Lori had emailed a few weeks back telling a bunch of us about the event. They were running a promotion where if you bought at least 5 balcony seats, you could save a few bucks on the price of admission. It sounded pretty spiffy to me and so in the end it was Lori, her friend Alice (I hope I'm remembering that correctly), Andrea, Arthur, Karen, and myself who went. No one else from the Bills' group was interested and that wasn't really a surprise. I still find it quite disappointing that a group of people with such a high concentration of gay men doesn't have more musical/theater buffs.
I arrived at the theater first and spent my time just wandering around. In addition to the sing-a-long, there was a costume contest and a lot of people came dressed up. Outside of a church event, you're unlikely to ever see as many nuns in one place, though a disturbing number of them where men. In all, I would guesstimate there were probably 70 or so people dressed up as something or other from the movie, ranging from Maria to brown paper packages wrapped up with string.
By around half past, all of us had arrived except for Arthur. He was running late and didn't get there until 10 minutes or so after the start. This meant that we ended up missing a lot of the instructions, though many of them became self-evident. And yep, there were instructions for watching the movie like cheering for Maria, awww'ing at Gretel, and hissing the Baroness as well as hand gestures for some of the songs. We were also all given a goodie bag of props some of which were incomprehensible. I'm still not sure what the hell I was supposed to do with the card which had a picture of what looked like a blue sperm with arms on one side and the word 'Flibbertigibbet' on the other. Other items were more prosaic: a sprig of edelweiss, a popper for the kiss scene, an invitation to captain's ball, etc.
We did catch the entire endless progression of the costume contest. What I learned from this is that if I am ever in a contest like this, I will strive to be in the front of the line no matter what. What might seem novel or at least somewhat interesting pales after the 20th repetition. If you've seen a dozen nuns, you've pretty much seen them all. This didn't seem quite fair since the people who were later in the line sometimes had better costumes than the first iterations, but by then the audience was clearly applause fatigued. Around a dozen people, almost exclusively from the front of the parade were chosen as finalists. I managed to get a pretty crappy and shaky shot with the camera. This is what happens when you don't use flash.
In the end, the Baroness in what looked like a prom dress won. Which I can't say was the wrong decision seeing as she was up against nuns wearing tablecloth habits and whatever the hell that freaky guy with the star faced mask was supposed to be. I think she won some tickets to any other event at the state theater or some such. Frankly, I wouldn't have come dressed up even if I had been guaranteed the prize. My personal choice didn't even get selected as a finalist. I thought the pair of nazi's we snatched up a Maria were spiffy. Because, hey, where else can you wear a Nazi outfit nowadays?
After the costume contest, it was time for the movie. I should also mention that the seats at the State Theater suck donkey balls. They were obviously constructed with midgets in mind. I couldn't sit normally with my knees extended because there was not enough leg room. I ended up having to tuck my legs under the seat as much as possible which sucked in its own way. I guess I'm lucky there was an intermission because if I had been stuck that way through the entire film I would have ended up as a cripple. Well, more so.
The movie was pretty spiffy and watching it made me realize that I have never seen The Sound of Music from start to finish. It turns out that since I had only seen it on tv, I had never caught the very beginning.
They even included the Latin lyrics for those who felt a compelling need to sing along with everything. There was a quite noticeable volume die-off from the audience during these parts. I also discovered that The Sound of Music is apparently not one of the greatest movies for me to sing along with. The high notes are too high and when I went an octave down I couldn't hit some of the low notes. I felt like a jack in the box. Still, it was lotsa fun.
During intermission, Lori and I ended up chatting with a Rutgers student sitting behind us. He was in the local glee club and it made me regretful I had never tried anything of the sort while in school. Que sera, sera.
I should mention also that the theater was packed. For some reason I'm always surprised there's such a large turnout for these events. I wouldn't have thought that it would have been such a draw. Many people brought their kids and among the audience, it tended to mostly the old and the very young, which sort of makes sense.
The movie trundled its way to its inevitable conclusion. Von Trap Family: 9 Nazi's: 0. No one seemed to agree with my suggestion that the last scene in the movie should have contained a voiceover stating 'And their escape across the mountains was a great success with only 3 of the children dying of starvation and exposure'. Well, come on. You set off into the mountains with your entire family including young children in street clothes and no supplies? No matter how many happy bluebirds are trailing behind that can't have been a pleasant journey.
After the show we headed over to the Skylark Diner. I'd never been before and it doesn't exactly go with the name diner. It was far more hoity than you would expect, which seems kinda odd really.
I was still pretty stuffed from brunch so all I ended up ordering were some chicken fingers. We ended up chatting about all sorts of things and Lori's husband Ron also stopped by. All in all, it was pretty spiffy. About the only thing I would really change are the crappy seats at the theater and the ridiculous amount of time it took me to get out of that parking garage in New Brunswick.
As a sidenote, anyone else sort of bothered by the Uncle Max character? I mean, was he a complete Jewish stereotype or is it just me? You'd think they would have avoided even the appearance of that like the plague, considering this was a movie with freaking Nazi's in it. At the very least they could have found a blonde actor or something. Instead we have a dark haired man in the entertainment industry who is obsessed with making money and, suggested by Lori's friend, seemed sort of poofy in some of his comments. Am I just reading too much into this?