Monday, December 15, 2008
This last week I went to the American Seed Trade Association meetings in Chicago and I thought it funny to see this "American Gothic" statue. I don't think it was there because of the meetings, but I certainly felt like a hick in the big city. I have been three times, but the last two times spent most of my time in the hotel because it was freezing colds with strong winds. This year the temperatures were mild, for Chicago, with no winds and so I spent quite a bit of time wandering downtown.
Unfortunately most of the meeting entertainment consists of drinking as much free and overpriced booze as possible. Since I don't drink, the last two years I went and made small talk while stirring my coke and looking at my watch. This year, I was determined to escape the conference and hotel functions and see the city.
We went to Billy Goat's - the source of the Cub's curse and inspiration for a classic SNL skit, and wined and dined customers at a swanky steak/seafood place.
I couldn't talk anyone into coming with me to Wicked though. So I went alone. It was a toss up between Wicked and the symphony orchestra, but Wicked was easier to find and something out of the ordinary. It has a huge sign and a crowd of people milling about buying tickets. I was told it had been running for a couple of years but still sold out most weekends. I got the cheapest tickets I could find - 2nd to the last row upper balcony for the Thursday night show. My seat wasn't too bad though. The theater is taller than it is long and so the balcony seats, although high above the stage weren't that far away and the view was unobstructed. After talking to the 80+ year old usher during intermission about growing up as a sharecropper in Alabama and the election of Obama, she let me move to first row balcony - the best seats in the house.
The show was good. (Way, way better than being the sober guy in a cocktail lounge) The music was very lyrical, but not as melodic as I was expecting. I hadn't heard any of it before and knew next to nothing about the plot. The white witch was hilarious as a self centered blond seeking attention. She stole the show. The costumes were amazing and the lighting and sets were as good as special effects in the movies. The wizard was disturbingly orwellian in his persecution of the talking animals as a means to maintaining his power.
I felt a little lonely when I stood in line to get my ticket and ate dinner alone, but it was well worth it. It made a great end to the trip. Next time I will have to talk someone into coming with me to some other show. Or I will go by myself. I didn't realize till after I had my ticket in hand that there were like 6 other theaters on that street. One had "The Christmas Carol", another had a Shakespeare play, some lesser known musicals, and two concerts. "Wicked" just had the biggest sign.