Several years ago, I was out with some friends and their friends. We were at a bar, talking and having a good time. The discussion turned to whatever the popular TV shows or movies were at the time and I zoned out, not interested in the conversation. I don’t watch much TV and usually fall asleep during movies. I stare at two two dimensional screens 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week. I don’t want to do it when I’m at home as well. And if you like to spew movie or TV quotes, unless it’s from “Friends,” “Big Bang Theory” or the prior day’s Cubs’ game, I’m going to look at you like you’re crazy. Anyway, one of the friends of friends started asking me about what shows I watch and when I told her I don’t really watch TV, she told me “you have no culture.” I remember being taken aback when she said that. What? What does that even mean? Because I don’t watch TV, I lack “culture?” Again, what? I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her and said “Whatever, you don’t know me” but I never forgot what she said.
I thought of this comment last night because last night was the first show of five in a season ticket package I have with a couple of friends for Broadway in Chicago this year. In my opinion, if there’s a quintessential cultural event, it’s live theater. I’ve seen a lot of theater events over the years. Last night, we saw “The King and I.” It was a great show. The story line was decent and I especially enjoyed all of the dancing.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the shows this season with these lovely ladies.
Wicked – This is the story of the witches from the Wizard of Oz. I saw it at least three times when it was here in its first run in Chicago. I gasped the first time she popped up through the floor and officially decided I loved it then. It’s my favorite of all the shows I’ve seen. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, it’s coming back to Chicago soon and I highly recommend checking it out if you can.
Hamilton – This is a close second on the favorites list. We got to see Wayne Brady playing Aaron Burr but I thought the actress who played Alexander Hamilton’s wife stole the show. She has an amazing voice! Fun fact: JPMorgan Chase owns the pistols used in the dual fight that killed Alexander Hamilton. They are housed in one of its NY offices.
Mama Mia – I’ve seen this one in Chicago and also in NYC. I love the music – it’s all music from Abba if you don’t know. The play is better than the movie although I love the movie too.
Mary Poppins – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the best musical number I’ve seen. I loved loved loved it! I wanted to get up and sing along and dance so badly.
Jersey Boys – I also wanted to sing along to many of the songs in this one because it included so much of the music I grew up listening to with my parents.
Beauty and the Beast – I also saw this one in NYC. It felt like I was watching the Disney cartoon. It was really good.
Newsies – I saw this one a few months ago. I really liked it! Again, the music was good.
A few of the others…
Book of Mormon – I saw this one twice and officially decided I don’t like it. It’s too offensive for me. I cringed a lot both times.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – I saw this one with Kelley earlier this year. It was very different. It follows the story of a boy with autism and his parents. It was very eye opening.
When walking into the theater for Curious Incident, we were greeted with a fake dead dog that was stabbed to death on the stage. Interesting start to the show for sure!
The Lion King – I saw this one with my sister in NYC. It was only okay. Beauty and the Beast was much better.
The Addams Family – The thing I remember most about this show is the number of kids that were there. This caught my attention because this was not a kid appropriate show. There were so many jokes and induendos that were not kid appropriate.
Along with these live theater shows, I’ve been to the lyrical opera, where I saw “Carmen.” It seemed appropriate for my first opera experience and I really liked it. I’ve also been to the symphony, several times for the Christmas show in Cedar Rapids and also for the Christmas show here in Chicago (I liked the Cedar Rapids shows better). I’ve seen the Nutcracker ballet. I listen to NPR. I’ve traveled to over 20 countries and 45 states. I’ve been to too many concerts and sporting events to count. Looking back on all of this, not only am I incredibly thankful that I’ve had all of these amazing opportunities, I’ve decided that I’m pretty sure I have “culture.” As far as I’m concerned, that woman can go take a hike!
Updated with my opinion in May 2019: In case you are wondering, the other four shows included with our season ticket package include “Les Miserables” (only okay) “Something Rotten” (loved!), “An American in Paris” (good) and “Escape to Margaritaville” (totally corny and predictable but as a Parrothead, I loved it!). We also have tickets to go see “Aladdin” (also loved it!) in August. It should be a fun season!
I also recently saw “Dear Evan Hansen.” I wanted to loved it but I just didn’t. It was so sad and that is not my thing. It did have an okay ending though (I considered leaving at the intermission because I was worried about how it would end).