West Side Story- An Eastsider’s Big Night Out

5 06 2007

WARNING- This post has little/no spiritual depth or intellectual ponderings. I just had tons of fun and wanted to write out the story before I forgot it all.

Backstory- A few months ago I briefly dated a very talented musical theatre actor named John Scott. He had one of the leads in a show at the theatre where I worked and we hit it off. It didn’t last long- it was made very clear that this was not a good situation for me.Nevertheless, I still admire his talent and think that he is a pretty awesome person. Before we ‘broke up’ he was cast in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of West Side Story. This is a big deal for three reasons: 1) The 5th Ave is the most prestigious theatre in Seattle 2) It is the 50th Anniversary of West Side and theatres all over the country were trying to get the rights to it 3) they are using the original Jerome Robbins choreography and a 45 piece orchestra. So I bought opening night tickets.

The entire adventure started three months ago when I was buying the aforementioned tickets. Four of my favorite people in the entire world had agreed to cough up the $70 a piece and we got awesome seats. The group was to be myself, my psuedo-adopted little brother Jack, my dear friend Jessica, my wonderful friend Hilary and Zane, one of my best friends from high school. So the hunt for the dress began.

I can’t even tell you how many dresses I looked at, it was ridiculous. Eventually I settled on a black Grace Kelly dress with beaded accents. I got some lovely shoes (on sale) at Nine West and even bought new makeup for the event. (Hey if you are going to spend ridiculous amounts of money on something you might as well enjoy it.)

Oh! I nearly forgot… more back story. John played a character called “Hugo” in that play I mentioned earlier. It was his first lead role and so he wanted to buy his ‘Hugo jacket’ as a kind of inspiration. Well, I snuck into the costume shop and convinced them to sell it to me instead. I had it all planned- I was going to wrap it up and have it taken back to him on opening night of West Side. It was going to be wonderful and meaningful and I spend a ton of time fancy-wrapping it. Back to the story….

Last night at six o’clock Jessica (who came over to our house to get ready) realized that she left a vital part of her outfit at home. I had wanted to leave by 6:15… this was suddenly looking not possible. Anyway, she got it and the guys made it over. Jack volunteered to drive (that sainted boy) and we got on the road. We went and got Hilary who had spent the intervening time changing into a dress and pantyhose in the parking lot of her work. (!) We were finally on the road. 

Halfway into Seattle, amid hideous traffic I realize that I left John’s Hugo jacket at home. I couldn’t believe it. That boy is moving to New York City in a month, I haven’t seen him in two, probably won’t see him again and I left the jacket at home. Stupidity had reached a new height.

I got over it by the time we had reached the theatre and parked, though.

 The show itself was amazing. The sets, costumes, lights and choreography were all a theatre geek could wish for. I had one of my Moments during the dream ballet. Everything was so beautiful that I think my soul left my body from pure wonder. It kind of felt like my soul was stretched up and out trying out to get closer to the beauty.

After the show Zane and I were walking around the block to the stage door arm in arm and I was commenting about how I love linking arms. I said something about how it makes some people awkward when you walk really close to them. Zane said “Yes but I DID take you to all the high school dances.” This lady in front of us turned around and goes “Well done young man! She’s lovely.” ( ! ) She proceeded to thank me for dressing up to go to the theatre and we talked about how annoying sloppily attired theatre goers are. It was the nicest 3 minute conversation ever.

We all wandered around the block to the stage door, which is hidden in a really really long alley. A clean alley, but an alley nevertheless. John was talking to his family so we all hung out and chatted amongst ourselves. I struck up a conversation with “Maria”s brother; the biggest, blackest most engaging man I’ve ever talked to. Finally John was done with his ‘public’ so I made introductions and we all chatted for a while.

As we are all talking I sensed this huge movement behind me. I turned around and coming down the alley were literally 45 young teenagers (mostly girls). I looked at John like ‘what the heck are they doing’? He says “They’re here for Tony. I could stand here all day and they would never clue in that I was in the show.” At which point Maria’s brother (who overheard) goes “Hey girls! HE was in the show!!” and points to John. I think I got headbutted twice as these tiny little girls swarmed past me to get to John. Hilary, Zane and I just about died laughing.

After about 15 minutes the stage door opens and John, with this look of diabolical glee stage shouts “Hey girls! IT’S TONY!!!” It was a tidal wave of teenage hormones and John had the most comical look of relief on his face.

After snapping a couple quick pictures we all crammed back in the car and headed for that Mecca of Seattle dining- Dicks. That’s right, we went to Dicks in dress formals. It was awesome. The stoners kept asking us what the special occasion was. We got burgers and milkshakes and Hil gushed about how magnificent John is. I danced through the parking lot on the way out.

On the way home the full moon was shining over Lake Washington and over the best night I’ve had in a long time.




4 responses

5 06 2007
Jennifer James

That sounds so awesome. Are you going to get him his jacket somehow? I wish I had been there to dress up and eat dicks fries with you! How I miss them. I need a good picture of you and me to put on hte background of my computer. I love that you loaded more flickr photos! I miss you and ourparent and our house!

5 06 2007
Aaron James

Excellent story, excellently told.

5 06 2007

I love you guys! I’ll try and get a pic of me and Jen up there ASAP

5 06 2007
Jennifer James

YAY! I demand a good picture for my computer at work!

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