Is it possible that there’s such a thing as too much happiness?
I had to wonder when I showed up at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts last night expecting to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company, only to learn they are performing next Wednesday and Thursday night. Could it be that my performing arts plate is a tad too full?
Dance one night, music the next, and theater after that. I’m a glass half full (or more than half full) kind of a gal. So I choose to think of this as a welcome chance to give you a week’s notice that these exquisite dancers are coming to town. My “oops” can be your opportunity. Tonight I have tickets for Playing for Change at Mesa Arts Center. So if you run into me at Starbucks, be gracious and diplomatically point me east.
I’m still adjusting to the fast-paced nightlife of my new gig. My evenings used to be punctuated by lesser moments.
Take last night, for example. I found myself marveling at a remodeled bathroom. I headed to the ladies’ room at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale as I waited for Lizabeth to wrap an Oliver rehearsal. (The windows are still covered with adorable crayon-colored shoes from the Cookie Company run of Cinderella Confidential!)
You don’t have to hit a new show every night to know about Valley bathrooms and the performing arts scene. I’ve powdered my nose in closets, in basements, in pretty-darn-close-to-alleyways and more. Some of you might be thinking: That explains a lot. Be nice.
I’ve heard men whine about a line I can count with one hand (unlike the ladies room line, which requires a calculator). I’ve seen pregnant women barter for a better place in line (been there, done that). And I’ve seen some other things that I’d just as soon not share.
But last night I felt like Aida and Elle Woods all wrapped into one. Subtle grey tones. Elegant tile. Soap dispensers that rival my best lighting at home. I was in the new and improved Stagebrush Theatre, which is undergoing all kinds of improvements. Finally someone had the good sense to start with the ladies room. Other improvements—even tasteful landscaping—are on their way.
No matter. I will be fixated inside the ladies room by lighting that makes me look less than a century old. (If you’ve seen my Gammage Goer picture on the ASU Gammage website, you know just how priceless that kind of lighting can be.)
It occurred to us as we drove home that a blog devoted entirely to bathrooms might be too much. But what to blog about instead? Lizabeth suggested theater etiquette or, to be more exact, bad manners. So let’s riff with that. And please chime in below with a comment if you have a particular horror story (or a beautiful bathroom find) to share.
Lest you think I’m a real meanie for suggesting people leave their audible jewelry (oh trust me, we’ve heard some doozies) and Frito Lays at home, we’ll share these thoughts with a bit of whimsy ala some of our favorite shows. (I know, more made up spelling—but it’s my birthday, so let me have a bit of fun here. Plus, I don’t spell check on holidays.)
Les Miserables: Fond as we are of Les Mis, we don’t want to “hear the people sing” as your cellular phone ringtone.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Let younger audience members know ahead of time that Joseph is the one in the coat. (If you have to whisper who is doing what during the show, you didn’t do your homework.)
A Chorus Line: Love those kicks (I could do them 30 birthdays ago), but we’re less enamored with kicks that nail the back of our theater seats. (This is where Chyro Arts Venue, with their suave sofa seating, has a distinct advantage.)
The Lion King: These performers know how to make a grand entrance. But unless you have a massive wing span or walk on gigantic stilts, your fellow patrons would prefer you take your seat before the curtain opens.
South Pacific: Enchanted evenings rarely start with high-fashion flip flops. Unless you’ve just come from trying to wash a man right out of your hair, leave the island footwear at home.
Spring Awakening. If we wanted to watch young lovers neck, we’d sit front and center for the swing scene. When we’re at other shows, we can live without all that audience-member participation.
I’ll give it a rest now, since I have a full day of blogging business ahead of me. (I reserve the right to add more tips and quips as the day unfolds.) I’ll be writing a review of the Disney movie A Christmas Carol, which Christopher tagged along to see with me at Harkins Shea 14 yesterday (and adding some tips for where to see live versions of the Christmas classic this holiday season). I’ll be brushing up on my modern dance FAQs to prepare for next week’s review of the Paul Taylor Dance Company (and compiling a list of local modern dance resources to share with you as well).
I’ll also be doing a couple of interviews—one with a cast member from Little House on the Prairie, which is coming to ASU Gammage in early December as part of the Broadway Across America-Arizona series, and another with Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director for Valley Youth Theatre. Stay tuned for future blogs featuring tips for young performers from these and other pros.
I’m off to Starbucks to ponder which beans would best bolster the flavor of my birthday cake.
Note: If you happen upon my husband today, point him in the direction of Essence Bakery (near Childsplay’s Campus of Imagination and Wonder) or Arcadia Farms (near Stagebrush Theatre). Their desserts are to die for.