DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

Charlotte Vacation Day 2: The Three Phantoms...

We started our day off at our favorite coffee shop, where we entertained some women sitting outside and looking through the window at our laptop screens.

I caught up on my mail, checked out my LiveJournal friends page for updates, and had an AIM conversation with Robert.

There was a woman working there this morning, who was much more outgoing than the guy who was there last night.

I asked her if she was the owner, and she said that, no, she had been a stay-at-home mom for the last three years, and was just returning to the work world.

"Yeah," she said, "instead of returning to the rat-race of the corporate world, I decided to work here instead, doing something I like."

"Well, good for you. You're well-suited for this kind of work," I said, and she thanked me.

While there, we searched the Internet for "goings-on" in the Charlotte area this weekend, and on a community calendar came across:

Broadway Nights with the Three Phantoms
Featuring Craig Schulman, Ted Keegan and Cris Groenendaal with the Charlotte Symphony Pops Orchestra

By anyone’s definition Craig Schulman, Ted Keegan and Cris Groenendaal are among Broadway’s best, all having starred as the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Now they join together in concert as… The Three Phantoms. This exciting evening of music features solo numbers from the shows that made them stars, including songs from Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, and Phantom of the Opera.

I called the box office to see if there were any tickets available for tonight's 8PM performance. There were, and they ranged from $25 to $65.

Joe was willing to spend about $35, so I asked the person on the line, who was decidedly family, to describe the seating options and prices.

"The Grand Tier Circle seats are $65. Our Orchestra Seats are in three sections. Section A seats are $55, Section B seats, a little further back, are $45, and the Section C seats, a little further back yet, are $35."

I asked, "Is there a service charge to purchase on the phone?"

"Yes, $5.00 per ticket."

"What time is the box office open today?"

"I'm here right now, until 8:30PM," he responded.

Since we were about a mile away from the venue, we decided to save $10, and purchase them in person at the box office.

We arrived at the "Blue Menthol" Performing Arts Center, and after a little drama locating the box office.

We got in line behind the one person currently at the window, who took way longer to decide on some tickets than I had patience for. I'm ending this sentence with a preposition just to give it the edge it deserves.

Finally, he took his newly purchased tickets and stepped away.

I stepped up to the window, and said to the balding, rather rotund ticket agent, who had a large fever blister just below his lower right lip, "I just called, and we're interested in some of your $35 seats for tonight's performance."

He gave ua a very serious look, while he slowly moved his hand up to his face. When it stopped, his pointer finger alone stood up, just about at mouth level. It gave an impression of, "Stop right there," or "Just a second," not really close enough to his mouth for a "Shhh!"

While turning his head to look toward the back of the office, down a short hallway to where a colleague of his was working, he grabbed a ticket envelope, placed it in the little gully under the window, and fingertip-inched it toward my receiving hands.

I wondered if he was expecting me to slip him a bribe or something, and I opened the envelope to see what was up.

It contained two tickets to tonight's performance: Grand Tier Circle, Row B, Seats 122 & 123, $65, which were in the center of the theater.

I look at him with a stunned, and questioning look.

He said quietly, "Someone just turned them in. Enjoy the show."

After thanking him profusely, we walked away in disbelief, trying not to do cartwheels or scream like girls. Not that there's anything wrong with either one of those things.

On the way out of the little mall area we had entered to access the box office, we serendipitously enjoyed an orchestra of entertaining bears.

The Leonard Bearstein Orchestra

One of Charlotte’s favorite holiday traditions is returning to Founders Hall this holiday season. Leonard Bearstein and his animatronic orchestra will perform their 45-minute program of holiday music daily under hundreds of twinkling lights in Founders Hall.

This year's show offers a compilation of time-honored holiday classics, including: "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Jingle Bells," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Baby," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow," and many more.
Performance Times:
10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:00 pm. and 6:00 p.m.

For dinner, Joe made us some killer nachos in the room. After dinner, he played , and created a nice outfit for me to wear to the symphony. Of course, I'd only brought shorts, jeans, and t-shirts with me, and he did all he could to clean me up.

When it was all said and done, I gushed, "Thank you. I feel like Pretty Woman."

The concert was absolutely phenomenal.

The guest conductor of the Charlotte Symphony was quite a character, looking a bit like Albert Einstein, and at times waving his arms ferociously, while his head bobbed up and down, making the ends of his white hair look like they were floating back down to the sides of his head.

Albert-George Schram

During the course of the evening, each of the "Phantoms" sang various songs from Broadway shows, often ones that were from Broadway plays other than the Phantom of the Opera, but in which they'd also played a leading role.

After about the third song, one of them came out like he was going to sing his next piece, but put his hand up to sort of halt the symphony, covered his right eye intimating the Phantom's mask, and signaled to the pianist to start.

"Night-time, sharp-ens..." he started singing, acting as if he was trying to slip in the "big number" ahead of the other two Phantoms.

As soon as he got started, the other two Phantoms came running out on stage and stopped him.

This went on over the course of the evening, with the laughter starting as soon as the subsequent Phantoms eached "looked around" and then "put his hand over his eye."

It was all very amusing, and added to the anticipation of all three of them singing that song together at the end of the concert.

Not long after the third Phantom had done it, before starting a subsequent piece, the conductor stepped down, looked back and forth, put his hand over his eye, and started singing the song, too. It was hysterical, especially since his voice was so awful. On purpose I'm sure.

My favorite songs, other than the finale, were two songs by Ted Keegan: "On the Street Where You Live," from My Fair Lady, and "The Impossible Dream," from Man of La Mancha.

Without a doubt, the performance culminated in the final piece (before the encore) of all three performers singing "Music of the Night" together.

It was one of those rare moments in the theater when one is absolutely mesmerized, when one is thinking, "How can this sound be coming from human beings?" and one is sensing, "Something absolutely amazing is going on here." (The last time this happened to me was watching the Soweto Gospel Choir on February 1st of this year.)

As soon as they ended the last note, the crowd was on their feet. Bravo!

We got to the Eagle at close to 11PM. It was "Rugby Team Recruitment Night," and for the most part we were left alone.

The first time Joe walked by the table at which they had a sign-up sheet, they nabbed him, but once he explained that he was from out of town, they left him alone the rest of the evening.

We delighted ourselves in running another tab, closing tonight's out at $42. If nothing else, we're consistent.

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