When I was in college my mom and her friends would buy the Broadway in Chicago theater packages and I was invited for the sole reason that they all worked downtown and my mom didn’t, so she would need a ride to meet them because the Metra intimidated her. I always graciously declined their requests but still drove my mom downtown dropped her off at the AON building where her best friend Colette would meet her. It wasn’t long before they convinced me to stay for dinner so I wouldn’t get stuck in rush hour traffic. After dinner I would head home as they headed to the theatre. One day my mom said she wanted to take the train but only if I would take it with her so she could become more comfortable with it, so this time I said I would join them for the show, it was Mama Mia. That night I fell in love with Broadway. The costumes, the make-up, the music, the scenery, the theatres, the orchestra, everything! I was in awe. It was amazing. It became a theatre ritual, my dad would drop my mom and me off at the train station and we would embark on the forty five minute train ride downtown. Once down there we would walk to whatever restaurant we were meeting her friends, enjoy a refreshing glass of wine, dine on delicious food, enjoy the show, then hike it back to the parking garage for Colette to drive us home. We would rave about the great shows and criticize the not so great but whether they were good or not we always had a wonderful time. About nine years ago Collette passed and the theater scene was almost forgotten, she bought the tickets, picked the restaurants, and provided transportation. It just wasn’t the same without her, Broadway and I broke up.
Then my mom called one night and asked did you see the promos for the play Wicked? It’s supposed to be good; the reviews are great, do you want to go see it? I looked it up online and eagerly purchased our tickets and made a reservation at one of our favorite restaurants. We were going, just the two of us, we had a delightful dinner, we laughed and Mom cried just a bit. Wicked was perfect, and my love for Broadway had been rekindled. I knew at that moment this would still be our tradition, and girls Broadway night was back. Eventually a friend of mine started joining us and convinced me to see Mary Poppins, a show my mom wanted to see but I didn’t, even though I went in protest I was blown away at the scenery and performance. Our pair had grown into three and then it happened again, our group expanded as her mom joined too, and then another mutual friend and her mom, and then a few more friends. We’ve seen so many shows that sometimes I forget which ones we have seen. If they are really good we see them again when they make their way back to Chicago. It’s just like before, the faces may have changed but the tradition remains and so does my love affair with Broadway.