>>  Bunny Diaries
Saturday Evening
07/26/09 @ 04:52:20 am, Categories: General, 894 words   English (US)

After a refreshing 5 hours of sleep we’re back to tell you the rest of what happened on Saturday.

Once Michael had got inside and the masses had cleared slightly we remained in our pole position spot next to the door. It was wonderful to see the cast arrive and tell each and everyone of them individually how much we enjoyed their talent and saying good-bye.

When we returned for the evening we saw so many familiar faces in the audience, it almost felt like a tour concert. Cathy was in the audience of course as was Phil Bowdery (Michael’s manager). We sat in the first two seats of row K. After being used to front rows this seemed to be incredibly far away, but they turned out to be good seats with a good view and the added bonus: For the finale Leanne, Ben and Adrian stand right next to you, waiting for their big entrance.

As far as Hairspray performances go this one surely was one of the best we have seen so far. Even more energetic and rousing than usual. The audience reactions were fantastic. Everyone seemed determined to give the three leads the farewell they deserve. When we came to “you can’t stop the beat” Leanne was in tears and Ben was struggling. They stopped the show right before Tracy tells everyone to dance with her.

We had a preview of what was coming for the cast as a group of theatre staff had lined up next to us, each one of them with a large bouquet in their hands. One of the Hairspray producers then got on stage and held a moving speech about their three leads leaving and how their talent had made Hairspray the phenomenon that it was today. Tears all around at this point.

then one after the other of the theatre staff walked on stage and handed over 600 roses, one for each of the performances. And then poor Michael had to give a speech, which was not easy for him, you could tell. But Ben and Leanne looked even more shaken, so he spoke on their behalf as well. Naturally the whole audience was on their feet by now.

He talked about what this experience has meant for him, how wonderful everyone on stage AND backstage had been. That the audiences were fantastic and on a personal note he said his thank you for the support he had at the home front. He knew that coming to terms with this (indicating Edna’s fabulous finale styling) he jokingly thanked Cathy for the loan of the clothes. By now he could hardly speak for tears and one had to fight the urge to rush on stage and give him a big hug.

After all this both, Leanne and Ben, had gathered themselves enough to say a few words of thanks and they told us how Hairspray would always mean so very much to them. Leanne said how this has been living her dream and now it was all over. Michael had his hand on her shoulder and said “It’s only the beginning!". It was quite a scene to behold. And then they all took a deep breath and finished the song with everyone dancing in the aisles and that was it. 21 months over like a shot.

When we all gathered outside of the theatre facing the window where we knew Michael was due to appear the three security guards struggled enormously to move the crowd further up the street. Everyone wanted to have a clear view and would not budge. As seen before many cast members were taking photographs of the masses clearly enjoying the spectacle.

And after a bit of a wait Michael appeared in the window looking incredibly handsome in a black suit (William Hunt, Savile Row) and black shirt. He held a very sweet speech, thanked us all and on popular demand even sang a bit with us (We’ll meet again). He then said he is off to the best party of his life and is determined to drink on everyone of us, individually.

A few moments later he left the stage door and fought his way through the crowd to his car. Just like this afternoon he held another little speech while standing slightly raised holding onto the railing of the car. Finally he asked whether he could do a little Moses and part the masses. It did the trick and he drove off into the night. Michael Ball had left the building.

Not being able to let go just yet we lingered at the stage door and had the opportunity to say our last good-byes to Adrian and Ben, but sadly did not catch Leanne leaving. When the car returned to pick up Andrew he lowered the window to wave good-bye to the remaining crowd. We still could not tear ourselves away from the theatre and eventually stayed longer than the security guards. The police line was cut, all lines went out… The end of an era.

Sitting on our hotel bed the truth still has not quite sunk in yet. No more Hairspray. No more prescription free anti-depressant. No more Edna - No more? Upon leaving Michael asked us, whether we thought we had seen the last of Edna Turnblad and hinted “Probably not!” We live in hope.

Take care,

The Bunnies

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After the Ball is over
07/25/09 @ 09:37:01 pm, Categories: General, 977 words   English (US)

We are sitting in our hotel room and it is half past 2… again. But we did not want to go to sleep without giving you some information on last nights events.

A few words of explanation for the stage door photos. When we started queuing for the stage door not 20 minutes had past before a hand full of builders arrived and they started to tear bits of the street apart. This involved considerable amount of noise, dust and smell. We could not believe it. Today of all days. Luckily the works did not take long. Also you will find photos of our police escort and we had a real police line up at the entrance of Grape Street. So we have caught a few impressions for you.

