Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Meeting heroes and 'priceless' events

We met the stars of Sweeney Todd,
Emma Thompson (l) and Bryn Terfel (r)
Last Thursday was an important day for me. I saw a Stephen Sondheim musical, Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street inside Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. For a New Yorker, it was my first time stepping foot inside Avery Fisher Hall. What a lovely venue. The New York Philharmonic with Alan Gilbert as Music Director was splendid. I enjoyed this 'musical thriller' and loved the staging and Lonny Price's direction. I have to mention the two leads--Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson--were outstanding. I never thought murder and death could be so amusing and on this night they were. Terfel commanded the stage with his voice and presence. Thompson, a comical delight, kept the audience enraptured with her comic timing and impressed many with her vocal pizzazz as mrs. Lovett. 

The Sweeney Todd stage after the show ended
My husband surprised me with two tickets for a special Master Card Priceless event which included excellent seating and after the show a special Meet and Greet with the two leads. Shortly after the actors took their well earned bows and the crowds diminished, the ten fortunate people able to attend this special event remained seated, awaiting a representative from Avery Fisher. A lovely young woman came over and gathered us together and away we went to "the event" into one elevator, across a floor and then into another elevator and up to the sixth floor. Inside someone's office we were greeted by the Master Card Priceless spokesperson, an outgoing and nice young woman. A photographer was there and soon the plastic glasses were filled with champagne for all to partake of while we waited. Word went around that Julie Andrews had been in attendance of this evening's performance. Faces lit up as many realized the special place in our hearts Ms. Andrews held was shared by all inside this room.

Meg's autographed program
Our wait soon ended as Emma Thompson walked into the room. A respectful hush fell over many. Standing closer to the doorway, my daughter and I were the first two to have our hand shook by someone I believe is acting royalty. Ever since I saw Howard's End, I have been a fan of Ms. Thompson. Each and every role she undertakes only exemplifies her immense talent and skill and suddenly she was standing there in person. I was so grateful I wasn't reduced to a blabbering buffoon by nerves. I was impressed by her humbleness and grace and how she greeted every individual with a quiet respect. My daughter blurted out how good she smelled and Ms. Thompson explained how important it was to smell good when meeting the public. Her words induced chuckles and helped settle any nerves.

Bryn Terfel soon joined us and the picture taking ensued. Both performers signed our programs and stood with us, exchanging conversation. When it was time for me and Meg to walk over, I complimented Ms. Thompson on her role in Saving Mr. Banks. Meg told her there wasn't a dry eye in the theater. She thanked us and chatted for a few minutes about the film, we smiled, pictures were taken, and we talked a little longer.

Shortly after, the event ended and the group disbanded and left. The thrill of meeting my favorite actress will remain with me for the rest of my life.It was an experience I will cherish forever. As the campaign slogan states, this evening was indeed priceless.

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