I don't know whether it's just that I haven't been in a church for so long or what, but tonight I was treated to something of a Christmas Spectacular at 91st Street Christian Church. In fact, "Christmas Spectacular" may have been what they called it.
My plan was to see my KidsPlay graduate Sarah Brown as the lead (Mary) in "Two From Galilee".
The 91st Street Christian Church is one of those mega-churches, a huge, rambling structure, obviously added on to several times. The lobby was decorated with a variety of different-sized Christmas trees, all with white lights, and simple red and gold multi-sized globes.
There was a line at the box office and the woman had the seating plans for the main floor and three balconies. Tickets were $5, but she gave us two that had been donated. We sat on the main floor right.
A full 20+ member orchestra greeted us playing Christmas carols. The place was packed. I spotted Sam and Tabatha (and Sarah's parents" and went over to say hi. Tabatha told me they had over a thousand people last night and informed me that immediately after the show, they had to get home to get Blake, who was performing in "Scrooge and Marley" at Buck Creek.
The show started at 7 p.m. with dancers, a choir, and an amazing soloist with a fabulous voice. It was unbelievably professional and completely seamless. I was totally engaged the whole time (my bag of things to do sitting untouched at my feet). I called Dennis and left him a voice mail about what I was seeing, and then later, texted him about it. The festivities continued with a child's dramatic reading of the Christmas story from the bible, accompanied by the orchestra, and topped off by a light show. It was absolutely amazing. It was Vegas; it was Disney. Flashing, running lights along the edges of the balconies, a huge light board at the front that flashed images of the wise men, the shepherds, the manger, Mary, Joseph and the star; two smaller boards to the left and right that flashed alternately "Joy" and "God's Son". Awe-inspiring.
Then it was time for "Two from Galilee". The show started with a "Beauty and the Beast" style opening number. Again, fabulous voices, wonderful staging. It was followed by a song from Joseph, and then came our Mary. Sarah was WONDERFUL in this show. She held her own vocally, and of course, we knew she would theatrically. She was lovely and elegant and the STAR of this show. I couldn't have been more proud.
After the show, I tracked down Sam and said to him that he must derive a great deal of satisfaction from this in the wake of Sarah getting such a minimal part in "Up the Down Staircase" at NP. I told him that she was absolutely wonderful and beautiful and the whole evening was a true spectacular. I told him that I called and texted Dennis twice during the show. I told him I just really enjoyed it and I was glad I took time out to come and see it. I saw Sarah in the lobby, gave her a hug and posed for photos, and then Ben and I were out the door. Sam chased me down and gave me a big hug (he's not a hugger) and told me that the highest praise of the evening was telling him that I'd called Dennis in the middle of the show to tell him about it. Chuckle.
The evening was capped off by dumping an almost full can of Diet Sunkist in my husband's car. (I drove his car because the heat in mine is faulty.) Being unfamiliar with it, I didn't quite hit the cup holder when I went to set the can down and it flipped sideways. I could hear it gluck-gluck-glucking as I struggled to find the switch for the dome light. By the time I righted the can, it was nearly empty. I haven't yet told him I did this. Perhaps I'll send him the link to this blog entry.