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"A Tale of Two Cities" meets "That's Entertainment!" by Leah Jean
Yes, thanx Patricia for keeping us up on Sandra and Jim! Definitely want to be kept in the loop.

Been going to a few performances in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD lately and reminiescing on the contrasts between the two events.

Newer Theater in Washington, D.C. [Don't remember the name.]

Modern and sleek with lots of big windows in the hallways. Couldn't check out the outside view though because it was too dark and too cold to go out on the terrace.

BATHROOMS [The really important stuff!]
Very nice. Lots of bathroom stalls with descent room! The designer of the building must have been a woman. But the intermission line waiting for a stall was still kind of long. The problem with being a female. ;)

Very convenient. There was a cool catwalk from the 2nd floor of the theater over a busy road to a fairly new multi-layered parking lot that was by day used for subway travelers and free after hours for shows. Nicely designed!

THE PERFORMANCE -- Nutcracker (Moscow Ballet Dance Company)

The professional dancers were good. But they were a Russian troupe so it was expected. You do have to remember though that the Nutcracker is generally a kind of family affair. Tons of local dancers of all ages and sizes grace the stage with their verious levels of talents. The little kids were kind of funny to watch since concentration and coordination were a bit lacking. The whole thing was almost like a glorified family recital for locals. I would imagine the audience was made up in large part with the kin of the little and not so little "hoofers". Like the guy in front of me who brought out the camera to record one specific solo of a youngster. The fact that he rather blocked my view though didn't worry me a whole lot. From what little I saw, I don't think I missed much. ;)

We were kind of bummed though because the performance did not include a live orchestra! I recently got fitted with hearing aids so I wanted to see how they worked with live music. [Loss of mid-range hearing probably due to too much loud music when younger.] Oh well.

Downtown Baltimore - Hippodrome

First, you've got to wonder where in the world did they came up with such an ... uh ... interesting name. I mean Hippo-drome???

Old (recently renovated) and AMAZINGLY gorgeous. The ceiling had lots of what was probably hand carved wood that looked like different kinds of fruit? Couldn't quite tell but it was very intricate. Kind of wondered if the designer was German because some of the designs reminded me of what you'd see on a German cookoo or grandfather clock from the Black Forest area. You can check out some photos of the theater (kind of small though) at the following web site if so interested:
And if anybody is wondering, I didn't see any decorations that looked like hippos. ;)

An okay amount of stalls but am interesting layout. There were 2 separated areas of stalls/sinks divided by a wall with the mirrors and sinks back to back. But you could see thru the wall between the mirrors (about 1 foot wide slits) to the other area. Kind of like the tall mirrors were put in as intermitant walls behind the sink counter. So you could see the people washing their hands or fixing their hair in the other area! Kind of strange but amusing.

Either on one of the local downtown streets or in one of the city's parking garages. [You didn't want to be running around by yourself.]

Fine if you are the size of a Munchkin or a 10 year old. [Definitely no hippos.] The seats had very little depth, okay width, but absolutely no leg room. But we were in the cheaper (not as expensive?) balcony seats so go figure.

THE PERFORMANCE -- The Soulful Symphony

The Soulful Symphony orchestra and chorus was ... as could be expected from the name ... made up mainly of African Americans. The evening consisted of 3 different parts.
(1) Some Motown songs.
(2) A symphony written by the conductor entitled "Paint" (the different movements (?) of which were mainly named with colors such as Red, Pink, Purple, etc.). The compositions went from classical to jazz to rap. The conductor even warned the audience (humorously) not to worry but some rap singers would make an appearance a few times. :) [The audience was generally older and rather conservative.] The reference to "colors" did refer some to different races and, from what I could hear when there was singing, it was about pride in oneself and about getting along with each other.
(3) A Tribute to Michael Jackson. We mainly went to hear this part.

The Motown music was pretty good. They had some very good singers and musical solos (harp, flute, piano, etc.) doing renditions of songs as "I Can't Help Myself", "What's Going On", "Superstition" (I was really rocking out to that one! Well ... as far as my seat allowed anyway). Oh, and as to my hearing aids? They got turned off reeeeeal quick due to the volume of the full orchestra with extra rock music type instruments (guitars, drums) which were amplified. 'Bout put my ears out with the volume! 'Bout put my ears out sometimes even without my hearing aids turned on!

The more conservative symphony part was pretty good at times but a bit boring and even annoying a few times. During one movement the chorus kept singing the word "passion" over and over and over and over again. A bit tedious. Another time the conductor got off of his podium to play a kind of solo on a concert piano. It was pretty good but he kept playing a series of cords that ran up into the higher pitches. You know why you don't hear too many piano pieces that use these keys a lot? Because the upper range is a little shrill and can get on your nerves when played over and over again over a period of time. :P

Then there was the tribute to Michael Jackson. The rendition of Thriller left much to be desired. Couldn't follow the melody hardly except for the chorus. I was starting to worry a little. Then the singers started coming out. One guy came out with a Michael Jackson type hat pulled down jauntily and a sort of half glove on one hand. [The crowd kind of laughed when he came out.] The man could really imitate Michael Jackson's sound and knew how to dance! Of course he did the "moon walk" a few times. We all loved it! And the orchestra sounded really good at times. There was also a medley with such songs as "The Love You Save" and "ABC" with 5 singers who ably imitated The Jackson 5's dance routines. And then there was one entrancing solo where a guy sang "She's Out Of My Life" while the conductor accompanied him on the full toned concernt piano. Unfortunately a guy behind me decided to sing along which drove me just about mad! And to top it all off he was rarely on tune! Grrrrrrrrr. I think he finally took the hint though and shut up after I turned around partially, shook my head, and then leaned forward in my seat.

For several days after that concert while running around the house I was singing snippets of Michael Jackson songs and smiling. :)

Supportin' the local arts,


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