Cabaret Trip: January 16, 1999

I have returned from my trip to New York to See Cabaret. I only live 2 hours away so it didn't take all that long to get there, but we still left extra early because I didn't want to take the chance of missing it. Linda and I arrived around 10:30 and quickly found the theater and were even happier to find parking right next door. We met up with our friends Jana and Chad who were coming with us and hung out until 1:00 when we could get into the theater.

As we walked in, I quickly snapped a picture of Alan's poster hanging in the entranceway and as we walked through the lobby, I checked out the cast changes to make sure that HE would be there. There was no mention of a substitute, but I wouldn't be satisified until I actually saw him on stage. We were shown to our seats down in the left orchestra section (a table on the aisle) and we sat and checked out the rest of the theater and ordered some food and drnks and anxiously waited the beginning of the show. None of us had been there before, and I only know the show from the CD (which I have been faithfully listening to for 6 long months now--yes, I bought these tickets in June of 1998) so I was so very excited to see the show.

After the Kit Kat Girls did their warmups and then left the stage, the lights dimmed, there was a drum roll, and suddenly--- there he was, peaking through the door. I knew instantly that it was he (Linda was still doubtful at this moment) but I would recognize those eyes anywhere! Then, the door opened a crack and there he was beckoning for us to come in.........and then there HE was!! He struted out onto stage (in a way that only Alan can) and began "Willkommen" which of course I know by heart now. It was really Alan! Not anymore than 20 feet away from me! On stage! Performing! It was exhilarating!

Of course, Alan's performance was superb. I had to force myself not to watch just him the whole time. I loved his bit during "It couldn't Please Me More"-- he is so awesome. I can completely understand now why he won a Tony. His facial expressions are right on and he has a keen sense for when he needs to be the center of attention and when he needs to hold back and blend in.

Moving on............intermission arrives and I start to feel a bit nervous because I know that audience participation time is coming soon. We are sitting in a prime position to be chosen so I'm making sure my hair looks good and that i can be seen when he walks off the stage. Suddenly, he appears and announces that its audience participation time. He coyly walks off the stage in our direction and I'm trying like crazy not to seem too anxious but also ready to be picked. He saunters down our side of the aisle, walks past Linda (oh, no) walks past me (arrghh!) and turns to a woman who is sitting on the other side of the aisle from us, about one table back. He turns his back to me (he was not very far away at all--I could have reached over and touched him) and says to this woman "Come with me!" Meanwhile I'm saying to myself "No.......... He's supposed to pick me!" Anyway.... this woman is shaking her head no, and Alan is telling her that he is never refused and that she must come with him but this crazy woman is adament about not going up with him. He finally grabs her arm, but she has wrapped her legs around her chair by this point and he ends up pulling her (and her chair) right into the middle of the aisle!

So, by this time, Alan gets the picture and gives up. He turns around and who is the first person he sees?! Sadly, not me, but Linda! So, he grabs Linda's hand and says "Oh, you'll do" and proceeds to pull her up on stage. He grabs her by the waist and pulls her in real tight (Linda said that she could feel EVERYTHING) and starts to dance with her. He asks her what her name is and she tells him and he turns to the audience and says "Oh, she's a cute one!" So, then he asks if she's here with anyone and she smiles real big and says "I'm here with my friends Beth and Jana and Chad." So, Alan puts his hand over his eyes and starts searching the audience for us and says "Hello...where are you? Wave so I can see you." So, I'm practically out of my chair waving my arm so hard, thinking the whole time "Yes, Alan is looking for me!" He sees us and waves back and then turns to Linda and asks, "Do you like sandwiches?" Linda says yes, not quite understanding what he means and Alan says "Oh, good." Linda finally understood what he meant and laughed and then he thanked her and let her leave the stage. Of course, then he went off to the other side to find his male dance partner but I think we missed that whole bit because my whole table was spazzing out. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that one of us would actually get chosen! Wow!

So, the second act was just as wonderful. Alan got a standing ovation (of course) and I think we were the last people to leave the theatre because I really didn't want to go. I was completely prepared to sit back down and watch it again at the evening performance, but, sadly, we did not have tickets for that performance. So, we left and did some sightseeing and what not around New York.

Linda and I had already planned to return after the evening performance to wait by the stage door for Alan. I was really hoping our friends would come with us (basically, I wanted a photographer for the roll of film that I was prepared to spend on Alan) but since they're not nearly as enthusiastic about Alan as Linda and I are, they opted not to come back with us.

So, at 10:35 PM we arrived at the stage door to meet Alan. There were already 2 girls and a guy standing there waiting so we stood on the other side of the doorway from them so we could be as close as possible. My big fear was that he was going to come running out and hop into his car and get away before I could get a picture or, even worse, that I wouldn't recognize him. As we waited, some of the other cast members came out, but none of them stopped to sign autographs or anything so I didn't bother any of them.

Then, suddenly, he appeared out the door. I recognized him instantly. He looked so cute! He was wearing a little white hat that was pulled down over his ears, a yellow scarf tied around his neck and a black leather coat. Unlike the other actors, Alan paused beacuse he knew that he was going to have to sign something or smile at somebody's camera. So, Linda, being the brave one of the two of us, took a step forward and asked for his autograph. Meanwhile, I stood there in a small state of shock, grasping my Bic pen in my hand, kinda staring at him (I'm sure he's used to this by now). So, Linda snatches the pen out of my hand, hands Alan her playbill, gives me her camera, and I wake up from my semi-daze. Meanwhile, I hear Linda saying to Alan "You danced with me during the matinee performance" and Alan pauses and looks at her and smile and says "Oh, so I did!" Linda asks for a picture and I take this as my cue to get the camera ready, so I'm checking to make sure the lens cap is open and the flash is ready and I look through the little viewfinder and see Alan's arm around Linda's shoulder and she's got her arm around his waist and I realize ALAN IS LOOKING RIGHT AT ME! Of course, I took my time getting the picture just right before I snapped the photo. Next thing I know, all the other people who had been waiting by the stage door rush over to Alan to get pics and autographs. One girl gave him white roses.

Linda and I meanwhile were switching cameras so I could get my picture with him too. I had bought a Cabaret poster at one of the souveneir shops so I was gonna have him sign that. So, I wait my turn and he turns to me and I give him my pen and hand over my poster. But, I could see that he was struggling with it cause it's not the easiest thing to write on so I held onto one side of it to help balance it. I figured I had to say something to him so I said "Oh, this is so awkward to write on isn't it?" and he nods and says something (which of course in my Alan-induced haze I missed) but it was something that agreed with my statement. Just as he finishes signing his name (BTW--he has a wonderful can actually tell that it says Alan Cumming) I start to ask him if I can get a picture and mid-sentence I hear the click of my camera and see the flash and realize that Linda has already taken the picture! Alan hands me my poster and pen back and smiles at me and says "It looks like you just got it." I have to admit that I was disappointed that I didn't get to have Alan's arm draped around me for a picture, but it's better than nothing. So, Alan continued to sign some more autographs and I took my camera back and got a couple more shots of him before he got into his car and was driven away. Linda and I watched his car go down the street and then (I kid you not) the crowd by the door totally dispursed. We were gonna wait for JJL too, but we kinda forgot about her in all the excitement so we walked back to the car and reveled in our good luck. My one consolation is that I got a better signature than Linda did.............but I think that dancing with him and having a really good picture with him beat that. But, there's always next time.