La la la la la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Yes, we are all “warmed up” for our Lyric Opera House backstage tour!! Every time Tina has been here we have walked by and said, “we need to go inside” … but then when we try, it’s closed up tight. So, this time we were ready! We had our tickets in hand and nothing was going to keep us from seeing this building from the inside!!
But first, let me tell you about the outside. It will be a little hard to tell but imagine this building as looking like a living room “arm chair” … you can see the back of chair (the very center of the building) and then the 2 arms (the shorter parts of the building on each side). Between the 2 arms is the seat part of the chair. Do you see it now?
The building was built in 1929 and this is how the story goes: Once upon a time there was a man who loved the opera … and it’s stars! He had a particular liking to one of the opera singers, but for some reason, she was just never “good enough” to be cast in the starring role. Time and again she auditioned, and time and again he paid big money for “advertising,” however, she was never chosen as Carmen, or La Boheme, or even Madam Butterfly by the New York Metropolitan Opera. Apparently, because he was married, she was shunned … oh yes she was! So in a fitful rage, he decided to build his mistress her own opera house to star in! Oh, yes, he did … in Chicago! The “chair” faces west with it’s “back” facing east … which was meant as a symbolic insult to the NYMO and his “turning his back” on New York never to return again! The End! Probably all “urban legend” but it made for a pretty juicy story, right? Hey, maybe I should start writing operas?!?!
Well our tour wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was pretty fabulous indeed. We began in the “Great Lobby” and ended in the “House Seats” and visited every nook and cranny in between! We saw the costumes for the “King & I” and makeup artists at work on wigs and “bald caps.” We went into dressing rooms with doors as high as 12 feet so that the characters’ wigs could go in and out of the doors without accidentally taking off their heads! We climbed the cat walk 6 stories up and sang on stage (well, we might have hummed!)
We learned that from the “cat walk” (6 stories up inside this great stage!), all of the set changes are made by hand … in other words, no computer generated screens or buttons to push to move the scenes. No, all of these are still moved by manual labor. People standing and pulling up these huge cables or letting them down for a new scene. It was incredible to watch and interesting to learn that this is the last “house” that uses manual labor. All other houses in the U.S. are now computerized … (Oh boy, we know what that means!).
Our tour guide was a song full of knowledge and was able to make the stage come alive! We could just see the dancing and hear the music every time we turned a corner! To actually be on the stage and imagine the characters looking out at us as we watch their every move, will make our next show even that much more memorable. I’m not sure if every “Opera House” is like this one, but this one is pretty special! You just have to see it!
This was an unforgettable tour to be sure! If you’ve ever been to an opera production or any type of musical or theatrical production, you would appreciate seeing it from their eyes, on stage. What a great experience that was!
After all that la-la-la-ing, we were practically skipping along to our next destination! We had places to go and songs to sing! But first … I know, you know … we are hungry!! Haha!! So we hopped off the bus at a little diner called “Elly’s Pancake House” and ordered their seasonal special!
This was a whole bunch of scrumptious!! Blackberry Stuffed French Toast with some fancy ricotta “creme” in the middle!
Isn’t it beautiful? Well it was even tastier than it looks!! Heaven berries on earth!!
We decided it was going to be our meal for the day! It was so pretty we almost didn’t want to eat it … but alas, we did our best!!
After that, we had some steps to log. So let’s get hummin’ along!!
Across the street from “Elly’s,” we found the Chicago History Museum and took a peek inside.
We got there a little later than our targeted arrival time, so we weren’t able to go into the exhibits this time. We scouted out the lobby and found some fun, historical, and memorable facts about the city of Chicago.
This looks like a really cool museum, so we’ll definitely be back here. We should visit it when you’re here!!
After that we walked across the street again and found the Lincoln Park Conservatory. This is now our second conservatory visit in the city. Who knew that one city would have two fabulous conservatories.
The best thing about this one was their “Dinosaur Garden.” It was so fun and creative! We had a great time searching for all the dinosaurs!!
Did you see them? They are the “live version” of Sue!! Haha! And, of course, you can never get enough of beautiful flowers, can you?
When you’re in a space like this, it’s peaceful and serene, and gives you an opportunity to remember and be thankful for the artistry of God’s hand!
Talk to you tomorrow!