But now back to the matinee. We promised to tell you in detail about the little pranks in the show. So this is what we saw and can remember, but be aware, some of it might sound ridiculous, if you have not seen the show:

• Tracy wore pink socks with white hearts on them.
• Roll call at “Nicest kids in town”: Link ripped open his shirt and showed us his sixpack. Quite a nice view.
• Turnblad family living room: We have Michael Ball merchandise plate on the shelf, as well as a Michael Ball mug and Edna was ironing a Michael Ball pillowcase.
• “I can hear the bells”: Tracy’s final note is interrupted by a quick kiss from Link, which she clearly did not expect.
• Same scene: Edna had a little soft toy dog in her handbag. A bit like Paris Hilton come Balti-moron
• “Mama I’m a big girl now”: Tracy writes “I love Link” on her mirror with lipstick, no less.
• Same song: sprays her mum with almost the entire contents of the hairspray can and gets slapped on the bottom for it.
• “It takes two”: at the end of the song Tracy always pulled her skirt up, panting at gorgeous Link. Well this time, she actually pulled it all the way up to the waist line and revealed her black thong. She also nearly fainted when they kissed and poor Link had to drag her off stage.
• “Welcome to the 60s”: The Jelly Donuts were served on a Michael Ball merchandise plate and one of the Dynamites kissed it.
• Same song: Link entered the stage instead of one of the dancers. He had only a very vague idea of what he was doing.
• Same song: Tracy signed her autographs with a hot dog.
• Same song at the beginning: Edna wears something black under her housedress. We could not clearly see what, unfortunately.
• Dirty Boogie: well this is not easy to explain, but we will have a try: Usually Tracy and Link dance together, but this time Link found Tracy basking on one of the props (the platter display). So instead of dancing with her, he boogied with the display and had to lift her from it, in the end, both chuckling.
• Same Scene: When Lil Inez and Tracy meet they shake hands. This time Tracy simply would not let go of Inez’ hand and kept shaking.
• Doll House: Edna gropes Velma more than usual, which leads to Velma groping back
• Same Scene: Tracy steals Penny’s harmonica
• Same Scene: Edna does a far bigger money note at the end of the song – to die for.
• Timeless to me: When Wilbur closes up and the rubber chicken falls down Edna exclaims: “It’s a puppet!”. As we know by now, this was Brian Conley’s (Michael’s successor) catchphrase in his TV show.
• Same Scene: Photo of Michael on the shelf (the mouse-mat, we believe it was)
• Same Scene: When Wilbur shows the miniature version of the big hairspray can, there is a little teddy-bear inside, sporting a Michael Ball T-Shirt.
• Same Scene: Wilbur: “Shabbat Shalom” – Edna: “What?” – Wilbur: “It’s jewish for kiss me again!” – Edna “Are you sure?” Then Wilbur nods and Edna gets out some mouth spray for her and for Wilbur. Followed by a long, long kiss. Edna breaks off, panting, breathing “beautiful”
• Same Scene: When Wilbur is giggling behind her Edna comments her usual “Be Strong” and adds “It’s so nearly almost over!”
• Before “I know where I’ve been”: When Tracy remarks to Link “You could go to prison for what you did tonight!” and he hastily explains “Only for a space in the back of a cab, I swear.” Seaweed simply refused to congratulate his mate and just stands in the back with his sister, leaving Link all alone in the front of the stage, looking lost and a little bit heartbroken.
• “Hairspray”: Andrew pushes the Hairspray can on stage wearing a Michael Ball apron
• “You can’t stop the beat”: Edna wore several bits of decoration in her hair. A golden star, red fairy lights and lots more.
• Same Scene at the very end: Extremely long and intense snog between Link and Tracy, where she almost faints.

So this was all we remember at the moment and we are rather sure there was more stuff going on. Let’s just say it was hilarious and much more than we anticipated.

Afterwards the crowd on Grape Street was enormous. As promised Michael appeared at one of the windows wearing his “The Dogfather” t-shirt. He had said he would not sign anything, but could not refuse one fan and consequently ended up doing an impromptu windowsill signing session. At one point he remarked, that he wondered what happened, if he fell out of the window right now, as he was fairly high up. This did not seem to bother the crowd standing underneath, as they kept handing programms to one of the security guys to hand over to Michael.

