Believe it or not, even as a multitasking fangirl of an assortment of things and people, I don’t know how to ask for photos or autographs, or linger at a place to wait for people to make an appearance. Truly I don’t and never have.
And that’s something else I’ve learned from the musical Wicked. Before the show began, we happened to catch the tour bus arriving at the artists’ entrance. Did I approach the cast, take pictures, ask them to sign anything? Nope. I just stood there. (To be fair, though, I know all about the hustle and bustle involved to prepare for a show and figured they shouldn’t be bothered.) One of the actors walked past me, nearly bumped me, and apologized. I mumbled, “That’s all right.”
After the show, when one of my favorite friends suggested we meet the cast at the stage door, I didn’t know what to do. I had no camera on hand, no pen, no confidence (mostly this) . . . only a measly programme. I nearly ran away twice.
At this point my friend had to intervene and approach a girl gripping a pen (aha!) and also hesitating. He asked her if he could help by making sure she got the Wizard’s autograph . . . as long as she also lent us her pen. Haha! It worked! The Wizard, Jay Laga’aia (screen credits: Star Wars Ep. 1 & 2, Xena, Legend of the Seeker) turned out to be a very accommodating man, and he even asked for my name.
This gave me renewed hope and though most of the cast had already, by this time, gone into the tour bus, Galinda and Elphaba were still due to emerge. Obviously, they were what most of the crowd were lingering about for. But anticipating it would take some time, I started eyeing some of the relatively low-profile (in that nobody was asking for their photos/autographs) dudes coming out of the stage door. I spotted a very tall young man, and thinking he might have been in the ensemble, I approached him (anxiously) with that question.
He laughed. I relaxed; he had kind eyes. “No, I’m the sound guy,” he said. I congratulated him on the quality of sound during the show and meant it. I suppose because there was no pressure, him not being one of the “stars” to get starstruck by, I managed to get a conversation going. I found out that they were the same sound team from the Phantom of the Opera, which I’d seen the previous year. A lot of this cast (mostly ensemble) were the same people in Cats (which I’d also seen) and Love Never Dies.
We kept on chatting until the tour bus arrived, at which point I realized I’d never asked for his name. It occurred to him first (see how nice he was?), so after introducing ourselves I wished him a merry rest-of-the-tour and that I hoped to see more of their team’s productions, possibly next year. (His name was Nick—Nicolas Hammond, Head of Sound, has worked in this field in musicals since 2006. Thanks, Internet.)
This encounter with such a pleasant person warmed me, and just in time. At this point, also, the actresses playing Elphaba and Galinda were finally emerging from the stage door. I found it in me to approach and ask if I could shake their hands. They were sweet and equally accommodating to the waiting crowd, especially to their younger fans. I was relieved and delighted to see this. Not that it would have taken anything away from the beauty of the musical if they’d turned out to be stuck-up divas, but because they were not, my first real “fangirl” experience was in all aspects rewarding.
I suppose, like everything else, fangirling only takes practice. I can’t wait to do it again.