My mom, my sister, my aunt and I are subscribers to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago; every few weeks we get together to grab dinner and some wine, and go see our show. Sometimes we intersperse with additional shows throughout the year. Last week, we went to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Oriental Theatre. (And no, it’s not Hedwig, like from Harry Potter, like I’d originally hoped…)
We always have a fab time, and we do a lot of laughing. I thought today I would share what one of our theater evenings looks like.he
Around four o’clock, I drive over to my mom’s school, so we can drive downtown together. In the car, we catch up, gossip, and complain about the traffic.
Without fail at some point, one of us says, “Ugh, I wish we could just apparate!”
Eventually, we make it to the city. Our first challenge once we arrive is to make our way to the parking garage.
“Did we turn down Wabash last time? Or did we go up Monroe?” my mom, whom I call Mutti, will often ask me.
I usually reply with a soft smile, because I really have no idea. I lived in the city for four years, and every time I got off the train in the Loop, I walked in the wrong direction. Every. Time. (I did not have a smart phone to navigate me back then. I spent a lot of time walking in circles, calling my mom saying, “I think I went the wrong way!”)
This time, Mutti and I were creeping up the street the parking garage is on– I still don’t know which street it is– and as she was getting ready to turn into the entrance, a biker came out of nowhere!
He sped in front of Mutti’s starting-to-turn car, shouting profanities at us. Mutti and I were, of course, screaming.
“Where the hell did that man come from?!”
“Why is he yelling at us?!”
“My turn signal was on!”
“He still has to follow the rules of the road!”
We recovered from our near accident, shouting about the rogue biker all the way up to level four of the parking garage (Toys).
We got out of the car, but could not seem to locate a nearby elevator. We decided to take the stairs, since we were going down. As we made out way down each level of stairs, I helpfully announced each level, in an excellent impression of the elevator voice.
“Level Three. Luggage.”
We made our way to the restaurant where my aunt, MS, was already seated. My sister, Rachel, came flying in moments after us.
“I just want you guys to know that I didn’t even put the garage in my GPS; I remembered how to get there all by myself!” she smiled, proud of herself. “And, I looked up the directions to walk here, but I didn’t walk here with it on my phone.”
Once she sat down, Rachel looked over at me. “Your pants, you look like you’re naked.” (I had khaki pants on.)
“No, I don’t, weirdo.”
She continued regaling us with the tale of her arrival, “Someone was incessantly honking in the garage. There was a big traffic jam, and at first I thought it was the person right behind me honking, so I looked at her in my mirror, threw my hands up, and was like, ‘What do you want me to do?’ But they parked by me, and she was like, ‘How about that honking?’ and I was like, ‘I know, right?’ And we became friends since it wasn’t her being rude.”
The waitress came, and we ordered drinks. Mutti and I ordered Prosecco, Rachel ordered a white wine, and MS already had a glass of red.
As we perused the menu, we discussed a number of things:
“I felt a little claustrophobic in the bathroom, but also like I’d be protected from a bomb.”
“If you get engaged, please don’t announce it on Facebook. I’ll kick your ass.”
“I have to plan gathering these parking passes weeks in advance… they will only give me one at a time. They act like it’s special treatment when they give me two.”
“Remember that time Mutti’s dress flew up as we were walking down the street?”
“I discovered today that I do an impressive impression of an elevator voice.”
The waitress returned to take our orders, and Rachel and I both ordered the margherita pizza.
“Oh my God, you copy cat! First you copied Mom, ordering Prosecco, and now you’re copying me!” my sister said, as if offended.
“I said I wanted the margherita pizza as soon as I looked at the menu! And Prosecco is an excellent choice. No shame.” I handed the waitress my menu and took a sip of my beloved Prosecco.
We continued chatting away, drinking our beverages, and laughing a lot. Our food arrived, looking delicioso– except there was one minor issue: after being so excited about the availability of gluten free pasta, Mutti forgot to specify GF when she actually ordered!
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” she said, placing her head into her hands. “Maybe in my head I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, she knows it should be gluten free.’ As if she knows me or something.”
The staff was very nice about it though, and brought a new plate out, gluten free, as soon as they could.
We ate to the brim, too full for even another beverage, and then Mutti passed out our tickets.
“I so kindly printed every one’s tickets for them,” she said as she handed one to me.
“Wait, this isn’t at the Goodman?” I said, confused.
“Did you pay attention to any of our email communications?*” MS asked. “You were the first one to respond!”
*I may have also been confused about which show we were going to see this evening.
After we had everything clarified– show, theatre, etc. We made our way, Rachel and I leaving Mutti and MS in our dust and stuck at lights.
“Slow down! You might lose us!”
Once we arrived at the theatre, we learned there was no intermission. Of course, we immediately had to hit the loo then. Rachel and MS went straight there, while Mutti and I first found our seats. Despite the fact that she has the bladder the size of a pea, Mutti decided to forgo a bathroom trip before the show started. I basically sprinted there. And by there, I mean the long, snaking line outside of the bathroom.
The line moved quickly though, and soon enough I was next. Rachel and MS were washing their hands, MS trying to box Rachel out at the hand dryer. I put on a soft smile and waited for them to notice me waving. They made their way past the line, giggling at themselves, and I eagerly watched the stalls, waiting for one to open.
The woman behind me in line tapped my shoulder. “Hi, I’m sorry, was that MS?”
“Yes. She’s my aunt.” I replied.
“I thought that was her!” she said excitedly. “I work at [MS’s company].”
“Oh, nice,” I nodded. Then a stall opened, and I ran away.
When I got back to our seats, I told MS about the woman who asked about her.
“Who was she?” she said very seriously, looking around.
“I don’t know! I didn’t ask her name. I was too busy trying to get my turn in the bathroom!”
“Ugh, you’re so famous,” Rachel said, leaning over me to address our celebrity aunt.
“That is true,” MS said smugly.
In standard procedure, we went through the Playbill as we waited for the show to start.
“Jesus Christ Superstar is coming back! We should go!” Mutti said excitedly, showing us the ad.
Rachel shrugged. “The name Jesus Christ just kind of turns me off…”
“RENT is also coming back– I’d rather go see that again!” I announced.
“Ugh, remember when we went to see RENT at U of I, and your mom made me share a room with you guys and your boyfriend?” MS shuddered.
We continued chattering, commenting on the set and the theatre itself.
“I always forget how beautiful this theater is,” MS remarked, admiring the ceiling.
“I always forget how beautiful my sister is,” Rachel said with a wink. (I swear, we are not incestuous. Just very, very weird.)
And then the lights went down and Hedwig and the Angry Inch came out. Lights flashed, music blared, and Hedwig cat-walked downstage across the hood of a car.
I won’t go into too much detail about the show, but it was fan-fucking-tastic! The lights, the music, the talent, the set, the wigs, the costumes, and OMG Hedwig! There was a brief bit towards the end we all agreed could have been cut, but the finale made up for it a thousand times over. I was also a little blinded by some of the flashing lights, but I forgive them for that.
I love live theater. I love having these experiences with my family. The laughter, love, music, and beauty that surrounds us on these nights fills my heart with such joy. If you ever need someone to go to the thea-tah with, I’m your girl! 😉