It was an unexpected journey (Hobbit reference, ahoy!!) from start to finish. I heard about his participation in the reading on meandRichard.wordpress 6 days before the event. 6 DAYS BEFORE THE EVENT!!! I was at work at the time (I get emails when meandRichard posts) I quickly searched 92y and saw tickets were only $15 and going quickly. Being of a (slightly) sane mind, I dithered over the sanity of my venture. Like, I’d need a couple of days off, a train ticket, a hotel, and a good seat. At the time there was no guarantee we’d actually meet the bloke (I wasn’t about to bust my chops again just to see him from a distance *cough* Hobbit Fan Event) About 20 minutes of anxious dithering (and stupid amounts of money) later I bought my ticket, train ticket, and booked my hotel. Yay! Now the wait begins. (insert Jeopardy theme here) I still had my letter that I meant to give him at the Hobbit Fan Event saved in my documents so after some editing, I printed out a couple of copies and put it in my suitcase. It basically said how much I admire him and his work. Fast forward 6 days and I’m in my truck heading to the train station. When I got there, there was NO WHERE to park. I circled the lot a few times and, growing desperate I turned to a (slightly inebriated) worker. He said just park by that piece of machinery. Said piece of machinery was in a huge mud puddle but, I had 5 minutes till my train, so I was not going to quibble. He also said I wouldn’t have to pay for that spot since, technically, it wasn’t a spot….ok then….I parked my truck and sloshed through the mud and bolted into the train station with seconds to spare. The 4 hour train ride was boring (Where’s Mr. Thornton when you need him?!?! Oh wait…I was going to see him in a few hours!)
I finally got into Penn Station in NYC and hailed a cab outside which took me to my hotel. My debit card wasn’t working to pay the fare, which I shrugged off as a cab thing so I paid cash and left. When I got into the hotel, my card STILL wasn’t working. I called my mum and she in turn told me to call my bank. An hour of phone tag and holding later we figured it out, my card was suspended because I spent too much money in too short a time (they thought it was fraud). My card finally worked again and I was able to retire to my room for a couple of hours. I decided to venture out early to visit Times Square but got pretty lost (basically I have Thorin Oakenshield’s sense of direction….) so I just hailed a cab and went to the 92y. I was there in plenty of time for the pre-show talk so when we were allowed in I just went to the seat I bought for the show.
I was looking around the lovely theater and posted to tumblr that I was there and no sign of RA. Not 5 minutes later my gaze catches a tall figure making his way across the back of the room. Now, anyone who has eyes can tell, Richard has a (noble? aquiline?) profile, so I recognized him immediately and my heart started pounding. I shifted around in my seat to hide the glow of my phone and posted to tumblr “RICHARD ARMITAGE IS SITTING BEHIND ME”
He was 7 rows behind me (I counted later) I peeked at him as he was settling in and turned forward, fighting the urge to wave, speak, or otherwise make a fool of myself. I just found myself sitting up straighter and fixing the back of my hair. The talk started a few minutes later and a couple of times I could hear a deep chuckle out of Richard. A little while later the chuckler was gone (I peeked around to look) but you could hear a deep laugh, stage left (wonder who that was ;))
A little while later the play started and all of the characters came out for the first scene. Now, let me tell you a thing, the way Richard moves, you can tell he was a dancer. He moves with such fluidity and grace and in complete silence. He can stand absolutely still for long periods of time (it’s almost eerie) His voice live, captivates and fills a room. Since it was a reading everyone had scripts, some were pristine, some had highlights, some had dog eared pages, Richard’s was well read (the pages were a mess) He had pages of notes stuck between pages, highlights and sticky notes. He was mostly off book for the show but I could see him sitting and studying his lines when he wasn’t on. His main character, Swann, was an interesting character (I honestly don’t remember much…I was too focused on studying him) he had a couple of sensual scenes that nearly knocked me out of my chair……*ahem* He played Swann most of the time but in one scene he was a journalist and sitting in the audience shouting lines at the stage. In another scene he had an eyepatch, limp and german accent. In yet another scene he played a brothel worker, a gay brothel worker. ummmm that man used his assets to the nth degree. He was flirting with a client and basically had his crotch in the guys face (his script was covering said crotch….dang *cough*) He went off with another client after fluttering a fan and batting his eyelashes enticingly. Now the client wanted a butch guy so Richard (as the brothel worker) grabbed a length of chain and stalked off after the client. Said client returned with his shirt off so I waited with bated breath to see what was coming. Apparently Richard wasn’t “rough enough” for the client so the brothel owner called him in to give him a what for. After and exasperated yell Richard came back on stage panting and holding his knees with his shirt intact….(DANG) The reading was over far to soon. (He got a standing ovation at the end)
We all filed out to the lobby to await the meet and greet 92y said would happen. At the far end of the room there was a roped off door. Word quickly spread that there was to be no meet and greet and only invited people would be allowed into the room where the actors and director were gathering. I was very sad at this point but I wasn’t leaving in case something happened. I got to talking to several members of the Armitage Army and suddenly a huge crush of people started heading towards the door. Someone had gotten word to Richard that there was people waiting to meet him and he came out to say hi.
