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Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
I completed the 2016 Summer Program in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. I received a BS Degree in Radio/TV from ASU and a MA Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from UALR. As a Cancer Survivor and a Widow, I hope I can help others through my Blog http://leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/ Twitter @leslieinlr and Instagram @leslieinlittlerock accounts.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Glee Live Tour 2011


My two teenage daughters, Lauren (19) and Sara (15) and I have watched Glee since the pilot episode first aired on May 19, 2009. At the time my daughters were 16 and 12 years old. We have always loved Broadway musicals such as Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, and Grease and we have watched all three High School Musical movies. We are also big fans of Kris Allen from Arkansas who competed on American Idol during the spring of 2009. 

Kris Allen performs with the rest of the American Idol Top Ten
at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock on July 25, 2009

We took this picture of American Idol Winner Kris Allen
signing autographs after the AI Tour at Alltel Arena in
North Little Rock on July 25, 2009

While we watched Kris progress each week through the competition on American Idol, we also saw many commercials for Glee. So we watched the pilot episode the night before Kris was named the winner of the eighth season of AI and loved Glee! The musical productions numbers were amazing and I also liked the writing style that combined serious issues along with comedy scenes.

While we were watching the pilot episode, I got a little bored during one of Mr. Schuester's scenes and I wandered off into another room.  All of a sudden Lauren called me to come back into the family room and she told me I needed to see this scene.  I looked at the TV and the members of  the New Directions Glee Club were singing the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin." They were all wearing red shirts and blue jeans and sounded amazing!  I remembered that song from the 80's but had not heard it in years.  The next morning Lauren logged into iTunes on our home computer and she told me that the "Glee song" was #1 on the charts! I knew then that Glee was special.

Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, Tina and Finn singing "Don't Stop Believin"
during the Glee Pilot episode while Artie is nearby in his wheelchair.

Kurt teaching the McKinley football players the dance
to "Single Ladies"
 But then we had to wait months to watch the next episode! It came on again during the fall of 2009. By this time I started working later on Tuesday nights, so I recorded each episode and tried to watch it later during the week. I missed a few of the earlier episodes but I remember watching the episode titled "Preggers" that aired on September 23, 2009 because it opened up with Kurt, Brittany, and Tina dancing to the hit song "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé. In this episode Kurt also makes the football team and tells his father he is gay, Head Cheerleader Quinn finds out she is pregnant, and Rachel quit New Directions to star in a school musical. From that day on, I watched each new episode of Glee when it aired and I also recorded every episode so I could watch my favorite scenes over and over again!

The other day, a co-worker referred to Glee as "just a TV show." Technically, I guess it is just a TV show, but to a lot of people, including me, it is a lot more. My daughters and I laughed at the funny scenes such as the performance of "Push It" and cried when Kurt's father suffered a heart attack. I can still remember when actor/singer Darren Criss first appeared as Dalton Academy Warbler Blaine Anderson in the "Never Been Kissed" episode on November 9, 2010. The girls and I watched his performance of "Teenage Dream" on the DVR every night for months!

The Glee cast went on a small US tour during the summer of 2010. Sara wanted to go to one of those shows but at that time the only cities on the schedule were Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York and those locations were too far to travel to for a concert.

In February 2011 I found out that the Glee cast was going on a larger concert tour for the summer with shows in 18 US cities and twelve days in England and Ireland. In May Lauren was graduating from Central High School, Sara was graduating from Horace Mann Middle School, and I would celebrate 10 years of being cancer free. I remember looking at all the tour dates and cities and even though we had never been to Chicago, it was probably the closest city to Arkansas. So as a celebration gift for all three of these events, I purchased VIP tickets online for the Saturday, June 4 performance of Glee Live in Chicago!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thanks to a generous graduation present from my parents, the girls and I were able to fly to Chicago instead of driving. My husband booked the plane tickets and made the hotel reservations a week before the concert. We flew out on Friday morning and arrived at the Chicago O'Hare airport before noon. When we arrived in Chicago, I started carrying a tote bag with a copy of the April 23, 2011 issue of Billboard Magazine with Darren Criss on the cover. One of my goals of this trip was to meet Darren, have him autograph the magazine, and ask him if he received a birthday present I sent to him in February. So I took  the magazine with me everywhere we went just in case we saw Darren Criss. At this time we also realized we had left Sara's new Nikon camera in our car in the parking lot of the Little Rock Airport. Luckily we had two smaller digital cameras with us that we could use during the concert. We took a shuttle to the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Rosemont, which is located just a short walk from the Allstate Arena where the concert was being held on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening.

