Scene 1: Saturday morning, April 8th, 2000
We are up fairly bright and early, have breakfast, and send Rachel on her way to a day of photography in the city by the bay! Gail baked chocolate-chip cookies, we looked at MB and Ballfest photos, chatted, checked our email, found more amazing similarities that Gail and I share, (which seems to happen frequently at Ballfests) while John ran some errands and he and Merrill were their sweet, very patient selves, and as always, time just flew by.
The day passed amazingly quickly and then, suddenly, it was time to shower, dress, gather up cameras, photo albums, pens, badges, name tags, chocolate chip cookies, and some other little surprises for the "Care Package" we were putting together for Douglas and the cast of "The Scarlet Pimpernel."
Scene 2: Saturday afternoon
Off to the closest BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, a brief battle with the ticket machines and through the gates, up the elevator, onto the platform and in minutes, our train arrived! About an hour later, we arrived at our destination, dropped off a package of "Douglas Sills, Seattle's Favorite Veterinarian" campaign buttons at the stage door for the entire Scarlet Pimpernel cast, which DB had promised to deliver for us and that Estelle had so graciously sent along earlier in the week.
Estelle had hoped to be with us, but was unable to be, but we know she was with us in spirit anyway...and I want to take this opportunity to say:
THANK YOU ESTELLE, FROM OUR BAY AREA BALLFEST GROUP AND THE ENTIRE CAST OF "THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL."
The buttons were great and we all wore them to dinner and to the show. I even wore mine on the train, and we did get inquiries I can tell you!
Scene 3: Saturday 5 PM ~ Ballfest Dinner
Then across the street to the "Market Street Grill" at 1231 Market Street (Market & Eighth) right across the street from the theatre, in the Ramada International Plaza, where we hung out in the lobby for a few minutes until most of our group of 22 arrived! Everyone chatted, hugged, took pictures, greeted new arrivals, met new friends and some old ones, and M and I finally met the rest of our long-time Bay Area Ballfest pals - Jean, Terri, Liza, Kitty, Fiona, Joan (who I had met on Friday) along with assorted friends, relatives, co-workers, and if I do say so myself, we were one fine looking, happy, smiling bunch too!
Dinner was at five and included everything from salad to dessert, and was excellent, with plenty of time for sharing stories, passing out name badges, Ballfest buttons and "Douglas" buttons, taking more pictures, hugging, laughing, looking at Ballfest albums, and, once again, the time just flew, and we had just a short time to gather in the lobby for more group photos, and hurry along to the Orpheum Theatre in time for the 8 PM curtain.
A brief word with my concessionaire friend, who tells me "the kids" are expecting us. What we knew was that "the kids" had NO idea what we REALLY had planned, thinking that those badges were the BIG surprise! (Note: "the kids" are our newly "adopted" cast pals, William, DB and Matt.) Both Matt and DB had been in the Broadway and national tour casts of "Les Miz" with our very good friend, Seattle's own ~ Greg Stone!
Scene 4: The Orpheum Theatre 8 PM
We hurry to our seats in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rows, CENTER ORCHESTRA section.
THREE CHEERS AND A HUGE THANKS TO GAIL RIEGER for her hard work and dedication in making this possible for our group!
4.0 FOR A JOB OVER AND ABOVE WELL DONE!
Not only was it great for us, but for our friends in the cast as well!
We stash our purses, programs, playbills, bags, the "Care Package" and 11 dozen Red and White Carnations ~ only to move them all again when Rachel and I remembered that Douglas would be striding right in front of our first row seats in Act Two, and would most likely not be too happy were he to fall over all our assorted paraphernalia. (We, however, would not have minded at all ;-) except for perhaps spending the next couple of days in jail or the loony bin.
We see a brilliant red curtain adorned with a huge SCARLET PIMPERNEL
~* ~* ~* ~* ~* *~ *~ *~ *~ *~
(which is a cute little wildflower which grows in the United Kingdom - for those unfamiliar with the logo or the show. The overture begins, Douglas and William take their seats in a raised balcony section of the stage, and we are transported to post Revolution France, and have joined a world of guillotines, sword fights, and our hero, "The Scarlet Pimpernel."
Each of "the kids" gave us big smiles and a wink or two when they realized we were actually in the first rows - a fact that we "somehow neglected" to mention to them. :-)
I cannot possibly describe the show, the music, the cast, costumes, sets or the stars adequately except it was a truly unforgettable evening at the theatre.
Douglas Sills was his usual charming, gorgeous, hilarious self, William Paul Michal as Chauvelin was beyond fantastic as the bitter, spurned lover and villain of the show (think Javert in love) while Amy Bodner, (our feisty heroine) was quite excellent as Marguerite.
During intermission, several people signed my Ballfest autograph book, Merrill got me the window card I had been waiting to get at this particular show, and which features one gorgeous picture of Douglas and a full cast list. I got a real scare before the show, when the stand was temporarily out of those window cards, I can tell you!
The second act began, and was even better than Act One, I think. Douglas still drops in an unexpected ad lib or two, and it was such fun to see the show from this close...and having Douglas actually brush past within an inch of us near the end of the show...
The show was over much too quickly but our moment had arrived...
During the curtain call, with the entire cast on stage and amid a 100% total audience standing ovation, among cheers, whistles, bravos and screams of delight, and just before Douglas was to begin the BF/EFA announcements, our flower shower began. at first, and soon more and more and more...bunches of them, falling among and at the feet of that very surprised cast. Douglas was very obviously surprised and pleased, and the faces of the cast members, particularly our personal friends from the cast among them, were so priceless, so overwhelmed with happiness and delight that it certainly made our four months of planning worth every single second. For the cast members who were with the show since the first days in NYC, back in October, 1997, this was a familiar scene, for the others it was a first I think, but I am sure it will be something they will all remember!
BUNCHES AND BUNCHES OF THANKS TO TERRI AND LIZA FOR ALL THOSE LOVELY FLOWERS!
See Scene 5: The Stage Door on the next page please.