Debbie (debmats) wrote,

  • Music:

Les Mis

Several months ago, trektone asked me if I would be willing to take a mysterious trip somewhere for my birthday. I might need my passport. And that's all he said. HMMMM...

Time passed. Was I free to fly on Friday, September 2nd? Come back on either Saturday or Sunday?

He finally told me that we'd be flying to DENVER, CO to see



Oh, and by the way, this was to be the Les Mis: The BackStage Experience. We'd get a tour backstage prior to the show and then I'd get to watch the show from backstage and follow around and "assist" one of the stage managers =) HEEE!

Joey had won a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids auction and he was giving it to ME! More SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!

I'd been told that I'd need to wear black and that the shoes needed to be closed toe also. So Thursday night, I folded my laundry (did it on Wednesday) & packed my backpack. Black comfy boots. Black pants (I checked as I had washed both the black and the navy blue pants). Black shirt...

Friday morning, I was out the door by 7:15, at the airport by 7:30 and through security by 7:45. Waited by the food court for Joey. We ended up having breakfast at Max's. The nonstop flight to Denver was uneventful - I slept through most of it as usual.

Super Shuttle from the airport to Courtyard Marriott. Our room was on the Courtyard side, so the light was sort of funky. This is when Debbie had am OMG ACK fit from thinking that she'd packed the wrong colored pants. Part of the problem was the way the room was lit. The other is that my jacket, shirt and pants were different shades of black, the pants being the lightest. After checking the pants in the bathroom light, and getting confirmation from Joey that they were indeed black, I calmed down. For a while at least.

We walked down to Taste of Colorado. Saw a place selling "Chocolate Dipped Spanked Bacon". Okay. Didn't try any as we were planning on having an early dinner. Uh huh. That's my story and I'm thinking to it. Corn, ribs, fruit kebabs and lots of drinks. Yes, it was HUMID and high eighties. My body strongly informed me that I needed liquid with leg cramps. Ouch ouch ouch. Lovely.

It was raining while we walked to Rioja for dinner. Joey quizzed our server on the food choices. Sangria! Red (red wine, marinated fruit, brandy, crème de cassis) and White (Peach Schnapps!) YUM! We started with the rioja “picnic”, a trio of artisan meats, warm pine nut crusted goat cheese, Italian Mountain gorgonzola, olives, truffle fennel salad, orange confit, almonds. I had the rioja house salad (baby arugula, Medjool dates, gorgonzola, toasted almond vinaigrette) and Joey got the English pea risotto, crispy smoked duck leg confit, pea mascarpone purée. (nasturtium, sugar snap-pea salad, lemon vinaigrette)

I got the seared ahi tuna with figs stuffed with an herbed marscopone (tasty) and falafel with cardamon (weird, but tasty?). Joey had the Colorado lamb two ways (grilled t-bone, house made lamb merguez sausage, crisp couscous pillows, caramelized fennel,tomato coulis, preserved lemon yogurt)

Dessert was the sampler plate (blackberry sorbet, lemon-yuzu sabayon tart (pine nut cornmeal crust, lemon confit), "whopper" torte (crispy malted shortbread crust, chocolate flan, caramel mousse, malted anglaise) and some sort of cheese cake). Oh, and sour cherry gelato *YUM*.

Walked over to the Performing Arts Center. During this time I still wasn't 100% sure that my pants were black... After a bit of "let's confuse the ushers", we were directed to the Stage Door and connected with Mitchell Hodges, one of the Stage Managers. There are 3 - Mitchell, Heather and Trinity.

One of the first things we saw was the message board. On it was the info for "At this performance #313, Friday, September 02, 2011 8:00pm". A few items on the list: Jean Valjean: M.McVey out, J.Tokarz on. Gavroche: C. DePaula (he was a cutie!). Calling SM: Trinity Wheeler. Conductor : Bob Billig

The final item on the list? "We have a Broadway Cares Backstage Experience Winner tonight. Her name is Debbie. She'll be trailing Mitch. Please say hello!" hee!

So we got a tour backstage - some stuff on the ground, other stuff hanging in the air until they're needed (the cart that Valjean lifts off the villager is one) Parts of the bridge, the barricade in many pieces (they get fit together like a jigsaw), a table for props (wedding cake, candlesticks, dead birds and onions for the inn). All the cameras (mostly above), the communication boards, the costumes (it's just one long row in the back). Checked out the orchestra pit. It was truly fascinating - and the show hadn't even begun.

Got to watch the fight run throughs. They do them daily - partially because they've got different people playing different parts and partially to keep everybody sharp.

It was an AMAZING experience. I got to watch and listen to the show from backstage (sometimes from on top of barricade!!!!!). I "helped out" by shining flashlights so the actors didn't fall as they exitted the stage, got to push da button that brought down the cart and signal Gavroche to wait and then go after he sang his death song. Got to light the torch for Javert (Andrew Varela, he was very sweet) without lighting his eyebrows on fire, and I even got to help put in a fastener or two to put the barricade together. Hee!!!

When Valjean sang "Bring Him Home", I was less than 10 feet away. Javert's suicide was amazing to listen (less than 10 feet away) and see. Got to watch the "buggy" aka mini forklift move behind him, hook up and then when the bridge breaks apart and Javert jumps - OH! T'was truly cool!!!

At intermission, there was a meet with da cast and pictures (but it was truly too dim for my camera *sniff*) Wow!

I had a blast! Much thanks to the cast, Mitch, Heather, Trinity, Gary and Ryan for a most wonderful time and for being patient with moi (who had never been backstage before and had no idea what to do)

I did get a program. I also got a candle tied with a red, white and blue ribbon which had been used in that evening's performance and Betsy Morgan (Fantine), not only signed the "letter that Fantine received from the Thernardier's" but left a lipstick kiss on it. =)

I bounced back to the hotel (hee!) and we yakked until after midnight.

Saturday, I received a call at 9am Denver (8am CA) time from da kidlets, K & G. They sang Happy Birthday very loudly - in English and then a second version in Spanish. Then I got a silly version sung by Joey. *weg*

There had been thoughts about going back down to Taste of Colorado, but I was feeling lazy, so I napped until 11am.

Checked out by noon, had lunch at the Rialto in the hotel. Joey got the bison meatloaf (covered in bacon). I got the crab cake benedict.

Super Shuttle back to the airport. I slept the Denver to Burbank leg, but was awake the entire Burbank to Oakland leg. Picked up the car and drove to Seoul Gom Tang for dinner. Yum. Seafood tofu kimchee soup. Kimchee, turnip, green onions, cucumbers sides, seafood pancake. HUGE dumplings. Ugh. full.

Dropped Joey off, then was home by 10.

Checked. I had taken the black pants. The navy blue ones were on the couch.


Thank you, Joey!!!!

ETA 09-05-11 4:41pm: Here's Joey's post.
Tags: birthday, friends, les mis, travel

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