This is a view of the Allstate Arena before the afternoon
performance of Glee!Live on June 4, 2011

That afternoon we took the subway to downtown Chicago to meet my friend Lisa and her daughter Hannah who live in the Chicago area. The summer after my first year in college, I worked with Lisa at the Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock when it showed the block buster movie Raider's of the Lost Ark. Hannah is a student at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and was home in the Chicago area for part of that summer. Lisa and I recently had gotten back in touch via Facebook and made arrangements to meet in downtown Chicago that afternoon.

Lisa and Leslie

Sara, Lauren and Hannah

On the subway ride downtown, Sara and I quoted lines from the movie, Adventures in Babysitting, starring Elisabeth Shue as Chris Parker.  Our favorite scene is when Chris and the kids are riding the subway in downtown Chicago and a gang called The Lords of Hell are about to start fighting another street gang on the subway.  Just like the gang leaders in the movie, we called out the names of Chicago streets as we passed by: "There go Jefferson. Here come Jackson."

We met Lisa and Hannah downtown, went shopping and also visited local landmark Cloud Gate, a stainless steel sculpture in the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park which is nicknamed "The Bean" because of it's bean-like shape.

Sara loved seeing "The Bean"!

At the time there were several different groups of teenagers dressed in prom attire having their pictures taken in front of "The Bean".  Our favorite two groups were what we called the "Hooker Prom" because most of the guys were smoking cigarettes and some of the girls looked to be in their 30's and were dressed kind of slutty and the "Asian and Other Asian Prom" named after what Coach Sylvester calls the characters Tina and Mike Chang.

The Hooker Prom

The Asian and Other Asian Prom

One fun thing we all did Friday night in downtown Chicago was
have our picture taken by an outside camera at the Chicago Tribune Building.
The picture was then emailed to me in the format of a
newspaper story!

We ate authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza that night, found out that Coke products are not sold in Chicago, and then we rode the subway back to the airport and caught a shuffle to the hotel. Lauren's stomach was hurting and she was not feeling well at all, so we didn't try to go by the Allstate Arena after that evening's concert. I found out later that the Friday, June 3 performance in Chicago was one of the few performances that some members of the cast went outside the arena to sign autographs for fans!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do we look a little excited???!!!

We got up Saturday morning, and after a phone call to our family doctor back in Little Rock, Lauren was feeling a little better so we decided to go eat lunch near our hotel and to find the arena. I read on twitter the day before that actor Curt Mega, who plays a Dalton Warbler on the tour, had gone to a Target store near the Allstate Arena. When we stopped by the front desk at our hotel, we found out that both the Target store and the Allstate Arena were within walking distance from our hotel, and we didn't have to cross any streets to get there!

We entered the Target store around noon and immediately saw`several different people walking around the store wearing Glee Tour crew badges. Since there was an upcoming show at 3:00, I think they were crew members buying items before the afternoon concert. After a few minutes in Target, we decided to eat lunch at a Subway in the same strip mall as the Target store. As we were walking toward the Subway, Lauren saw a Panda Express restaurant in the parking lot. I laughed because in a recent Glee episode Sue made a joke about Panda Express.  We decided to go to Subway instead because it's one of Sara's favorite places to eat. Right before we walked in the restaurant, I turned to the girls and said "Maybe Finn will be inside!" I opened the door and held it open so they could walk in before me.

As soon as I entered the Subway I knew something was different.  It was like no one in the restaurant was breathing. It was just silent.  Years earlier, I learned to be "aware of my surroundings" after my aunt was robbed in a grocery store parking lot in Dallas. So at first I thought maybe the restaurant was being robbed, but then I saw two policemen sitting near the front door, just smiling at us as we walked in. Sara told me later that she thought she had her dress on backwards because everyone was looking toward the front of the store.

