DUMBO AT THE EL CAPITAN
I know this will be hard to believe, but I’ve never seen the original animated Dumbo. It opened way before my time, of course, and there haven’t been many re-releases of it. There was one when I was a little girl, but I think my little mo deemed it too sad for me, not because of the separation from the elephant’s mother but because…I also have giant ears!!!
And now it’s back as a live-action film, featuring a much-altered story, but still with an ostracized big-eared baby elephant at its core. And the El Capitan in Hollywood is showing it!
I’m sure that you all know that Dumbo takes place in a circus. And as you also may know, I was in one back in the day. I was The Divided Lady, the star of the side show, which shared a tent with none other than the elephants! So I always still feel close to those beings. Seeing them under the Big Top again, even computer-generated and on the big screen, brought all the feels back to me. (And that Dumbo himself is now rocking my baby blues makes me feel like he’s my little sibling. Between our matching eyes and ears, and body type!, is it possible that director Tim Burton used me as the model for him?! It makes sense.)
So I was extra-excited to go to the El Capitan for Dumbo’s opening night last week, especially because, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only place to see Disney offerings! [Note: I believe that all the fun I’m about to share with you is available at most showings at this theatre. But you should always check the website at the bottom of this article to be sure.]
I thank that venue for bringing me wonderful memories by having circus performers greet us in the lobby, and then also do a really fun mini-show for us on the stage before the film.
This time, the lower lobby features a display of original costumes and props from the movie, an array of posters that pertain to it, and a photo op of us each being the strongman. (Or woman.) Mr. X said that seeing all that “gets you closer in touch with the feature.”
There are two additional photo ops in the main lobby. One is with Dumbo himself. The member of the very helpful staff who takes the pix for you even hands you a feather to pose with, the significance of which eluded me…until I saw the film. (The opportunity is available after the screening, as well, so you may want to take your pictures then, when you know the whole story.) On the other end of the lobby is a giant 3-D floor poster, which is also interesting to pose in front of.
El Capitan’s stage shows are always entertaining, but this is the best one I’ve ever seen there. First up is their wonderful organist, Rob Richards, whose sparkly red jacket adds a little extra panache to the festivities. He looks like a ringmaster at a Cher concert! Then comes the aforementioned stage show featuring a quartet of very talented circus performers, which concludes with a colorful confetti cascade. I’m just happy they didn’t call me up to the stage to be the Fat Lady!
Don’t forget to look around the entire auditorium because the little balcony boxes are decorated, as well. The El Capitan always has little treats like that for us.
But my favorite part of the entire presentation was when the sparkly curtains finally parted for the previews and film, and we were treated to some of the most stunning visuals I’ve ever seen! Mr. X said, “The raising of the curtain, and accompanying light show, is an experience in itself. It really is—it’s so spectacular!” He added that the “color barrage” made him think of what it must be like for colorblind people to use those glasses that allow them to see color for the first time. (He comes up with some great images, doesn’t he? Puts me to shame.)
I’m sorry I have no pix of those for you, but I had already put my camera away. So here’s an important lesson for all of us: never close your camera at the El Capitan until you are positive that the actual movie is beginning! You never know what you’re going to miss! [Note: That theatre is nice enough to encourage photos until that very last moment.]
I have to tell you—I have rarely seen such a big and excited audience as the one on the El Capitan’s opening night of Dumbo! A great time was being had by all, children and grown-ups alike. Actually the experiences at that theatre make children of all of us!
Dumbo at the El Capitan running through April 21, 2019