Birthday Bender

Being now the latter half of December, thoughts in my mind move beyond Christmas and toward my birthday. Generally I'll do very little for my birthday, preferring to do something like go for a few drinks with friends, usually to Devlin's on Whyte Ave to begin. Since that's not an option this time around, I've decided to go on a bender of sorts. A completely different bender than usual. A full-on London-style bender.

Yep, I'm going to hit some musical theatre shows.

Tickets are cheap and seat selections are decent at a couple discount/promotional sites I've come across of late. Thankfully these are sites run by proper, official theatre groups so they're not shady or anything. My birthday is on a Thursday this time around, and that's a good thing since some of the shows on my list only offer cheaper seats on weeknights.

A (roughly) yearly tradition of mine for the past few years has been to go see Henry Rollins at the Winspear Centre for his spoken word tour. He's quite the raconteur and unfortunately his Edmonton visit this year was in late October, after I'd left. Fortunately he's playing here at the Hammersmith Apollo on January 26, so I at least get to see the current tour, even if it's not at the regular venue. Once the bank card came in the mail and I was able to make purchases online I made sure I booked a ticket for that show.

And that's how this whole notion began.

In poking around, as noted above, discount tickets were plenty and available for good shows with good seats (some better than others). I did some thinking and some seat hunting and I've made bookings for a few shows in celebration of my birthday.

Wednesday, January 23 - I was able to score -- quite literally -- a front row centre seat for the Lord of the Rings musical. Reviews I've read have been mixed but mostly positive. It's allegedly one of the biggest and most costly productions mounted outside of Las Vegas, so the eye candy should be plentiful.

Thursday, January 24 - I've been wanting to see We Will Rock You for some time now, and while it's been running here for over 6 years (and obviously not going anywhere) I figured I might as well do it sooner than later, especially when a cheap seat can be had. It's a musical written by Queen (obviously) and Ben Elton (of Black Adder and The Young Ones fame) and since Queen is among my favourite bands this was a must-see.

Friday, January 25 - There was a realtiy TV competition broadcast here earlier this year on Saturday nights on BBC One called "Any Dream Will Do" in which hopefuls from around the UK vied for the lead role in a revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I think I made mention of this, at least to a degree, when I posted about seeing Dreamcoat a number of weeks ago. The person who won the Pop Idol-style competition was Lee Mead, and he was playing the lead role when I saw the production a few weeks back. Well, there are some weeks when he's on vacation and the understudy, Lewis Bradley (who finished third in "Any Dream...") is taking over the lead role. As I was able to watch some episodes of "Any Dream..." via YouTube and other means when it aired in the spring, I was keen to see others try the role and now I'll have that ability. I've booked a seat for one of Bradley's nights as lead in Dreamcoat and I look forward to the differences brought to the lead role.

Saturday, January 26 - Henry Rollins performs his spoken word event, as mentioned above.

So there we have it. A right proper London-style theatre bender. 4 nights of live performances, and while none of the tickets are exactly dirt cheap, none was over £25 including any service charges or postage for delivery (on average anyway, Dreamcoat was £27.50 but Rollins was £22.75), so it all adds up but it'll be a week to remember for sure!



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