Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

Yes, that is me and Travis with Tom Hanks. This was one of the craziest, most surreal experiences I've ever had! Let me explain how we ended up here:

On Monday, Travis and I drove over to LA to attend the 20th anniversary of "Simply Shakespeare," a celebrity reading of a Shakespeare comedy that raises money for The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are the chairs of this event each year. We got tickets from Cameron and Peggi, Travis' brother and sister-in-law, because they couldn't make it. They got the tickets because they bid on them at an auction and fundraiser.

The reading was at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. We found a hotel on Priceline as we were driving into LA and stopped there to change and freshen up. The theatre was full of well-to-do, LA-based, upper-crust patrons. I felt a little out of place.......but was thrilled to be there.

We found our seats, we had great seats on the Orchestra level, and listened to the music of Jackson Browne while we waited for the show to begin. Then, Rita Wilson, Julia Roberts, Helen Hunt and Nikki Reed came out on the stage. They danced around then came down into the audience and then exited. They came back with the rest of the celebrity cast, including Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Keanu Reeves, Dana Carvey, Martin Sheen and other faces I recognized from TV and movies. They proceeded to do a script reading of "Much Ado About Nothing."

After a little while, some of the actors started making jokes and ad libbing a bit. Tom Hanks and Dana Carvey were the funniest. Dana Carvey did all his voice impressions of Pres. Bush and W. He did stuff from SNL and Forrest Gump. It was hilarious. One of the cast members pulled out a picture of Woody from Toy Story 3 and asked for an autograph. Tom Hanks did a small plug for the upcoming movie.

When the show was over, a dessert reception in the lobby followed. We hung out a while, hoping to see a few of the celebrity cast. I had just fixed a plate of treats, when Travis grabbed me and told me to put my food down. A group of kids and their leaders were being ushered back into the theatre. We joined them as if we were with them. They sat down on the second row and Tom Hanks came over to talk to them. We waited until he was done, then I said, "Mr. Hanks, my sister-in-law gave me her ticket and all she asked me was to get your autograph and a picture with you. Would you mind?" Tom Hanks was so kind and friendly, and invited us up on the stage. He talked to us for a couple minutes and was extremely engaging. It was amazing!

This is me with Rita Wilson and Jackson Browne (musician). Rita is such a sweet lady: (do I look a little giddy?)
Travis with Ewan McGregor (Travis wished he had a light saber for him to autograph):
Me with Keanu Reeves:
The whole cast on stage: (check out Julia Roberts on the far left)
Nikki Reed is in the center (in a dress) and Dana Carvey is far right:
Is that unbelievable, or what? Man, it's so much fun hobnobbing with the rich and famous.
Sign me up to do it again next year.......