Time for Bedfordshire. Enjoy the photos. And we will speak tomorrow.

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Mayhem!
07/25/09 @ 12:47:56 pm, Categories: General, 263 words   English (US)

We have just returned to our hotel room to get changed. What an experience!

The stage door road (feels more like a lane) was blocked off by a police line for today. Thank god for that! What a crowd, plus a camera team, filming material for Michael’s new DVD And three security guards AND two police cars! All this for a man coming to work on his last day in the job!

The matinée was SUCH good fun! We will report properly tonight (to cheer ourselves up)…but let’s say this: we now know how Ben’s chest looks like without a shirt blocking the view (rather delicious, it has to be said), we also know the entire range of MB merchandise and how Michael sounds when he is panting with… how shall we put it? delight perhaps…

It was hysterical! We took notes, so will get back to you with all the (gory) details.

Between shows Michael leaned out of one of the theatre windows. he said he’d not sign anything as there were far too many people there, but just like when he arrived, one pleading fan succeeded in begging him into signing her programme and then mayhem broke lose and the poor man was trapped signing dozens of programmes for people. A security guard had to hold them up for him, so he could lean on the window sill and sign away. What a spectacle. Loads of photos to follow…

But now we have to go as Michael put it so neatly: “tonight is for real".

Talk to you later!

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The day is here...
07/25/09 @ 03:26:50 am, Categories: General, 1015 words   English (US)

Sorry about the delay in reporting about yesterday’s events. We were too excited to just go to the hotel (okay, the truth is: we couldn’t bear the thought that Friday was over already), so we made the somewhat mad decision to go and see a late night screening of Harry Potter 6 before we had to face the inevitable: go to bed and wake up to find out it’s Saturday. (If you haven’t already seen it, go and watch the movie, it’s fab!)

Friday, 24 July 2009:

The first surprise came at 10:30 am when we walked past the Facebook group who are q-ing since Thursday and they told us only a hand full of people had turned up for the day seats this morning. There would still be some available surely. Well…you know, yes, we had booked seats (and excellent ones,too) but we couldn’t miss the chance to have another front row, could we? So yeah, as many of you will guess we dashed into the theatre and got our day seats. One last front row before it was all over. Yipee! Also it would be a different perspective, as we were placed on the non-Michael side of the stage (ideal for Leanne, Ben and Adrian though).

Our little walk through London afterwards was interrupted by a heavy shower on Trafalgar Square, but the view from the National Gallery onto the pouring rain was somewhat impressive, so it didn’t matter (apart from the fretting about having yet another wet stage door, of course).

We got there early enough to secure a space next to the door. Luckily Leanne was there really early to do some last minute sorting out of dressing rooms and party dresses. She is such a sweet girl. we chatted for a bit and after months of carrying two Hairspray posters with us we finally got round to asking her to sign them (talk about cutting it fine!).

She told us about being in Panto in December and playing a Tracy fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk in December. She will be singing Hairspray songs. She was sad that Verity would be off that day, but she’d be back for the last day.

After a while more Michael fans turned up, but surprisingly enough there weren’t too many of us. It was a fairly manageable crowd. As is usual for a Friday Michael turned up early and looked incredible in a dark blue jacket and light shirt (see photos for proof). He positioned himself in front of the door, so we all could get a good view of him. Some last minute signing and photo taking, talking about the madness of Saturday and how he plans to come to one of the windows instead of fighting his way through was was going to be a massive crowd. We agreed that this was a good plan and found out that the little balcony we had hoped he’d stand on did not actually belong to the theatre (sad, we hoped for an Evita pose).

When he looked around, asking if people wanted anything from him and saw all the familiar faces he just said “You don’t want anything signed from me, you see me all the time!” But some of us actually did. He also asked us, whether we liked his new jacket. Indeed we did. And we had already guessed it was brand new, because the plastic thingy that holds the price tag was still in place on the sleeve. When we pointed that out to him he did not go inside to cut it off, oh no. He actually bid it off there and then. Lucky plastic thingy….

The show:

We already knew Verity was off, but were sad to find out Sandra was as well. But what can you do? As long as it meant she was going to be back on Saturday we did not mind too much. Apart from a few timing issues everything went really smoothly and we enjoyed the experience of seeing a “different” show on the other side of the auditorium. Some views we will never forget (the word thigh comes to mind…..). The audience was not as lively as we’d hoped, but still very enthusiastic at the end.

