This was it. This was the night. Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (Remember that date; it’s important to what I’ll soon reveal.) All the plans that had been in motion since early October 2016 had all been leading up to this very evening.
I’ll get around to why that wasn’t true after all. But hang with me here. As far as we knew, this was to be the climax. And it was, but just not quite in the way we’d been anticipating.
Recounting the earlier hours now, we kept the afternoon low-key, knowing we’d need our energy for evening. After a few hours of resting…
The chicas and their mamas were ready. First, to Volare.
Though we did not have 100 percent agreement on our Thai night, the evening previous, no one complained about Italian fare. Again, our evening eatery was within walking distance from our hotel…
And the experience was wonderful from beginning to end. I can still taste my scrumptious entree, not to mention the delicious salad that preceded it.
We also shared homemade gnocchi, and went crazy over the focaccia bread. The wait staff was attentive and cheerful – so fun!
It wasn’t until after dinner, as we were leaving, that the shift started.
We had no idea what was coming, but the stress had begun. Something had been left back at the hotel, so one mama went one way, the rest of us, the other, but parting with a lack of time seemed risky. The walk to the Private Bank Theater was not as smooth as the walk to the restaurant. We had to stop and ask for directions a few times, and sweat beads began accumulating.
Finally, the five of us on foot arrived; the other would join us momentarily. Whew! We’d made it!
Or so we thought. It wasn’t long before we were being called by theater personnel to dig out our tickets to prepare to present them to the ticket taker. Ours had been printed out beforehand, and tucked away somewhere safe. But it had been a while since the sheet had been referenced.
And that’s when the nightmare started. “Wait now, why does it say Tuesday, May 30, on this?” I asked, examining the print-out. Sadly, my eyes had not deceived. The date of this big event had gotten mixed up in our planning. Wednesday had been thrown out at some point, and so that’s what we’d be going with in filling out details. Was this really happening?
I’ve detailed the next nightmarish moments — and what came before them — in my June 17 “Living Faith” column for our daily newspaper, The Forum. Let’s just say this is a story we will tell our grandchildren someday. You’ll want to read it before going on. Really. Ugh…
In the end, though, after so much consternation, this:
It took us mamas through at least intermission to recover from the upset. At least. We may still not be completely over what happened, and how it affected our daughters — and us. There’s been a lot of processing, and rethinking those two days in Chicago when everything was mixed up, even though we were mostly oblivious until the moment just before curtain call.
But in the end? Gratitude, and lots of it.
I’ll never forget when the mama I was sitting with nudged me at the start of the show, as we were getting seated, to tell me where the other four (we did have to split up, 4 and 2) were sitting. The “Dress Circle,” as it is called in theater lingo. None of us had ever heard of this term before, but we knew it by sight. Our girls, after a big upset, and almost not getting in at all, had ended up in some of the most exclusive seats in the house.
At intermission, I was able to get a few shots of the grateful gals from their perch…
And some of the theater in general. What an impressive building!
After intermission, I switched with the mama who’d started out with the girls in the Dress Circle. From there, you could seriously see the actors’ spit. It was an incredible vantage point. But there was a section of the stage that was blocked from this spot, so the other set of seats, though further back, were more central and still very good.
We were not going to complain. For the longest 15 minutes of our lives, we six thought it was over, and that the rest of our trip would be spent grieving our near-tragic mistake. Instead, pure relief…sincere applause…
and plenty of smiles post-show.
This lady got a hug from me. I believe she was the house manager that made the final decision to allow us entry. Angel in disguise!
As he was locking up the place, I heard this guy mention that some of the actors would be out in the alley next to the theater.
So we stayed around, long enough to have our playbills signed by a few of the dancers (who were incredible by the way)…
And two of the main actors, including the guy who played Alexander Hamilton’s son…
Finally, out came the main man himself, Mr. Hamilton, A.K.A. Miguel Cervantes.
Our experience this evening turned a bit harrowing, mixed with some spurts of elation, and everything in between. It was beyond memorable, and we now have a tale that will burn in our hearts for so many reasons beyond this summer, and many to come.
Q4U: When did a near-miss throw you into a panic, only to turn out well in the end?