Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday 'whatever you want' post!

Following on from a suggestion made earlier this week that we could have an 'open' posting on Sunday - about whatever we want, I thought I'd start the ball rolling. And because my fellow bloggers want to know about my 'dream come true' which happened two weeks ago, here it is!

I've adored Martin Sheen for over 30 years, ever since I saw him in the TV mini-series 'Blind Ambition' which was about Watergate. I fell in love with him all over again when he played Jed Bartlet in NBC's 'The West Wing'.

So when I heard that he was appearing on stage in LA in Feb-March this year, I finally made the decision that this could be my one and only chance to see him in person. Two of my 'internet' friends (also Martin fans) said they would be in LA to see him one weekend in March. So I booked my flight and hotel, and one of the Texans booked the tickets for us. I said jokingly 'D'you think if I write to Martin and tell him I'm coming from the UK to see him, we'll get an invitation backstage?' Big joke, ha-ha, wishful thinking, wild fantasy. But I wrote, and a week letter got a reply from him - inviting us backstage! I was shaking with shock for a couple of hours after I got that letter.

So the day, or rather the evening, arrives. We settle ourselves in the theatre, the house lights go out, the stage lights come on, and he walks on to the stage. Wow, it really is him - in person! An amazing performance in 'The Subject Was Roses'. In the 1960's he'd played the role of the son in the Broadway production, now almost 50 years later he was playing the father. A powerful play with lots of laughs but also some high drama.
At the end, we find out where the stage door is, knock and we're admitted. And OMG, he's there, it really is him! Is this real or am I dreaming?
We watch as he talks to various people who are waiting around to greet him, we talk for a few minutes to his son Ramon, and then the moment finally arrives.

'Hi, Martin,' I say, "I'm the crazy person who's come from the UK to see you in the play."
He grins. 'Ah yes - did you get my note?'
That's the note I've been guarding with my life ever since I received it!
I give him a gift I brought for him and tell him it's from Ireland. His face lights up at the mention of Ireland (his mother's home country) and we spend a few minutes talking about various places - Galway (where he did a semester at the University there - we talk about some restaurants there that he mentioned in a interview), the Catholic shrine at Knock, and his mother's home town in Tipperary. He hands me his insulated mug of tea while he puts my gift in his bag - 'Would you mind holding that for me for a minute?' Would I mind? I'm holding Martin Sheen's mug of tea!

I ask him for a photo with him, he says 'Yes, sure' and puts his arm around my shoulder while I put my hand on his back. Is this for real?? My friend snaps a couple of photos. Then he asks if we've met his son, and beckons Ramon over for a photo.
Ramon now puts his arm round my shoulders, and by now Martin's clutching his mug of tea again (I still can't remember when I gave that back to him!), so I slip my arm through his. Did I really do that? But at the time it seemed perfectly natural, because he was just so 'normal' and friendly and easy to talk to.
After the photos we talked for a few minutes more about the play, about the possibility of him doing another film in Ireland (sadly, it's not likely to happen, lack of finance) and even a brief mention of Charlie's current problems.

He's amazed when we say we're coming to see the show again the next night. "Hey, come on," I say, "I've come from the UK, of course I'm coming to see it twice." He and Ramon laugh, then commiserate with my early start to get to LAX on Sunday.
Then they say their farewells and go into the elevator down to the parking lot.

We go out of the stage door - and my knees suddenly turn to jelly.
I met him - a dream come true!


  1. How fun! And how exciting for you...I really liked him in "The American President". He played the Chief of Staff to Michael Douglas's President.

  2. Awwwww...Pauline. Everytime I read something you write about him I can't help but have this stupid grin. That is so GREAT and a memory you'll have for a lifetime!

    You need to put that photo of you two on pillow case so you can go to sleep with him on your mind, literally!

    Thanks for sharing your story. I am SOOO happy for you! So, anyone else you admire and would like to meet?

  3. I loved 'The American President' - have watched it countless times. But having watched 'The West Wing' even more times, it is weird now seeing Michael Douglas in Jed Bartlet's place in the Situation Room and the Oval Office!
    Aaron Sorkin wrote the scripts for both American President and the first four seasons of 'The West Wing'. And they used the AP set of the Oval Office in the first episode of TWW.
    Oh, can't you tell I'm a total obsessive about 'The West Wing'? LOL.

    But it was The West Wing that got me back to writing fiction again! First fanfiction about Jed and Abbey, and then my own novels followed.

  4. LOL, Toni, I have this stupid grin every time I look at the photo of me with him! It really was such a long-held dream that I never thought would actually come true!

    Anyone else I would like to meet? Well, I've met Stockard Channing twice, once in London and once in New York, and I'm going to see here again in Dublin in June, when she is playing Lady Bracknell in 'The Importance of Being Earnest' so maybe I'll get to meet her again.

    Just for a laugh, when I sent my daughter a photo I had taken with Stockard in London, she showed it all around her office, saying 'This is my Mum - with Rizzo!' Grease was her fave film when she was a teenager!

    So who else would I like to meet? Colin Firth and Hugh Jackman would be okay - and (dare I say it?) Simon Cowell too!

    My hero in my latest story is a combination of caustic Cowell and gorgeous Firth LOL

  5. I stood 10 feet from Janis Joplin at college years ago. She was into her bottle of Jack Daniels, so no conversation.

    Does being a relative of someone who has met famous people count? Robert Altman had a policy that birthdays were to be celebrated, so Rachel was serenaded on her birthday by the actors and crew during the filming of A Prairie Home Companion.