Friday, April 20, 2012

Pixley Invasion Part I

It has been almost two months since my last blog post, but my excuse is a little more legitimate this time. I finished classes two weeks ago, and spent 90% of March working on final projects for the four classes I am in the process of completing (I slept the other 10%). The MAMC students finished classes on April 5th and began our three week spring break! I spent the first couple of days getting caught up with laundry, cleaning, and sleep and then began to prepare for the arrival of my parents!! My parents have come and gone and it is back to the books as I prepare for final exams in May.


My parents arrived in London on April 11th! I was so excited because it had been 3 1/2 months since I had seen them. There was never really a point from the time I arrived that I was super homesick, but I was so excited to physically see them, Skype only helps so much. I could not wait to show them around the city and to give them a feel for my life here. I had a blast playing tourist for a week, and spent the week with my parents at the beautiful Langham London.

The Langham is located on Regent Street, just 3 blocks north of Oxford Street, the main shopping district in London. It was so beautiful and there is nothing I love more than staying in a hotel, even if it is only 2 miles from where I live. It is right across the street from the All Souls Church Langham Place, a beautiful and famous church in central London. I used the WONDERFUL site to book the hotel. They specialize in flash discounted sales of luxury hotels and resorts around the world and are a part of Gilt Groupe. I highly recommend the site! It was the first time I have used it and was very pleased to say the least!

The Langham London

My parents and I ran around London at high speed for seven fantastic days. We took in all of the London sights with a two day bus and river tour with The Big Bus Company. We were able to hop on and off the bus anytime we wanted and saw famous London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Tower Bridge. We also took a river cruise from Westminster to the Tower of London. I think bus tours are the best way to see a city, allowing great flexibility about travel time and fantastic information and history about the city. 

Those who know the Pixley family know we are MAJOR theatre buffs, which is why we went to see four fantastic West End shows during my parent's visit. The first show we saw was Ghost the Musical. It is based on the film, staring Demi Moore and Patrick Swazye (Rest in Peace, I loved him!), and has a fantastic pop score with heartbreaking ballads. It is also one of the most impressive shows, technically, I have ever seen. The character of Sam literally walks through set pieces. I spent half of the show trying to figure out how they could do that but I quit and was completely stumped. Ghost the Musical just began its Broadway run, and I am sure it will show up at the Tony Awards. I have linked the trailer below if you want to check it out!

Ghost the Musical - West End trailer

We also went to see Jersey Boys, which both of my parents had seen but I had not. They insisted that we go, seeing as it is one of their favorite shows. I absolutely loved it! It also provided a theatre first for me. It was the first time I had been in an audience where they sang along out loud with the performers. It was such a cool and energetic experience.

The last two shows were Les Miserables and Billy Elliot. Billy Elliot is one of my favorite shows, and the first time I saw it was right when it opened on the West End in 2006. I was able to see it with my Mom and Aunt Debbie when I was in London for EuroChorale, and my Mom and myself insisted that we take my Dad. It was fantastic, as expected.

We had a very unique experience when we went to see Les Miserable this past Monday. Les Mis has been a huge part of my life since I was little. It was the first professional show I ever saw (I think I was 6 or 7), and my sister and I both had the privilege of being a part of it in 2003 (Khaki as Eponine) and 2007 (Myself as Gavroche) at our high school. We went on Monday thinking it was just going to be an amazing performance, which it was. We were confused when we arrived at the theatre because every seat had a Les Mis souvenir bag with a champagne flute in it. We ignored it and put them under our seat. After the curtain call the actor who played Jean Valjean began to talk about how Les Mis had won an Olivier Award (UK equivalent of the Tony Awards) the night before and that we were all here to celebrate with the cast. The whole audience had a champagne toast with the cast, which included an appearance by Les Mis and theatre producer Cameron Macintosh and Les Mis Music and Book writer Claude-Michel Schonberg. I lost my mind a cried like a baby, seeing as two of the most famous and influential people involved in theatre were feet away from me. I will relive that night over and over again!

 More to come this weekend about our adventures! Time to hit the books! Also, if you want to see pictures from the trip check out my Mom's Facebook page. She was the official photographer for the week.

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