Pantages Theater

April 21, 2007

April 21, 2007

The Pantages Theater
The Pantages Theater

“Wicked” is the perfect play for female friends (or sisters) to see together. I hadn’t read the novel the first time I saw it, so I knew nothing about the plot. If anything, I didn’t expect to enjoy it because it was a musical and songs rarely grab me the first time I hear them.  

Wicked - 2

What an amazing surprise! It hooked me from the first number, “No One Mourns the Wicked.” I’m not an Oz freak – haven’t read any of the books – but the humor, the sly references to the film, and the complex relationship between the female leads had me spellbound. It features one of the most spectacular act breaks I’ve ever seen. I wish I’d written it.

The spectacular act break.
The spectacular act break.

The Pantages – built in 1929 and art deco to the max – is the perfect venue. No matter what is playing there, its ambience feels primed for “Wicked.” Lori was a relatively new friend; Gail and I go back 48 years. Like any friendship of that duration, we’ve had our ups and downs. No wonder I’m always crying by the time they get to these lyrics from “For Good.”

Gail and I goofing off when we were (relatively) young.
Gail and I goofing off when we were (relatively) young.
Gail and I as somewhat older friends.
Gail and I as somewhat older friends.

And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done, you blame me for

But then, I guess we know there’s blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

And none of it seems to matter anymore

 

 

February 11, 1986

February 11, 1986

Vania Train Ride

Matt, John, Jim McCann, Me in Austria
Matt, John, Jim McCann, Me in Austria
Janet must have been taking all of the pictures in Austria
Janet must have been taking all of the pictures in Austria

Last year I wrote about one of the most magical days of my life, carnival in Venice on this same trip to Europe. Carnival in Munich was somewhat less spectacular. I was there with my sister Janet, her soon-to-be-husband Jim McCann, and brother-in-law extraordinaire Matt Rowell. I can’t recall why John didn’t go to Munich with us – he had a less than wonderful time back at the Sports Chalet in Austria where we stayed – a solitary dinner in a cabaret, surrounded by Germans laughing uproariously at jokes he did not understand.

Me (Jim McCann behind) freezing in Munich
Me (Jim McCann behind) freezing in Munich

There’s only so much eating and drinking one can stand, particularly when you’re the only one in the group who doesn’t drink alcohol. I really felt like shopping and Jani – with her razor-sharp sisterly instinct – said that proved that I was too consumer-oriented. Maybe she had a point; it bothered me shopping wasn’t an option. The fact that all the stores were closed – totally inaccessible – made the merchandise in their windows that much more attractive.

At the train station
At the train station

I didn’t carry my camera that day, but Janet was always ready to shoot.  Alongside the furious little boy hurling himself in the snow, there were scenes and still shots of startling beauty. Jim suggested Jani shoot a bicycle posed against the Munich city scene. We both subsequently enlarged the shot and it still hangs in my home. Simple but so evocative.

The Bike
The Bike

Trains– especially trains at night – exert their own magic. They suggest so many stories to tell.  Quite apart from their mood-inducing creative energy, the ease of public transportation in Europe – subways as well as trains – makes me long for the day it covers more ground in Los Angeles. In recent years, I discovered LA does have a Metro and the Red Line stops across the street from the Pantages Theater, my most frequent Hollywood destination. It’s so much easier than driving and parking in Hollywood, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Janet, Jim, Me, Matt, at Train Station in Munich
Janet, Jim, Me, Matt, at Train Station in Munich

 

Skip to toolbar