I just stood near the front, looking around.  That's when I saw a man dressed all in black, wearing an earphone and his eyes were darting back and forth.  He was not holding any food and I realized that he was Personal Security Detail. I grabbed a bag of Cheetos from the rack of chips so I didn't look too obvious, and I wondered who he was protecting. Because we were in a suburb of Chicago, I immediately thought of Oprah or President Obama. Then I looked behind the man dressed in black and saw a young woman wearing a black skirt with leggings and black Converse tennis shoes. Oh. My. Gosh. I recognized those black shoes. They belonged to actress Ashley Fink who plays the character Lauren on Glee.  Ashley is also close friends with Chris Colfer. I quickly looked past the young woman and there he was, holding a Subway bag and getting a soft drink. Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer.

Chris Colfer and Ashley Fink

Because I didn't want to get shot or arrested, I stayed back and pretended to look for something in my tote bag, which still held the Billboard Magazine with Darren Criss on the cover.  I looked around but I didn't see any other Glee cast members in the Subway.

Just one week earlier I watched Chris Colfer as a guest on Piers Morgan Tonight. Earlier in the spring Chris had been named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World for 2011. During this interview Chris told Piers that one time he went to a movie by himself and had to call the police because other people in the theater swarmed him and wouldn't leave him alone. So I respected his right to privacy and stayed back, along with the other Glee fans in the Subway. As he was leaving with Ashley and the security guard, I took 3 quick pictures with my old pink Polaroid digital camera.

In this picture, the Security Guard is walking out the door, Chris is in the middle and Ashley is behind Chris.

When the doors to the white van opened,
other girls in Subway said they saw
Cory Monteith (Finn) and
Lea Michele (Rachel) inside the van.

And so the white van carrying several members of the
Glee cast drives away from the Subway!

Well then, nothing could probably top seeing Chris Colfer in Subway, so we just ordered our sandwiches and talked about it for the next hour!  Most of the other people in Subway were also Glee fans who were waiting to attend either the afternoon or evening shows. We talked to one girl who said she saw actress Naya Rivera who plays Santana in the Target store just an hour earlier! After we finished eating, we went to the Target store and we saw several other people with the Glee Tour including some female backup dancers and a male backup dancer/singer who was also one of the Warblers. He and one of the makeup artists were trying to find him the right color of foundation makeup. Sara stood nearby, pretending to look for makeup!

After the exciting times in Subway and Target, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the concert. We were supposed to be there earlier because we were going to the Glee VIP Pre-Party.

We had a special line to stand in for the VIP Pre-Party!

Lauren checking in for the VIP Pre-Party!

As we were walking up to the arena the afternoon of the concert, I asked a teenage girl standing nearby if this was the line for the VIP tickets.  A lady who was the mother of the girl said she wasn’t sure, but we decided to try to find out ourselves and the lady and I went inside the box office lobby, got our tickets and went back outside to the VIP line.

We started talking and I found out that her name is Lynn McGee and she lives in Joliet, Illinois. I also discovered that she has two daughters the same ages as my girls and that her oldest daughter, Emma (18), just graduated from high school like Lauren and that her youngest, Hannah (14), just completed middle school like Sara.  By this time, all six of us had moved inside into a large room in the back of the arena for a VIP Pre-Party for the Glee concert.

 As we all ate snacks and made ice cream sundaes, Lynn and I found out that we had more in common. We both brought our daughters to the Glee concert as a high school graduation gift for our oldest ones.  I found out that Lynn and her girls have been big fans of  Darren Criss since he was a member of  the musical theater company called StarKids that is located in Chicago. Lynn took a picture of me with my girls in front of a Glee background and then I took a picture of her with her girls!

Sara, Leslie, & Lauren Doan

Hannah, Lynn & Emma McGee

Pictures from the Glee VIP Pre-Party!

As part of the Glee "VIP Package" we each received this special lanyard
and badge that we had to wear all the time while at the concert.

While at the Glee VIP Pre-Party, we each received a Glee Backpack,
Glee Photo Album, Glee Water Cups and a Dalton Warbler Tie!

We found out that the people who paid $500.00 per ticket for the Ultimate Glee VIP tickets met Jenna Ushkowitz and Harry Shum, Jr. at the "Meet & Greet". They play the characters Tina Cohen-Chang and Mike Chang, or Asian and Other Asian, as Sue calls them!

About two hours later, we were taken out a side door and led to the front of the Allstate Arena, where there were hundreds of people already in line!

