That night I traveled back to 1984… and had the absolute time of my life

Okay, so I know my blog has been pretty John Hughes-heavy lately, but… sorry not sorry, because this was just too good not to write about.

IMG_6998On Saturday evening, after a brutal nine hour shift and a pretty rough week, my friend and I decided to check out DBA’s For the Record: Dear John Hughes in West Hollywood. (And when I say “decided to check out” I mean bought our tickets weeks ago and couldn’t wait…)

Anyway, so I had heard about the series, and all of the cool things they had going on at DBA, but I didn’t really know what to expect, never having seen one of their shows, or even a cabaret in general. Let me just state for the record, I was not disappointed.

The very first thing I noticed was the playful window display out front, full of disco balls and an electric broadcasting of one of Bender’s most memorable lines from The Breakfast Club: “You couldn’t ignore me if you tried.” I was immediately excited.

IMG_7001Then, as we were shown to our seats one of the hostesses – who was impeccably dressed in rad Eighties attire – cooly said: “Welcome to the 80s.” Well, my friend, we were super pumped to be there.

We were then given a themed menu – and you know I love a good themed menu – and, upon reading, we were absolutely tickled at the amazing array of Eighties-inspired cocktails and treats.

Drinks ranged from the 1984 – a bubbly pink dream with gin, champagne, St-Germain Elderflower, and cranberry – to a potent blend of Jameson, Cafe Lolita, Disaronno, and Orange Bitterness, aptly called: On a Bender.

By way of snacks my friend opted to indulge in “movie night,” which was a blast from the past serving of Jiffy Pop, made fresh. And I – the sweet tooth that I am – chose “sugar high,” a brown bagged lunch of classic 80s candies.

IMG_7002But as giddy as we were over the fun, themed snacks – and delicious cocktails – we had no idea what was in store for us once the show actually started.

The performers energetically took the stage to the tune of Simple Mind’s “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” with one actor – Mr. – playing as Mr. Vernon, gave us all the rules of the show.

See, the show was broken down into five chapters – chapters that covered material from John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – and it all began with the story of The Princess & The Jock.

IMG_7004The theater was smaller than my friend and I had anticipated, but not in a bad way. The actors spent the show, of course, occupying the main, circular stage in the center, but also dancing through the audience, and on smaller stages behind tables throughout the room, by the bar, and at the back.

It’s a 360 degree show, and often interactive… to the misfortune of one girl sitting front and center, who had to suffer through The Criminal’s “Are you a virgin?” monologue (…”Over the bra, under the blouse, shoes off…hoping to God your parents don’t walk in?)… as she sat next to her mother. Oi.

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My haul of fun Eighties candy from the “sugar high” snack

It’s also been quite the week to be a Pretty in Pink fan, as following Jon Cryer’s amazing recreation of his iconic “Try a Little Tenderness” dance I watched Michael Thomas Grant absolutely kill FTR’s version of my favorite scene.

However, I would be remiss if his was the only name that I mentioned. The talent of the entire cast was overwhelming. You couldn’t watch Evan Rachel Wood perform “Left of Center,” or her outburst at Keith/The Criminal – as Some Kind of Wonderful’s Watts – without getting chills.

And Joanna A. Jones, who portrayed two of my favorite characters of all time with such emotion and passion… and those pipes? You couldn’t peel your eyes off of her.

Zach Villa perfectly embodied the bad boy swagger of Bender, the crush to end all crushes, and at the same time brought me almost to tears in his Some Kind of Wonderful-based scenes with Evan. (I know, I know, I cry soo easily… but really, when he realizes her feelings for him? It’s over.)

Payson Lewis portrayed The Athlete, from dreamboat Jake Ryan to brooding Andrew Clark, and let me tell you, he fucking killed the monologue where Andrew reveals why he’s in detention.

That leaves Mr. and Mrs., played by Doug Kreeger and Jackie Seiden respectively. Doug was hilarious,  frequently stepping in as pyscho Vernon or a boring Ferris Bueller teacher, never forgetting to playfully interact with the audience.

And Jackie, well first of all, she could pull off playing (a circa 1985) Kelly LeBrock, so that’s a goddamn impressive feat in and of itself. But her Iona (Pretty in Pink) and unbelievable singing voice made her performance unforgettable as well.

Bottom line, if you haven’t seen this show, you have to. Obviously… I’m pretty crazy about it. That’s probably because this is the most fun I’ve had in… well, I don’t know how long. But it’s pretty damn great.

And it’s a damn good tribute to John Hughes and his collection of films that defined a generation. And now, I think I’ll rambling, because I think I’ve finally said my piece. :p

Have you seen it – what did you think? What’s your favorite John Hughes movie?

Until next time,

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