It’s been over two months since my last blog post but, thanks to some encouraging words from some trusted friends, I’ve decided to give this whole writing thing another go. I’m a bit rusty so please read with an open mind!
I have a lot of shows that I really want to write about, but I’m going to start with possibly the hardest and most emotional of all – the last time I would see Nathan Amzi as Lonny in Rock of Ages. If you have read my blog before, and probably even if you haven’t, then you’ll know that there is nobody I have more love or respect for than Nathan. He was my first Lonny way back in November 2011 and I had never seen someone as confident, talented and comfortable in their own skin as he is. He’s been a huge inspiration to me over the past two years and, although the show doesn’t officially close until the 2nd of November, this was definitely a significant ending for me, and a damn hard one at that.
I very nearly missed this show – I’d booked tickets for Tuesday the 22nd to see Jodie Jacobs in the role of Sherrie, then, because Nathan goes on as Lonny every Thursday, I booked that show too, which meant a day at home in-between. It was only after a phone conversation with my best friend Sarah that we decided to go to London on the 22nd and stay right through to the 26th to see Cam Sharp, the latest addition to the Rock of Ages cast, as Drew. Thank God we did because, as it turned out, Nathan’s Lonny date had changed to Wednesday the 23rd and I would have missed it, and been more than a little bit annoyed.
This was not the only hiccup in the run up to this show – I’d decided to get Nathan a bottle of his favourite whiskey as a thank you for everything he’s done for me. Simple, right? Wrong. The first website I used sent me an email saying that the product was damaged but would it be ok to send it anyway. Erm, no! After ten days, three angry phone calls and countless emails, I was informed that they didn’t have any undamaged products (how every single one got damaged I have no idea) so they agreed to give me a full refund. They then had the cheek to send me an email asking for feedback – let’s just say I don’t think my reply will make it onto the website. This left me with five days to find an alternative. After lots of frantic internet searches I found another website with the whiskey in stock, put my order in and prayed. After three days of practically sleeping under the letterbox the bottle arrived – in a freaking huge box. Seriously, this thing weighed more than me, and it took up ¾ of my suitcase, but by this point I was just glad it was finally here.
When the day of the show finally arrived I was a big bag of nerves. I was convinced I’d got the wrong whiskey, or that he wouldn’t like it, or that I’d drop it, or that somebody would steal it, or that I hadn’t actually packed it… you get the picture. Because Sarah and I were meeting our friend Lucy for something to eat before the show, I decided to leave the whiskey in the hotel room to save carting it around Central London all day. At around 4:00pm I couldn’t wait any longer so I dragged Lucy back to the hotel (Sarah was outside the pub next to the Garrick keeping an eye on the stage door with our friend Rebecca.) Due to some confusion with the hotel over our booking there was an outstanding balance left to pay on the bill, and I had planned to pay it the following day. The hotel, however, had other ideas. When we got to the hotel room there was a note in the key slot from the hotel about the outstanding payment, and they had deactivated our room keys until it was settled. So I was outside the room, with the whiskey inside, and no way of getting to it. I was frazzled enough as it was and this just about tipped me over the edge. I flew back down to reception, stormed to the front of the queue and demanded to be let back into my room. The poor receptionist looked terrified and hurriedly reactivated my key (after I’d paid the damn bill of course.) I was still ranting and raving when we got back to the Garrick, even though it was only 5:00pm and there was practically no chance I’d missed Nathan going in.
If I was nervous before that was nothing compared to that hour long wait outside the Garrick – I don’t think I stood still for more than ten seconds. Even with Sarah, Lucy, Rebecca, Steph and Dannii (who were also at the show that night) trying to calm me down, I was beyond help and it was all they could do to keep me from doing a runner. When Nathan eventually did show up Lucy had to practically shove me towards him. It must have been a bit weird for Nathan to show up at work only to be confronted by a jittery nineteen year old holding a ridiculously big box and looking as though she was about to throw up or burst into tears or both, but to his credit he just smiled and agreed to move away from the group so we could speak alone. I bet he was absolutely terrified.
I have to say, I did not get off to a good start. I managed to get out “you were my first Lonny back in November 2011…” before I got all choked up, and it wasn’t long before I had tears streaming down my face. I knew that, no matter how hard it was going to be, I had to thank him in person for putting up with me for the past two years, and for helping me to come out of my shell. I want to keep to myself exactly what was said, but it’s safe to say that I will treasure his words forever.
After lots of crying and hugging it was time for Nathan to go inside (he liked the whiskey by the way – yay!) I went back to the group and, after Nathan had disappeared into the theatre, sobbed my heart out on Rebecca’s shoulder. It was only as I looked up that I saw Ross standing there – the poor lad had no idea what was going on!
The show itself was amazing – Nathan was on absolute top form and I was too caught up in the action to dwell on the significance of the performance. It was only right at the end, when “Lonny” comes forward to wrap up the story, that I lost it completely. His last line in the show, which I happen to have tattooed on my left forearm, is “Sometimes the dreams you come in with, may not be the dreams you leave with. But hey, they still rock.” At this point, as Nathan took his bow, I burst into tears, despite the “it’s ok” looks he kept throwing me from the stage. Afterwards I may have taken the cast list from the foyer (they don’t need it after the show!) as a memento, and got it signed by all of the covers on stage that night. I also had two pictures with Nathan, one with “sad faces” in which I look like I’m about to burst into tears, and one with “happy faces” where I don’t look much better to be honest. Despite it being one of the hardest things I have ever had to do I am so glad I got the chance to thank Nathan properly, because he has helped me more than he or anyone else will ever know.