First let me say, I am the luckiest mom ever. For real.
Phantom of the Opera is currently in Chicago. I LOVE Phantom of the Opera, which shouldn't be too hard to imagine because I love a lot of musicals.
Phantom holds a special place in my heart though. When I was 8th grade - in a new school, in a new district, after leaving all my old friends and feeling kind of lost and alone - I was in choir. I had been in choir at my old school and loved it and knew I wanted to do it at the new school as well. For one of our concerts we sang Music of the Night. I didn't really know about musicals, plays, etc - I mean, I knew they existed but I didn't get it yet. But, I thought this song was so beautiful. When I learned it came from a show with more songs? Well, I checked it out further and fell in love. This led me to learn about other famous broadway musicals and started my love for singing them with dreams of seeing them live on stage someday!
When the husband and I were still dating, he took me to see Phantom. It wasn't my first trip downtown to see a stage production, but it was an important one. I know that musicals aren't my husbands first love, or even in top 10, but he took me. He went with me. He would do it again. I already knew he was my true love but that just cemented it.
Anyway, fast forward. Last year we saw Phantom was coming back to Chicago. I had little hopes of seeing it - a lot happened last year and so I didn't even consider trying to see if I could get tickets to go.
Christmas morning. My 14 year old had been telling me leading up to Christmas that I was getting the best present ever from her (you know where this is going, right?). I honestly thought I was getting a Doctor Who shirt (like my 11yo got me) or something similar. So I opened her present and it was a ticket to go see Phantom of the Opera with her!
I was SO excited. It was just going to be the two of us. We just had to wait until Feb 1, the dates she was able to get tickets to, to see it. Now, my daughter has never seen it and didn't really know the music - just what the commercials showed. She had been avoiding it, wanting to hear it for the first time in the theater.
So almost 3 weeks ago, during another snow storm, we boarded the local train and went into the city. We went to a fabulously great dinner - where we were the only ones in jeans, but they sat us so the dress code wasn't strict, but we felt slightly out of place. We indulged in the most decadent dessert and then headed to the show.
Let me tell you, the show does not disappoint. If you live in/near/close to Chicago, call and try to get tickets somehow. They did a fabulous job! The actors and actresses - amazing. The singing - perfect. The orchestra - perfection. The dancing - beautiful. This is an amazing production of the show. Granted, I have only seen one other production, but this had it's own spin on it. Sometimes I get nervous seeing something the second time when it's a "new" production because it could be too different. But this was done perfectly - not the same, but not so much change that you felt they did it just to be different. It made sense and was done so well. I loved the set - how it rotated to be different rooms. Just so amazing!
Sitting there, in the Cadillac Palace Theater, my daughter by my side, both of us having a great time. It was priceless. Except, it wasn't. My daughter saved up and spent her hard-earned money to take me. She's 14. She doesn't always want to be seen in public with me (which I get, I remember being 14), so it was even more special to me.
The night was perfect (even though we actually lost the tickets they mailed to us, had to call and have them reprint for us to pick up at the box office and I thought I was going to have a panic attack and die when we realized the tickets were lost but now we have a funny story to tell so it all worked out in the end). My daughter got to see Phantom for the first time. I was reminded of why I fell in love with it when I was almost the exact same age she is right now. I'm not sure it gets any better than that.
These memories. This is what I want my kids to remember in 30 years - these moments that were so perfect, even in their imperfections. Not that I yelled too much or was sick too much or waited to long to do the laundry, but that we could go and enjoy Phantom (or whatever other shared love we find) and have a great night.