We were able to go into the arena early and to buy merchandise or just look around. Sara and I both bought Glee t-shirts and Sara also bought a big Glee foam finger!

Our seats were on the fourth row on the floor, right in the center!

The concert is about to start!

Right before the concert started, Lauren turned to me and said "Mom, in about 10 minutes Darren Criss is going to be in the same building as us!"  I think that's when I really got excited!

Most of the following pictures were taken by Lynn, Emma, and Hannah.  Their seats were on the 3rd row and they were able to take some great photos.  Even though Sara didn't have her Nikon camera, she did take some good pictures and I've used some of those too!  I tried to document each song in the concert by including a picture that was taken during that song.

The Opening Act for the show was the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD), the dance project of Glee cast member Harry Shum, Jr. The dancers were amazing and I recognized one of them as the guy we saw earlier in Target!

After the opening act LXD, the main show opened with a pre-recorded video
from Mr. Schuester and cheer leading coach Sue Sylvester
introducing the New Directions

And so it begins...

The lights went down and the music for "Don't Stop Believin" starts playing in the background and then Cory and Lea walk out on stage singing!

"Don't Stop Believin"
Full Cast:  Lea Michele and Cory Monteith soloists

It was just amazing to see them singing this song in person - I thought I was going to cry!

Then three of the original five "New Directions" (Kevin, Chris & Amber)
joined Cory and Lea on stage

The rest of the Glee cast came out on stage too!

"Don't Stop Believin" was the best song to open the show
because it's Glee's signature song. If I remember
correctly, I think each character's name was announced,
but I can't remember!

"Dog Days Are Over"
Full Cast:  Jenna Ushkowitz and Amber Riley soloists

Jenna and Amber sang "Dog Days Are Over" along with the full cast.
After this picture was taken, Cory looked right at us and smiled really big!

Full Cast:  Lea Michele and Cory Monteith soloists

For the next song, "Sing" they removed their white vests and sang
in front of the SING backdrop

This is the song the New Directions sang in the episode with Sue
dressed as lumberjacks!

"I'm A Slave 4 U"
Heather Morris

Wonder who is next???

The "Britney/Brittany" episode was one of our favorites!

Heather sings the Britney Spears song "I'm A Slave 4 U"!

After Heather performed and exited the large stage, lights appeared toward the back of the arena where a smaller stage was set up. Sara had already researched the concert on the Internet and told me that some of the cast members would perform a few songs at this smaller stage, "just like Taylor Swift did in her concert," she said. 

"Fat Bottomed Girls"
Mark Salling

Mark Salling (Puck) opened up on the smaller stage by
playing his guitar and singing "Fat Bottomed Girls"
and then walked through the crowd to the large stage!

"I Want to Hold Your Hand
Chris Colfer

Next on the smaller stage was Chris Colfer (Kurt) singing
"I Want To Hold Your Hand"by The Beatles.

Kurt sang this song to his father Burt while Burt was in a coma
in the hospital in the episode "Grilled Cheesus".

"Ain't No Way"
Amber Riley

The final performer on the smaller stage was Amber Riley (Mercedes)
singing "Ain't No Way" that she sang on the episode "Night Of Neglect" 
Because we were sitting so close to the front, it was hard to take pictures
when they were on the smaller stage, so this is a picture of Amber during
another performance. I''m pretty sure the cast went through underground tunnels
or something to  get to the back of the arena  without being noticed!

"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)"
Kevin McHale

The next song was performed on the large stage, so we could see it a lot better!  It was "P.Y.T." that Kevin (Artie) sang in the "Silly Love Songs" episode, which is one of our all time favorite Glee episodes!  And Harry (Mike Chang) danced while Kevin was singing.  I was afraid that Harry was going to roll Kevin right off the stage in the wheelchair!

Harry did an amazing job during "P.Y.T."!
I'm sorry the crazy drunk guy on the 2nd row
has his arm in the way of the picture!

Kevin is great singing all the Michael Jackson songs!
Look, he is even wearing a red leather jacket!
And I love the white socks.

"Born This Way"
Full Cast:  Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, and Jenna Ushkowitz soloists

We actually ordered our own Glee "Born This Way"
T-Shirts online! Leslie ordered "Brown Eyes" (same as Tina's)
Lauren ordered "I'm With Stupid" (same as Brittany's)
and Sara ordered "Four Eyes" (same as Artie's)

Ashley Fink is wearing the same skirt, black leggings,
and shoes she wore when we saw her in
Subway that afternoon!

