November 14, 2012

Everything was beautiful at the Ballet.

     Tonight, I saw this Downtown Logan.
The ticket cost an arm and a leg, but do you know something?
It was the first big ticket I have ever bought for myself. And now, I can put that in my story--the one I told you I'd write.

     I drove downtown, and into a back alley parking lot. I looked up, saw a million glowing lights through the fog (doesn't there always seem to be fog?) from what I can only assume was an entire wall of dressing room windows. There was a man dressed in a full black uniform guarding the stage door, cigarette in hand. Smoke stacks were breathing heavy on top of the building, and I noted two fire escapes. I was completely alone in an alley, lit by the fluorescence of a few street lights and the glow of my own doe-eyed-disposition, swearing I'd somehow been transported to dark, damp New York City. The man gave me a nod, wished me a well evening, and pointed toward the back door where I could show my ticket and find my seat. As I walked in, I smoothed the pleats on my skirt breathing the air around me. It smelled like heavy pockets full of money. Even more-so, it smelled fur coats... but aren't they one in the same? I was shown the mezzanine, row BB, seat 21. I peeled off my coat and sat down, waiting for the house lights to dim, the way they always do. The pit hummed as the company entered the stage from every corner. I watched in silence, as if it were my first time in a big theater.

     Since the age of six, I have been a seasoned connoisseur of culture. My parents have taken me to countless symphonies, shows on and off Broadway, The Radio City Rockettes, the Louvre, and aided me through about a thousand dollars worth of piano lessons, which I complained about for all 12 years. When I was seventeen, they took me to a Russian piano concerto held at St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, Austria, and walked with me through Mozart's childhood home-turned-modern-art-museum. These are all experiences that reach the deepest parts of my bones,
tonight, I felt ecstasy. Real ecstasy. Something similar to that Bernini sculpture of St. Theresa, I'm sure. I've always wondered what that piece was all about, and, well, tonight, I get it. It was all richer, somehow. Maybe because I was excited to be alone. Maybe it was the fact that my menstrual cramps subsided to let me enjoy this, if only for two hours. Maybe it had everything to do with sacrificing half of November's groceries to do something just because I wanted to.
     As I sat, I noticed the coffers in the ceiling, outlined with gold trim and the gorgeous red-velvet seat beneath me, unarguably the most beautiful upholstery in town. In a small city just south of Preston Idaho, I felt another little piece of me fall into place.

     I guess I became a patron of the arts tonight--a patron! A title given to Pope Julius II and Catherine de Medici! And while that is all wonderful, I don't think it has much to do with why my high.

     This is my favorite number from A Chorus Line. Sung by Sheila, Bebe, and Maggie, it is heart breakingly beautiful. Life can be a crap shoot sometimes (like, for instance, bombing two tests two days in a row, or having to ride the shuttle around for the second time in one day), but everything is always beautiful at the ballet. My ballet was made manifest tonight, and oh, was it sensational. What's yours?

If you're wondering, YES, Sheila is being played by a (much younger version of ) Emily Gilmore which makes life even more fun.

Also, if you read this entire thing and getting to this point, congratulations. You're the most patient person in the whole entire world. 


  1. I totally knew we had a Gilmore on stage. She is fab. Also, so are you... so. that's cool.

  2. Wow. You just basically summed up my entire "other" life in the most beautiful depiction ever written of one's personal "Ballet". In my wildest dreams and les-be-honest, in my car as well, I fearlessly body jump from characters like Roxy Hart, Eponine Thenardier, Tracy Turnblad, Elphaba, and yes even Elle Woods hoping and praying in some form of reincarnation to one day be on stage and perform such beautiful music and lyrics. It’s a fantastic wish for me and a glorious reality for only a select, lucky few in this world. It’s safe to say that Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Fosse, and Stephen Sondheim do for me what van Gogh, Degas, and da Vinci continually do for you. It’s also the reason I can walk into the British Museum, find a seat, and take a cat nap the same night I throw a “Lindsay Lohan” level diva fit at the age of 27 because I wasn’t able to see Legally Blonde by myself . (It’s cool, I’ve accepted it) In a very non-spoiled way though, I’m so grateful for parents who knew the importance and value of culture and travel and the arts. Thanks to them for that! Love you and your beautifully inspiring words.


i like words. and you. write me a few?