While we were in California, ready to attend another theatrical performance, I got a text from Kaela asking if I'd like "to go, like we talked about on Valentine's Day"....I was so confused as she never told me what she was inviting me to attend. A question resolving text later, it was clarified that I was being asked if I'd like to see "West Side Story" with Christi and Heather as we had talked about wanting to see it when we were on our Valentine's Day walk. Despite the fact that I've seen it at least a couple of times previously, it's one of my favorite musicals, so I was really excited. It's funny how that date seemed so far away, and now, here I am, blogging about it.
We were able to bring Heather in to the date too - so the plan was to meet up at Christi's home and walk from her house to lunch downtown, and then on to the Hult Center nearby.
Christi and Tyler's town house that they rent is absolutely adorable. And, the way she's already decorated it is so adorable- so classically Christi - beautiful, warm, inviting, classy....
Despite living in Eugene/Springfield almost my entire life, I've never really embraced the downtown community - (which is really trying to build itself up...it's been lacking a lot of charm for many, many years). So, it was a new experience for me to walk through the streets - several blocks from her home to arrive at a restaurant the ladies were excited to eat at, "Sweet Basil".
"Sweet Basil" is a Thai restaurant and the girls were very sweet in asking me first if I'd be okay with it, knowing I'm not much of an ethnic foods eater.... (I can't imagine where my kids get their picky eating from!!!). I told them I was along for the ride, and as long as there was a choice that wasn't too spicy (which is not a picky thing, just a "I-can't-handle-it" thing). This is what I ended up with- I can't remember what it's called, but it was tasty. I think everyone else enjoyed their entrees too. However, I found the atmosphere to be absolutely empty...our family (particularly John and the kids) are so influenced by the "feel" of the restaurant - much more than the taste of any food pick. We are definitely not "foodies" - but more "experience" when it comes to dining out...
This is the reader board at the the Hult Center, our community's performing arts center. I made a point of catching the title of what we were going to see, but I thought it was worthwhile catching a pic of the temperature of this day in April....ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!! I think it made it to 70 by the afternoon...one of the best spring break weekends we've ever had.
We finished our meal faster than expected, so we had time to relax before the musical began. We just basked in the sun and caught up on each others' lives.
When we finally decided to walk inside - we were approached by a well-dressed gentleman who offered to give us four tickets (for free). We thanked him for the offer and replied that we already had tickets, but then, knowing our seats were in the "nose-bleed" section, suggested that maybe we ask where his seats were located. Sure enough, they were a lot closer than ours were, so we took them with gratitude and promised to do our best to return the favor by giving away the tickets we had purchased. He was happy to just "do something" with those un-used tickets. Sadly, as hard as we tried, no one else we encountered needed tickets, and with such a short time before the musical began - we couldn't find anyone to give them to. We tried....
We realized after the fact that the tickets were split in to two sets of two, but it was still worth splitting up and seeing the performance up close than being together way up high and way, way back. Kaela and I took the Orchestra Level seats, while Heather and Christi were in the first row in the first balcony. I think the two sets of seats were pretty similar in terms of view....which was excellent.
This is the view from where we sat:
So, with as great as our view was, I wish the performance was better. This was the least favorite version I've seen. Mom and Dad had seen the same version the year prior up in Portland (and were also in the audience a few rows back from us at this one) - and had warned me that a lot of the singing was done in Spanish. That was a bit distracting, but I expected it. However, they also changed the order of the songs - and turned things a lot edgier. One scene in particular exhibited violence against a female character that I did not see coming. It wasn't overtly graphic, just really disturbing.... Kind of disappointing as you have to wonder what the purpose was in needing to make these kind of changes to such an epic musical.
All in all, though - it was a very special day. Despite any let down of the performance, - for me - that's not what the day was about - it was instead just the honor of spending time with three very amazing ladies that I adore.