Stage door:

…. afterwards was madness, again. Especially when some tall blond guy (not Michael) left the theatre and pandemonium broke loose. We stood there, completely baffled, when everyone around us erupted in hysteria. When girl even turned around and screamed “i stepped on (what’s his name) foot” Thankfully Gill and Maureen came to our rescue and explained the mystery celebrity was Louis Walsh, a judge of the TV show X-Factor and former manager of …. we think Westlife… or was it Boyzone? Gosh, sorry, we are use there.

Shortly afterwards Cathy left the theatre (looking stunning as ever) and then there he was. Gorgeous Mr. Ball on a run. The bigger the crowds and the more pushy they get, the quicker he is off. So you can imagine he was gone like a shot. Mind you, due to a mini traffic jam his car did not get very far. A van in front of him could not drive on due to the Ben fans blocking the street. it got to the point, when Michael actually opened the door of his car again and laughingly shouted “will you let us through please? I need to get home!”

We lingered at the stage door for a little bit longer to soak up as much of the atmosphere as possible. we were very surprised to find Ben was still there talking to fans and it turned out he was also doing some last minute clearing of his dressing room. We had a quick chat and he was very sweet thanking us for being around all the time and so on. we actually helped him and held open the door, when he was carrying out arm fulls of stuff (but no mirror ;), thankfully. And that was it. Our last stage door before the final day. The countdown had started.

Saturday here we come.

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The story continues
07/24/09 @ 06:40:03 am, Categories: General, 644 words   English (US)

So here we are again. Let’s see, where did we stop? Stage door, right? The matinee was about to begin and we learned why this was the first of a series of emotional performances: It was Charlotte Riby’s last time as Tracy. Seeing that Chloe Hart, who will take over from Leanne, is contracted for 8 shows a week, Charlotte will only have to come on stage in the unlikely event of Chloe being off sick. You may know that at the moment Charlotte had a regular spot as Tracy at the Thursday matinée.

You could tell form the first few notes into Good Morning Baltimore that she was determined to make the most of her possible last stint as Tracy. She really gave it her all. It was such a joy to watch (if you managed to forget the reason for all this exuberance)… She was making the most of the part and was infectious to everyone on stage.

“It takes two” was a killer. You know, when Link and Tracy end the song together and Tracy lifts her skirt a bit. Well this time it was not only a bit, but it got up, all the way. Ben could hardly finish the song.

Still: All was well until we got to I Know Where I’ve Been when Charlotte was in tears. Well up moment…

By the time we were almost through with You Can’t Stop the Beat there were many wet eyes on stage and in the audience and poor Charlotte struggled to get the words “come on everybody,let’s dance!” out properly for tears. And seeing Michael on the brink of tears did not exactly help either.

We are happy to report though that she got the enthusiastic send off she really deserved. The place was erupting with applause and everyone was on their feet. It was just fabulous. What this will mean for Saturday… gosh, we really do not want to think about that just yet.

Afterwards we got to the stage door on the other side of the street, just to catch a glimpse of Michael. Unfortunately for quite a number of fans of Michael and the show there were some autograph hunters, who just would not go away, but managed to get signature after signature. Even crossing the little barrier that was put up. Thankfully Andrew told him off for that… still, it was quite annoying, as it was really crowded there anyway.

Evening show:

Of course we were back for the evening show and we were quite sad, as this was supposed to be our final front row seats :( and after the show half of our final Hairspray week would be over.

Within all of the 34 shows we have seen so far hardly anything went wrong. however, when we got to “It takes two” Link got on stage and instead of the immaculate hairdo, one streak of his hair was pointing skywards. We could not help, but laugh and neither could Leanne. She even tried to smooth it down, during the song, but as he was unaware of the problem, he simply backed away all the time. LOL, poor boy, did not have the slightest idea why everyone kept laughing.

Nothing much more happened, well of course the show was brilliant as ever, but that’s not really a surprise. The stage door afterwards was complete madness, as you can imagine. As Michael has to clear his dressing room until Saturday evening, you can imagine Andrew has already started taking stuff out every night. The highlight was a huge mirror he had to get out yesterday. So big, it would not fit the Mercedes boot and had to travel in the backseat eventually. We felt for Andrew who had to brave the crowds several times and they would not move one inch.

