Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dave and LaDawn on the Road - England 11-08

Day 4 Wednesday

We get a late start today and begin by taking in lunch at a nearby pub. Then again we are on foot as we walk to the National Portrait Gallery near Trafalgar Square. It's three floors of incredible history of the Kings and Queens as well as many, many notable historic individuals. Again we are disappointed that photographs are not permitted. For history buffs this is a must see.

IMAGINE THIS..........
Where freedom was found through imagination.
Where hope and laughter could conquer fear.
Where love knew no boundaries.
It's finally play day...The opening night of IMAGINE THIS. The reason why we have come to London. The reason we have met so many new and wonderfully excited Cincinnatians who also have taken time from their busy day-to-day schedules, who have invested hard earned dollars and made this great adventure to see opening night.

The play is being shown on the West Side at the New London Theatre. Although the present New London Theatre - all glass and concrete splendour as designed by Paul Tvrtkovic - only opened as recently as 1973, there have been theatres on this Drury Lane site since at least 1851.

Then it was Middlesex Music Hall, which 60 years later was rebuilt by theatre-architect extraordinaire Frank Matcham and renamed the Winter Garden in 1911.Prior to the New London Theatre's official opening it was used as the venue for a televised concert by Marlene Dietrich in November 1972, before hosting a range of shows including Grease that saw the West End debut of the then-unknown Richard Gere (as Danny Zuko), as well as stints as a TV studio.

Finally, in May 1981 the theatre was converted specifically for Lloyd Webber's musical version of T S Elliot's Cats which lasted a record-breaking 8949 performances, ending on its 21st birthday: 11 May 2002.

Below is a photo of some of our fellow travelers the Cincinnati group. Also a photo of Dave and I with Marcia Goldsmith, Mother of David Goldsmith the wonderful lyricist to IMAGINE THIS. Upon arrival we are pleased at the beauty and dynamics of the staging and just the raw the feel of the theatre. We are excited and the audience is nervously jazzed for this performance. We are not disappointed. The play is INCREDIBLE!! In the 2 1/2 hours of production you are easily moved from laughter to tears. The performance of Peter Polycarpou is amazing. The best we've ever seen.

Peter was in the original cast of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon. He also has performed in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Phantom of the Opera just to name a few. Staging, costumes, the musical numbers, the production, the story, we LOVED it all. That was the feeling from the entire audience as a vigorous, a rousing an electric standing ovation that went on for several, maybe even 10 minutes. Tears not only came rushing from the spectators to this wonderful performance but also from many of the actors on stage. A truly thrilling performance. Our only slight disappointment is that Peter does not take a curtain call alone, as he certainly deserves it.

After the play it's on to a cast reception. While we find it somewhat difficult to recognize the actors and actresses without stage makeup, we are fortunate to meet several during the course of the evening. Dave is photographed with Cameron Leigh who plays Lola and also Dave and I with Peter. Back to the hotel, happy, enthused and thrilled from the performance.

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