(Let me just say how much that meant for me personally that he came out that night. He DID NOT have to but he did out of love for us. Not many celebs would do that and stay as long as he did.) I quickly headed in the opposite direction to gather my thoughts, calm down, and get my letter ready to give to him. I skirted the edges of the crowd and stood pretty much about 15 feet away from him but directly at the rope where he was standing.
Annabel Capper came out for a couple of minutes to chat with a friend and she was pretty much in front of me so after she was done with her friend, I said hi and I thoroughly enjoyed her in the reading. She said a heartfelt “thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it” and went back in the party room. I stayed on the outskirts of the admirers for a good while just watching him and taking a couple of pictures. I put my camera away and just watched and at one point Richard looked over at me and held my gaze. He slightly lowered his head and smiled at me, I lowered my lashes and shyly smiled back (I SURVIVED A FULL SMOULDER) about 7 seconds passed and someone was in front of him asking for a picture so he turned his attention to them. A few minutes later the security guard behind Richard was telling him that he should get back to the party. Richard continued signing something and told the guard quietly but clearly that he wasn’t leaving until he had seen everyone. (Again thank you so much Richard, you beautiful, selfless man) Cheers erupted from the crowd 🙂 I slowly made my way into the masses to pass my phone to my friend so she could capture my picture with Richard. I didn’t want to break the poor guys neck and back in the attempt of getting a selfie with me. I took some pictures for people and finally made my way in front of him. He took pictures with a couple of people behind the rope first and then turned to me. He smiled and I said I had a letter for him and handed it to him. He grinned and said “Thanks, I’ll definitely read it” and stuck it in his inside jacket pocket. I asked if he would sign my Hobbit book, he said “of course” (yes, I brought the book with me) and flipped it to Thorin’s map. His eyes widened and he was like “Oh gosh, where do I sign?” I said anywhere’s fine, my name’s Grace, by the way.
(My friend was next to him on the other side taking pictures of him signing my book) He smiled and signed his name with a flourish and handed my book back to me. (He pointed to the Lonely Mountain…..WHAT A SWEETIE….I CAN’T EVEN)
I asked if I could get a picture with him, he smiled and wrapped his arm around me (he smells amazing) when I turned and spotted my friend. The picture was taken and he started to let me go and my friend was like wait! I didn’t get it! His grip tightened on me again and she smiled and said it was good. He gave me a wee squeeze and let me go and turned away and I reached for my phone. Well, the first picture I saw was this….
and I was like “OH MY GOD” (I think it’s cute now but at the time….) Richard heard me and started to turn towards me and then I flicked over to the next picture
and said “wait, I’m good” Richard turned back fully to whomever he was talking to. I edged my way out of the crush and away from Richard. (Didn’t want to crowd him) I started talking with some lovely ladies and kept glancing back to Richard. A little while later we saw him being escorted back into the room, waving goodbye to us. I waved back. And like that he was gone. He stayed with us for about half an hour and took numerous selfies and pictures. I don’t know how his hand didn’t cramp from all of the autographs he gave. He signed all with
He was gracious and kind to us all. (Again, I can’t say how much respect I have for him because he did this. He truly loves all of his well-wishers) But it was over. After a few parting words to the ladies I was talking to, I went outside and hailed a cab and started blogging. It was like 11 at this time. I made it back to the hotel and started my laptop up and blogged till about 2 am. All was fine and dandy till I got to Penn Station to get my train back. I got lost trying to find my track and nearly missed the train, I made it mere seconds before they closed the doors. Heading home I was worried about my truck being towed or ticketed but I had my memories to keep me calm. My car was fine and unticketed when I got back, just really muddy.
So that’s all folks. That’s my adventure. It was one hell of a journey there and back again. (HEY HOBBIT REFERENCE!!!) Let me tell you something. When the clock struck midnight on New Years I made a wish to see Richard Armitage sometime this year. Ladies and Gentlemen, wishes do come true. Sometimes sooner and in unexpected ways but they come true, you just have to fight and believe. Thank you for reading my RAmble and I hope you all will have a magical meeting with Richard someday.