First of all, huge shout-out to MyTix, which gives people ages 18-30 or who are active duty members of the armed forces access to crazy discounted tickets to performances at the Kennedy Center.
These are not some dinky $2 discounts, either. You can see shows at something like 75% off the regular ticket price, in really great seats, for really amazing shows. You can look at a show and see that tickets cost $50-$150 depending on your seats, but then buy them on MyTix for about $20.
What’s the catch?
You might have to fight for these tickets.
To the death.
My friend Annie told me that the NSO Pops was doing a tribute to musical theater duo Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (you may know them from their most famous musical, Les Miserables) featuring the flawless Lea Salonga (you may know her as the singing voice of Disney’s Jasmine and Mulan).
For a measly $19. Say what?! Pause that spending freeze, I needed to get in on this.
Tickets for “Do You Hear the People Sing?” went on sale for MyTix members at 10 AM. So you best believe I was on the website at 9:55, ready to refresh at a moment’s notice. I was armed and ready. I had coordinated with Annie so that my seat was next to hers when…
… I never got a ticket confirmation. I looked at my ticket page and the ORDER DIDN’T GO THROUGH. Panic mode engaged.
I must have typed in my credit card number wrong (typical) and luckily for me, my seat was saved. I made it. I did not think I would ever be able to afford Kennedy Center tickets before a more respectable age but here I was, going to my first show at this amazing venue.
First of all, there is a free shuttle that goes to the Kennedy Center, and on the shuttle ride I was able to listen to classical music and smooth jazz. I mean, honestly, I could’ve just sat on that shuttle bus and rode around DC if not for how crowded it was.
Second of all, the venue is spectacular. I didn’t manage to snap a photo of the main hall, but there are flags on either side and a paper cut art installation at the end when you walk in:
The show itself was so marvelous. It was so well-structured, the transitions were done very nicely. The orchestra was, of course, superb, as was conductor Steve Reineke.
But let’s talk about the ineffable Lea Salonga for a moment. Oh Lea. There was so much talent on that stage over the course of the show but Lea demonstrated the best vocal control up there. In my head, I reasoned that these other Broadway stars were just intimidated being in the presence of Lea Salonga because, well, I would! Save for Terrence Mann, who is such a seasoned performer that he doesn’t need to feel nervous around anyone ever, the other singers didn’t seem to have the same control of their voices that Lea did: strained verses, losing control and going sharp, little things that I’ve come to expect Broadway performers to not do. No one is perfect, so I don’t think I really would have taken notice if Lea Salonga wasn’t so incredible and on her game. (But I’m a biased fangirl. What do I actually know?) (Answer: Nothing. I don’t know anything. What is a blog?)
Boublil and Schönberg are best known for Les Mis as well as Miss Saigon, two shows that I would say Lea Salonga is also best known for starring in, so our tribute concert began with some pieces from Miss Saigon, came around with La Révolution Française and The Pirate Queen, and finally indulged us with Les Mis.
What I really loved about the show was the insights to each musical and song that we got. It wasn’t just “Here’s a song from Miss Saigon, enjoy!” Someone on stage (the maestro or one of the singers) would explain the context of the writing of the musical, the context of the song within the musical, the background of the singer performing, and more. Truthfully.. <leans in close> I’ve only seen Les Mis. But I could still appreciate that a naïve 17-year-old Lea Salonga was taught how to make love to a man onstage by her male director for Miss Saigon. And that The Pirate Queen was conceptualized after a suggestion from Riverdance.
The entire program was excellent, marvelous, spectacular, magical. The best part was at the end. We had this amazing surprise:
Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg came out!!!
Literally, I gasped in unison with the theater. We did not expect the composers themselves to be there! They popped out for just a brief moment and then ducked back out, but I mean… I actually stopped breathing. What a surprise. Their music brought us all here, and it brought them out as well.
Super magical spectacular evening. And my friend was so worried that “Do You Hear the People Sing” wasn’t in the program. Come on. It’s the name of the show, it’s obviously the encore piece. 🙂
What are you favorite Broadway musicals?
What are your favorite concert/arts venues?