Friday, June 5, 2015

The Circle of Life

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a sucker for theater.  Anything involving the lighting and anticipation and energy of live stage shows and I'm all in.   If I had unlimited resources (and that little thing called "time"),  I'd get myself to every possible Broadway show (or off-Broadway show, as is the case when you live in the Midwest) and memorize every possible musical soundtrack.  I'd get chummy with the actors and learn the ins and outs of live production.  I'd volunteer back stage or with ushering or even selling booze at intermission.  But right now I have little kids and so the next best thing is to get them interested, and do it while they're young.

When I heard that The Lion King was going to be in Des Moines, I was on it.  A quick text to Sara (I knew she'd be going too) to coordinate dates, and I bought tickets quicker than you can say "Hakuna Matata".  We ended up going on her son's 5th birthday, which made it an extra special night. Charlie had a fantastic time hanging with his buddy before the show and the two of them were sooooo excited as we drove downtown to the theater.  Their energy was contageous as we posed for pictures before the show and talked about what we were about to see.

As we entered the Civic Center, Charlie and Vincent took in the spacious area and huge sweeping staircase.  They were excited and wound up but managed to stand in line long enough to purchase a stuffed animal and a t-shirt (of course).  And I might have splurged on the most beautiful Christmas ornament ever-- it almost makes me excited for Christmas.  But not quite.  (Too bad Christmastime has to equal wintertime.)  Anyway, we bought our souvenirs and then found our seats in time to take a few selfies before the lights dimmed.

If you've seen the show before, you know that it's action packed with singing and dancing and has quite a bit of off-stage action with the actors walking through the aisles or singing at the end of rows.  But most people know that the costumes definitely steal the show.  Charlie and I took turns looking through the binoculars at the intricate costumes and makeup and while I thought he would be absorbed in the story, he was most concerned with the technicalities of the show.  I love the way his little brain works as he would lean over and ask things like, "How does Mufasa fall so slowly?  How did he land and not get hurt? When do they hook up the cord to his back?  How does the puppet guy move Zazu's mouth? Where does the air come from? Where are they playing the music? How does the guy in the giraffe costume get on the stilts?" and on and on and on.  He was tired by the end of the second act but hung in there and managed to make it home.

We spent the night at Sara's and had time the next morning to relax.  We played outside, enjoying the beautiful spring weather-- and Sara and I fantasized about the day we'd be able to sit and have a conversation that wasn't interrupted every five seconds.

We took a short lunch break before we hit the road (and I experienced Chick Fil A  for the first time, finally!) and lookie who we ran into!  What a small world!

Oh, and someone may have tried ice cream for the first time....I think she liked it.

Then, with our bellies and hearts full, we buckled into the minivan and headed back to Grundy county.

As the kids slept in the backseat, I couldn't help but smile about our little adventure.  Live theater was such an important part of my life; it provided me with so many friends and wonderful memories.  It's something that I enjoy so much and hope to become more involved with in the future.  And it's something that I hope Charlie grows to love as well-- and someday he can share that love with his own children.   Because after all, isn't that what the circle of life is really all about?  Hakuna Matata, my friends. 

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