Well this week we had a real bona-fide date. Dinner at Hugo's- our favorite date night spot, and Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific at the Walton Arts Center. Now let me pause to thank this boy of mine for not only re-arranging his schedule so that we could do this, but let's be honest... showtunes don't really rank the highest on the "perfect man date" scale.
He didn't scoff at my choice of dates, in fact when I told him I got a ticket from the Walton Arts Center as part of a blog contest, he was very proud. He even put on a nice jacket, toted my tookus all over downtown, and opened doors for me all night. Though he wasn't singing along with me during the show, he's been breaking into a very over-zealous version of "some enchanted evening..." randomly since Intermission. I think that means he maybe dug it a little.
Mat wasn't familiar with the story, but I have loved it since I was a child. My mom, always the entertainer, was a choir director & choreographer when I was a child. This meant a lot of REALLY lame dance routines to go along with youth choir songs about loving your friends & trusting Jesus, I mean like serious jazz-hands kind of stuff... but it also meant some really fun and hilarious performances too. The most memorable one being the Honey Bun skit enacted by a group of high school seniors when I was 5 or 6. Its one of my fondest childhood memories, seeing my mom laugh and dance along with all of these kids... We grew up watching the movie and I've seen a couple of small theater productions, but wow- Last night was completely amazing.
Reading up on the show, the Lincoln Center's production won 7 honors at the 2008 Tony Awards, and I can believe it. It was incredible, it most definitely rose above all of my expectations. The characters could not have been more perfect, from Nelly's fantastic Arkansas accent (which the crowd of course LOVED!) to Bloody Mary's "stingy bastard!" and Billis' "Twirly Whirly" hips, it was just totally right.
Keala Settle as "Bloody Mary"
photo by Peter Coombs (taken from southpacificontour.com)
My favorite part of the show though was actually watching the woman in front of me... About 75-80 years young, she caught my eye because she reminded me of my Gram... beautiful, dressed very nicely with her hair perfectly curled, sitting with her daughter. She was obviously very excited about seeing the show and as it went on you could tell she was really enjoying it. Towards the end, she was singing along with every song. The smile on her face was just as big as springtime. She was 100% in the music, in the story... nowhere near Fayetteville Arkansas for the night. It was fantastic to watch. That escape, getting lost in the show... that's what its all about, isn't it?
I couldn't help but look over and smile at my boy. Maybe the vacation wasn't panning out like we hoped, but we certainly had an absolutely lovely night together. The music, the show, the dinner, the walk up Dickson Street... it was all just different. It was relaxation and excitement all wrapped into a completely unique experience for both of us. I'll spare you all cliche mentions of enchanted evenings, but I bet you can all guess what I'm humming today...