Sunday, August 19, 2007

Can you feel the love tonight?

On Tuesday night, we went to see The Lion King. The roving Broadway stage production, not the movie. That we could have seen from the privacy and comfort of our own home. I could have worn a fetching pair of shorts and t-shirt from my own 2007 Summer Collection and been oh-so-comfy, if not quite ravishing. No, this was the stage production and I will admit that when Jeff excitedly called me from the box office several months ago to tell me that he and Mark were buying us tickets RIGHT THEN, I was completely taken aback. For one thing, this buying tickets for some art-drama-dance related performance is completely out of character for him.

Secondly, this is a guy who is dying to see Van Halen recapture their former glory, so even through he had seen The Lion King in London and thought it was great, I thought his review was questionable at best. Because, honestly, take a look at these guys.

Also, for three small reasons, we don’t go out much. In fact, the last few times we have attempted to go out to dinner and a movie (woo-hoo!), we have only made it as far as dinner. Because we’re too tired, not because we don’t want to see the movie. So when we do something as unusual as purchasing tickets for an event, I like to get the biggest possible bang for my buck. For example, below is a list of events that I would leap up from my desk to buy tickets for:

Blue Man Group (
Cirque du Soleil (
The Charlotte Symphony (
Stomp (
Charlotte Bobcats (
Celtic Women (
Carolina Panthers (
Brian Regan (

I think I have a wide variety of interests from which to pick. Heck, I even wanted to attend the Bull Riding championships when they came to town earlier this year – it was essentially the bull riding Olympics and I thought it would be nothing if not a grand spectacle. Also, it involved an entire people group I don’t normally find myself mingling with and that intrigued me. Alas, we did not attend.

But Disney productions, you’ll note, appear no where in the list above. And this is why. I think on the whole that Disney productions reflect more their enormous bank account than they do actual talent – and I owned an annual pass to Disneyland for several years, so I’ve witnessed a fair amount of Walt’s magic. In this case, while the music itself was impossible to avoid, I’d never even seen The Lion King cartoon. And that was my biggest issue with these tickets my eager husband was buying. This whole stage production was based upon a cartoon. How good could it be?

As the time drew near for us to attend this ravishing spectacle, I grew more and more apprehensive and for two very good reasons:

1. I had nothing to wear.

2. We were going with a couple I didn’t know that well. Mark, I had met at Jeff’s office a couple times. Amy, I had never met. Why was this a problem? See number 1. Also, I realize I come across as grossly extroverted, but in my heart of hearts, I’m actually remarkably shy and insecure and it stresses me out to have to make conversation with people I don’t know over really expensive food. The right outfit is critical because it helps me project a confidence I may not be feeling and well, you know, it helps preserve the fraud.

Worse, I had apparently tried to mentally block out the whole upcoming evening because at no point did I write it on any calendar in our home. So when Jeff returned from his trip around the world, I was shocked to discover that the event was a mere two nights away. Not only had I not come up with anything to wear, but we didn’t have a babysitter either. 10 fruitless calls later it was hard to decide what to be more distressed about.

Fortunately, the wife of one of Jeff’s colleagues from work took pity on us and showed up to tend the Freshour flock. And about an hour or two before our scheduled departure, Jeff reminded me that Amy is 8 1/2-months pregnant and that Mark had said that it was slim pickings in her closet as well. That kind of snapped me out of my wardrobe fixation. Because we were really just going out with another set of tired parents, who had probably had their own set of babysitter issues, and I know were equally concerned about what to wear because Jeff's girlfriend, Mark, HAD ACTUALLY CALLED JEFF THE NIGHT BEFORE TO DEBATE TIE OR NO TIE! I find that funny. It’s a conversation Amy and I should have had.

Dinner at the Capital Grille was delicious. Mark and Amy are delightful and it was a very enjoyable time. Most importantly, I believe all 4 of us were dressed appropriately, if not similarly. Amy and I both broke a key southern etiquette dictum and wore black…in 94 degree weather. But it was a whole 9 degrees lower than it had been the week prior so it felt almost balmy.
And The Lion King…well Jeff was right after all. It was genuinely good. Spectacular really. I couldn’t help but think all the way through the first act how surprising it was that a performance of its caliber could be found right in my own town. Charlotte is the smallest, sleepiest city I have lived in for the past 15-years or so, and I still think of it as kind of red-necked. Sure, our red-necks are highly educated and generally quite wealthy, but their vernacular generally does not support that reality.

The singing was the weakest link, but the costuming and staging were nothing short of phenomenal and I was quickly transported back to Kenya. My absolute favorite scene was one in which the wildebeest migrate…and consequently kill Simba’s dad, but I was so mesmerized by how creatively and authentically the migration was portrayed that I kind of missed the moment there. Also, the puppets on bikes reminded me of the little street kids in Nairobi and their cleverly crafted wheeled toys. I was even drawn in by the music. For some reason, in that environment, it seemed to have more depth of meaning than it does played repeatedly over the commercial air waves. I really listened to the words and music and didn't just think: Elton John - Lady Diana - Elton John -Lady Diana. Tim Rice I now believe is a truly insightful lyricist. One stanza in particular I found so relatable that I am going to call up my friends at Wonderful Graffitti ( and have it made for our bedroom in their flashy vinyl. Because it fully expresses how I feel about my relationship with my sweet, thoughtful husband who in that brief moment of at the Blumenthal box office proved on some days he clearly knows me better than I know myself. And that’s pretty high praise for a production I didn’t even want to see.

1 comment:

  1. I thought for a minute that was me typing about the nothing to wear, having to have dinner with people I rarely knew thing. My husband very rarely does things like this either, but if he did, I'm sure it would be with people I didn't know.