We shopped (a new pair of jeans and two shirts for me; two shirts for Caesar), rested for a bit in the room, then dressed nice for dinner before the show. Then, the unexpected happened.
Caesar received a phone call from the theater. Due to a fire on the UCSD campus, that evening's performance of the show at the La Jolla Playhouse -- that we'd driven down specifically to see -- had been cancelled. We debated through diner about what to do: shopping was out of the question, no other shows nearby, and most of the movies in the area had either already begun or wouldn't start until almost 9PM. However, we did find one movie with a start time close to when we would finish dinner, so we hesitantly opted to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Turns out, it was a fine movie. Good performances from a star-studded British cast, and we were both pleasantly surprised by the gay-themed story for one of the characters.
As for the show, we decided to try our luck the next day. Maybe the power would be back on, and we could exchange the tickets for the matinée performance. After a good night's sleep and a decent brunch, we waited in line at the box office for about 15 minutes and, as luck would have it, we managed two almost dead-center seats for the 2PM show that day. And I am so glad we chose to try or luck. The show, a new musical called Hands on a Hardbody, surpassed our expectations. The background story centers on a contest at a car dealership: whoever kept his or her hand on the body of a new truck the longest, would win that truck. It's based on a documentary of the same name that followed up with the original contestants to uncover how their lives had changed due to the contest. The musical tells each of their stories, why they decided to take time away from their lives for the chance to win a truck. An odd idea for a musical, but it works. Their stories are a glimpse into America with some dealing with long-term unemployment or facing racial discrimination or life after serving in the military. Speaking for myself, I empathized with all the characters to the point that when it was down to the last two, I audibly gasped -- along with more than half the audience -- when one of the characters accidentally removed a hand from the truck.
The music rock with a hint of country, but that takes a backseat to the truck that's onstage the entire time. The contestants have at least one hand on it for much of the show, coordinating their dances with it, spinning and pushing it about the stage. It's amazing to watch.
The entire cast and crew were fantastic. And I just learned that the show is now headed for Broadway in the Spring. So if you get a chance, go see it. (If we lived closer, I'd go see it again before it closes out here.)