>>  Bunny Diaries
27 June 2012: Michael's 50th Birthday
06/28/12 @ 02:53:27 am, Categories: General, 953 words   English (US)

We arrived at Stansted Airport at 11 pm, caught the train and got to Liverpool Street Station without any problems. Once we had disembarked the train we were greeted by several Sweeney posters which was ever so lovely. From there we needed to catch the tube to get to our hotel. We had just passed the ticket barriers when they announced that the final tube heading to the city center would be leaving in 2 minutes. This meant a little jog on our part, across two flights of stairs with the luggage. Thank heavens it was very light as we only came over for two nights. We had just about jumped into the train when the doors closed and it left the station. PHEW!

As it was the big day for not only the Ball but our Justy as well we were determined to get the new layout up and running. With internet being very temperamental this took till 4 am. But what can you do? Sight problem was that our room is right next to the breakfast room and from 7 am onwards people kept shutting doors and moving about quite noisily. Not much sleep then, but we were in London which was all that mattered.

The weather was lovely and we had great company while waiting at the stage door. A few minutes before he arrived we did a headcount: about 60 fans had come to congratulate Michael. It has to be said, the stage door was quite a relaxed affair. He even came walking down the street, took his time, even posed for photos and signed stuff. No struggling with coming to terms with the big 5-0. Just numbers, that’s what he said. We actually felt we had seen more of him this one day than we did in May when we had been over for almost a week. When he was in most people stayed behind and chatted with friends they hadn’t seen in a while and were basically having a great time. Suddenly he appeared at his dressing room window all dimpled smile and told us all to stop lurking and didn’t we have a home to go to – you can tell he was in a playful mood and so relaxed!

Once again we were amazed at all the slight changes we noticed since we had last seen it. They really are comfortable with their parts now, trying new things and approaches – adding gestures, changing the tone of individual scenes, just nuances that make quite a difference. We love watching a show evolve and cannot wait to be back a little while longer in July. Audience reaction was very enthusiastic but they did laugh at the weirdest moments. Actually that was quite strange – in both shows people laughed at inappropriate moments (for example when the beggar woman asks for alms) but at completely different scenes and moments. Standing ovation at the end for the leads.

The evening show was pure bliss. He had family in and undoubtedly other guests for the big day which meant an even more powerful performance than in the afternoon. This is such an amazing show and Epiphany still has us REALLY scared every single time. During the interval we wondered whether the cast would sing happy birthday at the curtain call – it was a very special day for Michael afterall but we wondered whether they might think the show itself doesn’t lend itself to something like this. So it got to the curtain call – audience was really wild. He was beaming at the ecstatic crowd when Imelda took a step forward and managed to get the entire theatre utterly quiet just with her finger pressed to her lips. Quite impressive. She then held a wonderful little speech saying some audience members know it but for those who didn’t she explained that it was a very special birthday for Michael, she wouldn’t say the number but put it this was that the “tricky teenage years” were over now. She praised his talent as a singer, called him dazzling and had him on the brink of tears with her heartfelt praise. He then received champagne and a beautiful bouquet of cream-coloured flowers. The mistress of ceremony then called all the backstage crew onstage to join the cast and the audience in a very festive rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”. Then John Bowe stepped forward and led the audience into three cheers of hip hip hooray for Michael. What an amazing sound it was when 1000+ people cheer as one! It was all done with such open affection and respect from both colleagues and audience members alike. What an appropriate way to celebrate this big milestone. We all left on a high.

Afterwards outside we expected mayhem, but it wasn’t, Just the normal after show stage door. He came out in a stunning suit (sorry, no pics, too dark) and said it was his birthday present to himself. A man of great taste, really it did look amazing. Fabric, cut, everything.

Again he took his time with everyone before he disappeared to his well-deserved birthday bash. It was so nice of him to give us all so much of his time when a party with friends and family awaited him – but that’s Michael for you.

We did have a little birthday party with Helge and Petra afterwards – no celebrity guests though;-)

And this is it – the big day has come and gone in a whirlwind. We are leaving London again in the afternoon. For once we are not too depressed though for we will be back in two weeks and then we will stay for 10 days. Whoop whoop! Counting down the days!

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