I went to an incredible show last night called “For the Record: Baz Luhrmann,” a concert featuring tons of music from Baz Luhrmann’s films. Luhrmann is probably best known for Moulin Rouge, and he also directed the version of Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, and a fun dance movie called Strictly Ballroom. Music is an integral part of all three films, and this show features tons of songs from those three films, with snippets of dialogue and scenes in between. Check out some clips:
My friend Natalie and I went because one of our friends from college, Darryl Semira, was in the cast. The concert tells the basic story of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, and Darryl played Romeo in the first half, and the smarmy Duke in the second. It’s a small cast – 4 men and 4 women – and most of them (Darryl included) have been on Broadway and done TV and film. Everyone was amazing. Unbelievable sets of pipes on all of them.
What’s really fun about the show is that’s it’s rather immersive. The venue, Barre Vermont, is a restaurant and bar, and while there’s a tiny stage at one end of the room where the band plays, the singers are all over the place. They’re on that stage, a second stage in the middle of the audience, the aisle running down the length of the room, and on top of the bar. There were plenty of moments when I could have reached out and touched Darryl or his castmates. It’s very intimate.
Intimate is the polite way of saying it. It’s not a lie to say that we were packed in there like sardines. The audience sat around tables, and they were very close together. The aisle that the cast sang in can’t be more than two feet wide, and the singers took advantage of the proximity: they flirted and played with audience members, and one guy even took a sip of an audience member’s champagne. In addition to the performers, the restaurant staff was navigating the room, delivering food and drinks. On one point during the show, our waiter was leaning in from the aisle, over my lap, passing four cups of coffee to the table behind me. I didn’t mind the close quarters – it’s kinda fun, to be honest – and it was the second time I’ve been there, so I was familiar with the space. Here’s a picture of the venue from Yelp – imagine this room with 100 people in it:
I got up to use the restroom during intermission, and there were a couple times, getting to and from my seat, when I had to turn sideways in the narrow aisle to let other people pass. After the show, I told Natalie that I would have hated this venue a few years ago, and it’s true. When I was 400 pounds I would’ve been miserable. Turning sideways in the aisle wouldn’t have done a lick of good – others would’ve had to do that to let me pass. Last night I was able to fit between seat backs to get to my seat, but back then, everyone between me and my seat would’ve had to scooch their chairs or get up altogether. I would’ve felt terribly self-conscious, to the point where it would hinder my enjoyment of the show.
What an awesome feeling it was to be in an environment that, just a few short years ago, would’ve been dreadful and sweat-inducing! I’ll never get tired of the unexpected moments when I realize my weight loss has positively changed the way I experience seemingly random events, like concerts. It’s the little things, like last night’s concert, that remind me of the gravity of my accomplishments, and encourage me to stay on track.
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!
PS – “For the Record: Baz Luhrmann” is closing this weekend, but its sister show, “For the Record: The Coen Brothers,” is opening next week. Click here for show/ticket info.
PPS – My charity stair climb is tomorrow! Wish me luck!