Monday, September 26, 2011

Phan weekend 2011 and phantom #45

This entry is going to be pretty long, lots of coverage. This past weekend from September 22, 2011 to September 25, 2011 some phans got together in Manhattan for a Phan gathering weekend. I was lucky enough to be invited to the event. The out of town PHans arrived on Thursday and left Sunday. I had to work on Thursday and Sunday so I was only able to attend the phan events for Friday and Saturday (those were the main bulk of events though, so it wasn't so bad - I do regret missing the flea market though). For me the PHun started on Friday. I woke up at 9 AM to get ready and head to the city. I donned some phan girl gear, drank coffee from one of two phantom mugs I owned and got on the train. When I reached Penn Station as I was texting Shawn and getting my bearings I was already spotted by two PHellow Phans. So the three of us headed to the gathering. After everyone had arrived and was settled in, we started playing some games and had a round of introductions. I finally got to meet some phans I had been chatting to on facebook in person, Krista, Chris, Melissa, Bethany, Vicky, Maura, Kaedra, Kathryn, Jeff, Rebecca and Danielle. They were really nice, right away I felt pretty comfortable with everyone (it probably helped that we all had a common bond of being a phan of phantom). Throughout the evening we played three rounds of Who or what am I? and name that song. During who or what am I, Jeff placed a person or an object relating to phantom of the opera on our backs. We didn't know who we were, but we had to ask everyone questions about who or what we were. Once we thought we figured out the answer, we double checked with our partners. I was Lon Chaney, Mme. Giry's cane and Gillian Lynne. Shawn was Michael Crawford when he arrived later in the evening. I won a prize for the second round - now I have a lovely art creation by Kaedra. Kaedra is an extremely talented individual, she bought all of the prizes for the gathering games to NY with her, she had some drawings which were amazingly wonderful, a monkey bag, a plush rose and some phantom t-shirts. One t-shirt was pretty cool but there was no way in hell it was fitting me so I couldn't choose it for a prize. In between our game playing we had a visit from Kimilee Bryant and Ciaran Sheehan, Kimilee has played many roles in the show from Christine and Carlotta to the swing. Lisa Klages, Kimilee's stage manager was also there for the interview. All of the phans had a chance to ask Ciaran and Kimilee some questions, they both sang All I ask of you for us, and than Jeff and I had the privilege to act out a phantom scene, it was the dressing room scene between Raoul and Christine (my guess is that both Kimilee and Ciaran might have favoritism towards Raoul - which normally makes me twitch but they were taking time out to entertain us so I refrained from twitching). Jeff played opposite Kimilee, I played opposite Ciaran. It was pretty awesome, unless I completely change career paths and somehow obtain sensational vocal chords that's the closest I'm ever going to get to performing anything from phantom of the opera. Kimilee and Ciaran ended their visit by offering merchandise for sale. I bought a CD from each artist, a program insert which they both signed for me and a phantom red ribbon aids pin. Once Kimilee and Ciaran left, we ordered some dinner, played name that song, watched some phantom movies and hung out, after the pizza Shawn arrived to meet my PHellow PHans. After his arrival Krista and Chris presented a cake they bought for everyone, and I did my barista bit. Shawn was so sweet, when I cleaned up the coffee items and was getting ready to wash them he told me he would wash them and to go hang out with the phans. Once everything was cleaned up we had a little Masquerade cosplay. Maura a wonderfully talented phan who came to join us, had some pieces for me to try on so that I could possibly wear Christine's Don Juan costume that Emmy Rossum wore in the 2004 movie. I tried on the pieces and they did fit me, Shawn and I liked the costume so much we asked Maura if she wouldn't mind selling the pieces. She didn't want to sell certain pieces, so I went through her stuff and found different pieces for the ones she didn't really want to sell, once we reached an agreement she sold me three pieces plus some accessories for $10. Not bad at all. Kaedra dressed in her famous monkey costume, Jeff was Phantom, Rebecca was Christine, Maura was a triangle girl, Chris was a secret agent, Krista had a beautiful back and red Victorian dress, Kathryn was an opera attendee, so was Bethany. We took photos, had some fun, than put our regular clothes back on. When the masquerade was over I said goodnight to everyone and went back home. Saturday we had made arrangements to see the 2 PM matinee. Shawn, his mom and I got ready. I wore my new costume, Shawn dressed as what I'd like to call the rogue phantom (which I thought was pretty sexy) and his mom borrowed one of my phantom shirts. We met the phans inside the theatre (we got to sit pretty damn close, third row stage left) it was pretty exciting. The show was terrific. Thursday some of the phans who got into town spontaneously got tickets to the show and they witnessed some technical problems, this show went off without a hitch. Jeremy Stolle played the phantom I didn't get to see him before, he was pretty good. He definitely portrayed a lost little boy side of the phantom that I never saw an actor use before in the role. It was interesting and for me quite emotional. As usual I was almost in hysterics by finale time. Michele McConnell was Carlotta she was the other actress in the show, besides of course Kimilee which held my attention. She had an extremely distinctive look about her and played the diva very well. When the show was over we were lucky enough to have some of the actors come out to the stage to greet us and hold a Q&A session with us. We asked them about bloopers, and various other questions, I asked how often Hal Prince comes by the check on the show. Once the Q&A session was over, we went across the street to Sardi's for dinner. I loved the fact that I saw MC's caricature there, but as for Sardi's the establishment, I wasn't so keen about them or the service. The food was semi-expensive, our waiter kept stealing our utensils and plates before we were done with them, and the atmosphere was just too chaotic the place was way to crowded since it's pretty famous. Personally I enjoy Carmine's better, but at least I got to say I ate at Sardi's once and managed to have the Sardi's experience. After Sardi's we had to leave because Shawn's mom isn't feeling to well right now and wasn't up for bowling in costume. The other phans went bowling in phantom costumes. The next day they hit the Broadway Cares Equity fights aids flea market. So far it seems my desire to go to the flea market and check out the phantom booth is squelched because I end up at work. This year I was supposed to be off, but I ended up switching my work schedule for a christening that did not take place. From the bits and pieces I heard the flea market was pretty cool, at least one phan I know has pictures. As for my own pictures, I really would love to post some for this entry but I'm not going to right now. I posted photos on facebook and then I had to lock them down so that only those attending the phan gathering could see them. Since anyone can come across my blog for the time being I'm choosing not to post event photos here. I'm hoping lots of people read this though so that they can see the whole weekend was just good fun and comradery among the phantom phans who were able to attend the events. I hope we have a phan gathering 2012 and I hope whether it's in Manhattan or elsewhere that I can attend. I really liked meeting a bunch of phans, and I'm going to miss hanging out with everyone, even though I only got to see everyone for two days it felt like I knew them for a long time. There are a few phans who are in the tri-state area and surrounding states that are close to NY, perhaps when I start driving I can arrange to visit them and hang out. Perhaps if I ever reach Canada again (I only took a trip there once in 8th grade) I can see my Phan Phriends who came from Canada. Phan weekend was a great experience, I'm happy I took part in it and hope to be a part of another gathering in the future.