May has been the most eventful month of 2019 so far with three trips to the opera house, four trips to the movies, a trip to the theater, and more.
West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago
We started the month by going to the final dress rehearsal of Lyric Opera’s production of West Side Story. If you read our post all about the show, you know we were selected to be West Side Story Insiders and were invited to live tweet the rehearsal to help promote the show. From there, our love for the musical only grew, and we ended up seeing it a total of four times (three in May). We’ve been waiting for this show for over a year, so we’ve been looking forward to it for a while. However, our excitement for the production grew immensely when we heard Corey Cott would be Tony. Corey’s one of our favorite Broadway performers, so we were thrilled to see him perform in our city. We could go on forever about how much we love this production, but we have a total of three blog posts (ours, Amanda’s, and Ashley’s) that do that.
Stan’s is our favorite place to get doughnuts, and we were ecstatic upon finding out they had a new chocolate dipped doughnut. They cover their fresh cake doughnuts in European chocolate and add a white drizzle on top. We tried them as soon as we got to a Stan’s, and now it’s our favorite doughnut! Despite it being completely enrobed in chocolate (and it being a doughnut), it actually isn’t very sweet at all. The doughnut is nice, moist, and soft, and the chocolate added some nice texture.
The last few weeks have been rather busy for us as we ended March by going to an Alan Menken concert, began April with watching the national tour production of Anastasia, and watched a regional production of Mamma Mia! about two weeks ago.
On March 30, we attended “A Whole New World of Alan Menken” to hear the legendary composer and songwriter―best known for his work with Disney―perform some of his most popular songs at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. He played a little bit of everything, from “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors to the skit song Captain America and the dancers perform to in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also told some stories about his career, how he collaborated with other well-known songwriters, how various songs came to be, and how he got to work on certain projects.
A lot of what we already knew about Menken concerned his involvement with various projects, but we didn’t know much about the collaborations he had or much about his personal life. So it was really great to learn more about a person whose music has brought us so much joy throughout the years. It was also cool learning more about his work that were unfamiliar with, such as Sister Act the Musical and the television show Galavant. We’re especially appreciative of the time he took to perform a show in Chicago, because he said his mom had just passed a few days prior.
Dear Amanda and Ashley,
February 20 was a good day, and here’s why: because on that Wednesday, that Wednesday you watched Dear Evan Hansen at the Nederlander Theatre and sat in the orchestra after winning the ticket lottery. And it’s a good thing , because you both knew it would be the only way you’d get to watch the national tour production during its Chicago stop.
When the presale started, neither of you had enough money to buy tickets, so you had to wait for the general sale. But then you saw the ticket prices, and they were absurd. Neither of you could afford to pay over $100 for a single seat in the balcony―on a weekday! And then you kept checking ticket availability, and it was basically sold out with the exception of a few Wednesday matinees. So you both decided the lottery would be your best bet at getting tickets. Who knows how many people you’d be competing and entering with, but why not try?
Fast forward a few months to February 11, and you both set daily alarms on your phones to ensure neither of you would forget to enter the lottery right when it opened at 9 a.m. every single day (except Sundays because there are no shows on Mondays, so why would you waste your time to set a useless alarm only to realize there was no lottery to enter that day?).
Eight days, nine shows, and twenty-one rejections later, one of the emails finally said something other than “Lottery Results: Try Again”. Rather, one of Ashley’s said “STANDBY”.
November turned out to be one of the most eventful months of 2018 for us, which was a nice surprise. Usually November is just Thanksgiving and awaiting the end of the semester, but now that we’ve finished school and have more free time, we got to spend last month watching musicals, movies, and trying new foods.
At the start of November, we watched the national tour production of the Hello, Dolly! revival. We didn’t know much about the show going into it but heard good things, and we ended up really enjoying it―so much that we saw it twice! The revival of this classic musical is really well done and allowed us to see two of our favorite Broadway performers, Julian DeGuzman and Jess LeProtto, whom we met afterward (both times)! The second time we met Julian at the stage door, we got to talk to Julian about being Filipino, Filipino food, and Miss Saigon―a show known to have many Filipinos in its cast. To read more about our experience at Hello, Dolly!, check out our blog post about it.
In June 2017, we saw our first show on Broadway, Miss Saigon. The show was a couple months into its Broadway revival engagement after transferring from the West End in London. Going in, we knew nearly nothing about the musical, but coming out, we were thoroughly impressed by its compelling and emotional story and complex characters.
After developing more of an interest in Broadway later that year, we found out we could buy the Blu-Ray of the 25th anniversary performance from its West End revival. We thought that would be a good present for our mom, who saw the show with us, while also being a good gift for ourselves. Since then, we’ve watched the Blu-Ray several times and listened to the revival live recording several times. Knowing this, one could plausibly think we wouldn’t have to see the show again―after all, we own the Blu-Ray and can watch it whenever we want. While that reasoning is absolutely correct, it didn’t stop us from seeing the national tour production of Miss Saigon in Chicago on November 20.
That’s the code word Cornelius Hackl tells Barnaby Tucker they’ll to indicate they are having an adventure in Hello, Dolly! It’s quite fitting because our blog name is The Adventures of Amanda and Ashley, after all, and watching the national tour of Hello, Dolly! certainly was an adventure that made us want to yell “Pudding!”
Having a birthday in October, we always look forward to the fall month. But, this year, October was an especially good month. From finally getting to be in the room where it happens to exploring new places, October was the most eventful month of 2018 so far!
We watched the Saturday, October 6 matinee of the Chicago production of the Tony award-winning musical Hamilton. Our mom bought us tickets in May when the new block of tickets went on sale. We decided to go to in October as an early birthday celebration (our birthday is on October 8).