yesterday afternoon, we had our magic 24 christmas party. i tell you what, this cast knows how to throw a par-tay. the green room was beautifully decorated, complete with a "fireplace" with sound effects and everything, stockings and a christmas tree with white-elephant gifts underneath it. there was quite a spread of delicious treats, covering two tables and two counters...
santa paid a visit...
we lined up and took turns sitting on his lap. i, of course, didn't pass up my opportunity to tell him what it is i wanted for christmas this year. "i want things to work out for my big brother to star in this t.v. show in china." santa promised that, "if he was a good boy, he'd see what he could do." of course, he's going to make it happen. haven't you ever seen miracle on 34th street?
santa's visit was magical. bill (our hades in "villains". he's brilliant) and his darling wife katherine are a professional "santa and santa's helper" duo. they are no joke. we're talking his suit cost $700 and he's the best santa i've ever seen in my life! he came in and gave every single one of us a hug and took pictures with everyone. again, we were all 5 years old all over again (this seems to be a reoccurring theme).
santa also oversaw our white elephant gift exchange. for my gift, i gave a $15 starbucks gift card and a ridiculous picture of myself in pigtails, with drawn-in unibrow and blacked-out teeth, which i signed "happy holidays! love, cinderella"...complete with the official cinderella signature. when ed, the director of twice charmed, chose my gift, claire and i just about peed our pants. it was too perfect. he's now threatened to keep it in his office forever. the gift was a hit...
following the gift exchange, santa, and his beautiful little helper, led us all in a christmas sing-along. he sure can tickle those ivories! santa can do it all.
we all just kept looking at each other asking, "how do you top this? this cast does it all!"
i feel so lucky to be here with this cast full of kind, charming, hilarious people. i love my new disney family. i love all of the toronto adventures i've had so far and the adventures that are certain to follow.
we began and finished "twice charmed"... all in a week and a half. it was quite the whirlwind. lots of character work still to do. but, it'll be fun. i'm really lucky to have a prince charming that i really enjoy. james larsen, you are the best!
in case you were wondering, i'm in heels. james is 6'6". yay for tall, dashing, performing boys.
about a week ago, our mainstage magic 24 cast had a character training with our resident character trainer bill sykes (i know, you can't hear it without thinking of the poor little orphan boy who just wanted some more porridge. and yes, that's actually his name.)
bill began the training by showing us a video of live footage capturing characters interacting with children. they were hugging and smiling and the images were set to a soundtrack of magical, heart-warming disney music.
after the video, bill shared personal stories of characters who went out of their way to reach out to children, changing their world forever. he shared stories of children overcoming cancer because they were promised that they'd get to "go back and see mickey again" were they to get better, and that dream gave them reason to live through each day of chemo.
faith plus a dream= miracles.
just as he finishes sharing these stories, tugging at our heart strings, magical music starts bursting out of the speakers in the room... and who should burst through the door but mickey, minnie, pluto, goofy, chip, dale, donald and daisy.
tears. just a room full of 14 fully-grown adults weeping tears of magical disney joy.
1. i have never been that close to these characters that i've grown up loving all my life.
and i tell you what... we were fully aware that our character cast had arrived a full week prior and had been rehearsing in secret next door, but for those 5 minutes of bliss, that was mickey freaking mouse. no man behind the mask. there was not a doubt in our minds that that was really him. it was magical.
2. i was filled with the greatest sense of pride and gratitude that, for the next year of my life, i get to be a part of this magic. the kind of magic that made us feel the way we did when mickey burst through that door. for the next 10 months, i get to help adults and children alike feel that every day as a i cruise around the world. my. job. is. the. bomb.
3. our character cast had stayed late into the evening hours rehearsing so that we wouldn't catch wind of the special appearance they gave us- learning dances that were never to be performed again on the ship or anywhere else. they did it just for us. so. neat.
magic 24 character cast, we love you guys! thanks for allowing me to be a 4 year old again for a full 5.23 minutes!
just before our "villains" rehearsals came to a close, a small group of us were taken to a big warehouse here in toronto. the building, formerly a movie theatre, has been converted into a large photo studio.
after being gussied up in our "doggie" fashions, the six of us girls were led out into the studio for a cruella photoshoot (villains has a "project cruella" section... a la "project runway"). we were led into a giant room where one of the corners, including the walls and the floor, had been freshly painted white. there was a large screen set up and cameras and lights everywhere.
we were each filmed/photographed individually in each of our fashions and then photographed together.
it was such a fun day. i'd never been a part of a photoshoot like that.
and, to top it all off, they fed us yummy ethiopian food for lunch. i love the diversity of toronto.
a few weeks ago i saw GaGa in concert with these lovely people...
(andrew, moi, john and zach)
the concert was everything i had hoped it would be. i'm a big GaGa fan.
the concert was...
in two words... performance art
favorite quote of the night, "people ask me what it feels like to know that some people will hate what i do. and i tell them, 'i don't care if my fans love me. i care if my fans love themselves.'"
a lot of people think that GaGa is some un-talented, outlandish performer who does crazy things just to get attention. they simply don't understand that she is absolutely brilliant. she does what she does because growing up, she felt out of place. she felt like a "monster" of sorts. and she wants her fans to feel that they're accepted. that they're not alone.
besides that, you should hear her acoustic stuff on the piano. brilliant. her voice is amazing and she is a brilliant musician.
i love that i got to experience the brilliance of GaGa with my boys in toronto