Four down, three to go :'(

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It's getting emotional
07/23/09 @ 06:35:56 pm, Categories: General, 441 words   English (US)

Thursday, 23 July 2009:

Our day began at six in the morning for we had to get ready to join the queue for the day tickets. When we arrived a few minutes later there were already seven people in front of us and we knew we were in for a busy day… and a very long wait, make that… a couple of long waits. But you know what? We will miss it. Even the four hours in the cold wind. Admittedly, it did not help that we found out about an hour later that our flight for the tour (actually to the tour) was canceled. But somehow the tour seems so far away right now. It’s all a bit surreal and we will get there somehow, sometime.

When we finally got our tickets we saw the beginning of the queue for the Saturday shows (Yes, it was only Thursday - morning even). Boy, how glad are we to have tickets for the Saturday. If queuing for four hours seems long, imagine two whole days….

The stage door itself was madness, but not because of the fans (we all behaved and were less people than anticipated, but the cars are a completely different story. We had never experienced the street that busy and we have been there many times. Most of the time we spent snuggling up to each other to avoid being run over by everything from motorcycles to huge coaches.

when the clock showed 1:45pm we knew he’d do a runner (they all have to be in at 2pm at the latest for matinee days). When he still was not there at 1.55pm we knew he’d be fast as lightning and how right we were. He came dashing down the street.. a minute to two. He did not get very far, mind you. As soon as he was spotted at the end of the street fans ran to him begging for autographs and photos. so he tried to oblige them all while at the same time dashing to the door and begging everyone, if at all possible, could they please come back at another time. But you know what it’s like. He still had to sign quite a few programms and posed for a number of photos. Poor thing.

He was wearing a nice white shirt and looked very dishy altogether (see photos for proof).

So that was it. Our final pre-thursday matinee stage door. A quickie. Seeing we are very very tired after a long long day, we will tell you all about the two shows tomorrow morning. Please bear with us and enjoy the photos in the meantime.

Good night.

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We're back
07/22/09 @ 06:31:36 pm, Categories: General, 596 words   English (US)

Whenever there is no daily calendar you know that we are either in London or have a problem with Justy. This time luckily it was due to us being in London… once again. We did not have internet access yesterday, but have now moved into a hotel with wifi… Hoooray. So let’s fill you in on the last two days.

Tuesday, 21/07/2009

We won’t bother you with all the boring travel details. Everything went relatively smooth. As we had tickets pre-booked for the night we did not have to worry about dayticketing. So we arrived at the stage door rather early and at this point denial was no longer an option: It was definately raining.

After a considerable wait, when several more fans had arrived you could barely see anything, apart from multicoloured umbrellas. But what can you do? As always the waiting paid off. When Michael arrived he looked drop dead gorgeous (see photos for proof) and informed us, that he would be going out tonight. As it was still raining and there was quite a crowd the car dropped him off close to the stage door. He did not last long, but still stopped to chat a bit to say how sad he was. The final week. He posed for pictures and one of his first sentences was “It’s raining.” Yeah, right. we noticed as much.

Watching him walk into the theater gave us the feeling of being back home again, Grape Street has become the Bunnies natural habitat.

The Show:

For us it was a blow to hear that Ben would be off this evening. Michael Steedon was his understudy and he did rather well considering it was only his third show as Link. Everybody else was in top form albeit you could tell that something was different. They all had said to us that it felt really surreal backstage. Only one week to go.

One thing that was slightly wrong happened during “I can hear the bells". When Tracy sings “my mother starts to cry” there was no mother in sight. After two more lines we got a bit worried, but then thankfully she appeared, crying dutifully.

It is amazing how well choreographed this show is. We still keep discovering new bits and pieces happening in the background. And we have seen the show for…. 32 times… we think (and no, this is not nearly enough!)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

No rain! When we arrived at the stage door, we discovered that they had the builders in and consequently one side of the already narrow sidewalk was closed. So we could only stand on one side of the stage door. It got quite cosy after a while with more and more people arriving. After quite a long wait Michael walked down the street, looking rather dishy with sunglasses and a black jacket (see again photos for proof).

You have to excuse the lack of information concerning the things he said upon arrival, but for us it is all a blur. He’s just too handsome at the moment. sorry.

The Show:

Ben was back, but then Verity (Penny) was unfortunately off. That was quite a blow, for we love Verity. Everything went fine and we had such a wonderful time. Oh, how we will miss Hairspray. After the show there was a rather large crowd waiting for everyone. And after a while they started singing songs from the show and they were really good. So when Michael came out, he actually joined them for a bit. Two down, five to go and we will keep you posted.

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