew what it meant. Cast autographs. He gave me directions, and tips on catching the stars when they were out of makeup (Elphie is 6 feet tall, Glinda is a tiny little brunette with an Italian accent). I quickly found Scotty's mom, Sue, to tell her we had the inside scoop if she was willing to wait around a bit after the show. Armed with a pen in her purse and the soundtrack echoing in our heads, we headed out after the final curtain. Without too much trouble, we found the magical door...and a VERY gracious cast. We were there for about an hour after the show, waiting for the last of the talent to head out. Sue's eyes were glowing, my hands were shaking, and Dad and the boys were having fun watching us.

All because we took the time to be nice to the man behind the counter. Sometimes, it's important to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. So remember this as you go about your day: the "little people" matter too. Be nice to everyone. It is, after all, one of the themes of my new favorite musical. Sorry, Phantom.

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