Lately, date nights have consisted of quick dinner getaways and squeezed-in last minute trips to Bottle and Pint. I realized something recently... we don't really ever plan dates in advance, we just try and fit them in when we see a chance. And while I'm grateful that we have the ability for even these "flash dates" — as I like to think of them — sometimes they don't feel nearly long enough to escape, and usually they're rushed. "Hey, my mom said she'd watch AB... if we leave now we can have two hours before we need to pick her back up for bedtime!" Doesn't exactly set the mood for relaxation... despite still being a much needed form of "us time." Plus, that stock photo... GUILTY.
Do we ever really debrief from the chaos of life while chowing down and watching the clock? When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was to go to plays and melodramas. It was special — a night out on the town. It was an event! Even now, as an adult, when we get together with friends to see a production at Pantages, we make a night of it. We plan in advance, we choose a restaurant to go to... it's more than just a quick dinner out — it's an experience. And we've planned for it. There's something to be said for kicking date night up a notch every now and then.
But, Pantages is far... not THAT far, but far enough that it can be a production just getting there, and to be honest, I'd rather not spend two hours of my date night sitting in LA traffic. So here's a funny thing, I was born and raised in the Conejo Valley, and yet I'm finding daily that there are so many great things we have here that I wasn't aware existed. I mean, we have a professional, regional theatre company — Cabrillo Music Theatre — headquartered at the Civic Arts Plaza. I can't recall the last time I was at TOCAP, which seems silly because it offers the quality shows that I drive to LA for. They have broadway sets and professional actors, a live orchestra and a beautiful venue, (and a full bar- I knew you'd ask!).
The Kavli Theatre at the Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks
Why do I not come here more often?! I'm not going to spend an hour and a half dreading and looking up alternative routes to beat traffic to get down to Los Angeles, or finding a lot to park in, and I pretty much am going to have a great experience because of the quality of the productions that Cabrillo does. (Maybe I'm a little biased — I met some of the performers from their upcoming Sister Act (April 21-30) and was blown away by their excitement, and also the "sneak peek" I got to check out. It's kind of refreshing when you meet people who genuinely believe in the quality of what they are putting out, and you really get that from Cabrillo. They have a slew of shows coming up... after Sister Act, Peter Pan hits the stage in July (and you all know I can't resist some good Disney!) Also, I know the guy who drew the artwork for them (I'm a pretty big deal, duh), and isn't it awesome?! It really does bring me back to memories of watching the movie growing up.
So, anyway, after learning more about them and all of the work that goes into the shows, my husband and I have decided that we're going to make more of an effort to have date nights, not flash dates. We're going to buy a season package (each season is three shows) and pick different restaurants that we've wanted to try in the Conejo Valley that we haven't had a chance to, and put some "quality" back in the time we spend out. I heard that Sabor Cocina Mexicana at The Lakes (right next door to TOCAP) is really good, so we'l probably start there.
So tell me... have you guys seen shows put on by Cabrillo Music Theatre? They're under new direction (Will North was chosen as the Managing Director late last summer). By the way, did you know that there are TWO theatre companies that are situated in the TOCAP? From my understanding, Cabrillo takes the cake for quality performances, based on what I've read anyway. I'm all about supporting the arts... it's especially needed in these times. (P.S.... you can buy your tickets at the box office and avoid ticketmaster fees, just FYI.)
Maybe I'll see you at the theatre!
What are some things you like to do for date night to break up the usual routine?