MATT BLANK, Playbill.com Photo Editor
Tickets to shows served as my Christmas or birthday present almost every year starting in late elementary school, provided there was anything decent coming through Northern California in a given year.
One that stands out in particular was in 1997 or 1998 when I was in high school. I was sick in bed with the flu during the holiday break. I was totally miserable and couldn't make it out of the house to go to various Christmas outings or even enjoy the time off from school.
I remember my mom waking me up and handing me an envelope. I don't know what day it was or what time it was, but it felt like I had been sleeping for weeks. I opened it to find tickets to the upcoming touring productions of Miss Saigon (with Steven Pasquale and Kristine Remigio), Show Boat (with Tom Bosley) and Sunset Boulevard (with Petula Clark and Lewis Cleale) — all of which were coming to San Francisco that year — and an IOU for tickets to the still-unopened Las Vegas production of Chicago starring Ben Vereen and Chita Rivera.
I immediately felt better. All four of those productions were remarkable and influenced me to pursue theatre and not, y'know, become a doctor.
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