Lea Michele

Lea was wonderful singing "Firework" by Katy Perry!
This is one of Lauren's favorite songs from the "Silly Love Songs" episode.

I cried when Lea was singing this song, and she
curled up her fists and stomped her foot just like the character Rachel!

I think that's a tattoo on her right wrist!

The fireworks on stage were awesome!

"Teenage Dream"
"Silly Love Songs"
"Raise Your Glass"
Darren Criss

The Warblers started on the small stage singing "Teenage Dream"

Using my iPod, I took a short video of Darren Criss and the Warblers as they ran up the stairs of the main large stage singing "Silly Love Songs" and then sang "Raise Your Glass". With the exception of the crazy drunk guy on the 2nd row, I think it's a great video! There is also a teenage girl that keeps screaming and waving her arms. Oh, that is just Sara! One of the guys at the Apple Store in LR helped me save my iPod videos to my husband's lap top PC so I could upload it into this blog.

"Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy"
Lea Michele and Chris Colfer

They performed the mash-up of these two songs
on the smaller stage toward the back of the arena

This performance is one of my mother's favorites
from the TV show

Chord Overstreet and Dianna Agron

"River Deep - Mountain High"
Naya Rivera and Amber Riley

Blaine/Brittany/Kurt Skit

"Jessie's Girl"
Cory Monteith

Naya Rivera

"Loser Like Me"
Full cast: Lea Michele and Cory Monteith

After performing this song, the cast threw multi colored confetti at the audience in Slushie cups!

"Singles Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
Chris Colfer, Jenna Ushkowitz and Heather Morris

Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet, Kevin McHale,
Mark Salling and Harry Shum, Jr.

We were lucky enough to see the song "Friday" performed
by the Glee cast because it was removed from the set list
after June 12 due to some rumored issues with Rebecca Black.

Darren's StarKids friends all live in Chicago
and they were sitting one row behind us.
This is one of the times that he kept waving
and pointing at them!

"The Safety Dance"
Kevin McHale

One of our favorite performance is when Artie gets out
of his wheelchair and dances to the 80's hit song
"The Safety Dance"!

"Empire State of Mind"
Full cast: Kevin McHale, Cory Monteith, Mark Salling
and Amber Riley soloists

"Somebody to Love"
Full cast: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Amber Riley soloists

After the concert, we waited by the back stage door, but the cast
did not come out to sign autographs. We took this picture
of all four girls!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our plane didn't leave until later that evening, so we checked out of our hotel room, stored our luggage at the front desk, and took the subway back to downtown Chicago. Once downtown, we took a bus to the Navy Pier where Lauren and I ate real Chicago hot dogs!

Earlier in the year, Sara saw a show on Food Network about iCream cafe, a local cafe in Chicago that allows you to create your own ice cream!  So I looked it up online, called the cafe, and then we took the subway to Wicker Park and found the cafe. The ice cream was amazing!

Lauren loved going to downtown Chicago and seeing all the theaters!

Sara's favorite iCream Cafe!

Lauren loved downtown Chicago!

We had a great time visiting the Navy Pier!


Lynn and I became Facebook friends and kept in touch after the Glee show. She was taking her two daughters and their friend Katie to St. Louis on July 21 to see Darren Criss in concert at Six Flags. After much thought, Sara and I drove to St. Louis on July 20 and met Lynn and the girls at Six Flags on the morning of July 21.

Sara, Hannah, Emma, and Katie at Six Flags on the
hottest day of the year in St. Louis!

Lynn and I after the Darren Criss concert

We had seats on the 2nd row and Sara
took lots of good pictures!

Thanks to a lot of good luck (and our friend Terry Black)
we got to meet Darren and I finally got my Billboard Magazine
autographed by him! His signature, followed by a smiley face,is above his left hand shoulder.
And we found out that he received the gift I sent him to the Glee Studios for his birthday in February!

Leslie, Darren, and Sara
July 21, 2011

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! Looks like you guys had a TON of fun! My girls are 2 & 3 and I can't wait until they are old enough to go to a concert with me.
    Laundry Care