Live at the 25
One AIO fan shares his adventure at Adventures in Odyssey's 25th Birthday Bash in June 2012.
By Garrett Vandenberg | June 20, 2012

The journey to Dallas, Texas

June 15th began one of the most amazing and exciting adventures I've experienced in my life: The Adventures in Odyssey Live show. The air travel alone would have been exciting enough, but getting to meet and shake the hands of these voices that I've grown up listening to was simply awesome.

I'll skip past the most of my trip to the airport and what-not, since that's not really the most interesting part. My favorite part starts right after I landed, so that's where I'll begin:

When I arrived in Dallas, for some reason I was expecting a quaint little old west'y type of town with a few horses and some cowboys and stuff. I couldn't have been more wrong. When we landed, I was astounded to find myself surrounded by hundreds of skyscrapers and stadiums, knitted together by this maze they call "the highway". Never before have I been caught in such a tangled mess of roads so obviously inspired by Italian pasta. It was a proverbial "spaghetti junction", as my good friend Eugene would say.

After getting hopelessly lost for a couple lifetimes, we finally arrived at the first event of the day at Mardel's bookstore about two hours late. I don't think we missed too much, since I still got a chance to talk to Will Ryan, and harass the Mr. Whittaker puppet a bit (who actually turned out to be Bob Smithouser from the Official Podcast). After having a great time meeting and catching up with some friends from Focus on the Family, we decided to go get some rest before the big show the next day.

The next morning around 9 AM (June 16th), we all began to slowly drift back into the real world and out of the state of unconsciousness. The day was christened with the nostalgic listening to a couple Odyssey episodes and a few old Ceiling Fan Podcast bloopers that hadn't ever been shared before. We had a lot of fun with that, too much perhaps, because we almost ended up being late for the show.

The Show Must Go On!

June 16th, 2012the AIO live show (This article DOES contain spoilers, so be warned!)

When Kevin McCreary, his sister, and I pulled into the parking lot around twenty minutes before the show began, we were surprised to see how incredibly vast the venue was. Irving Bible Church was practically the size of a football field crossed with a couple concert halls. We were even more excited to see almost all 3,000 of the seats (in both shows) in the auditorium packed with enthusiastic fans.

The show began with the two hosts we've all come to know and love from the Official Adventures in Odyssey podcast (Bob Smithouser and Jesse Florea) introducing the show. Considering that the whole thing was a "Birthday Bash" for Odyssey's 25th birthday, they decided to kick off the event with a birthday cake and a larger-than-life birthday card signed by hundreds of fans.

Soon after the devouring of said cake (which I didn't get to partake in, unfortunately) Chuck Bolte took the stage and systematically introduced the actors in order of relevance to the show. When all nine actors had arrived on stage and director Nathan Hoobler gave the signal, the lights went down to begin one of the most entertaining stage events I've been to in a long time.

The first scene began by flaunting, very early on, the impressive skill of the production team, with Dave Arnold and his son, Landon, masterfully operating the miniaturized stage edition of "the foley room". It was incredible getting to see so much of what goes into making an episode of Odyssey all in real time.

The story seemed normal enough in the beginning; however, as the show went on, the script started to get more and more, well... strange. I was a little confused at first, wondering how they could get away with letting a villain from the "Captain Absolutely" comics escape from Kids Radio and begin attacking all sources of art throughout history via the Imagination Station. It seemed a little far-fetched for Odyssey. As the show approached the ending of the live show script, I didn't really care how "out there" the story was because it gave the cast and crew so many opportunities to show off just what the team was capable of doing.

In a breathtaking (and even more ridiculously silly) finale sequence where the entire town was blown to smithereens by an atomic bomb, I was finally and hilariously reassured that Adventures in Odyssey was still the same show I'd come to know and love when the line came out of Jess Harnell's (Wooton's) mouth: "So, anyway, Mr. Whittaker, that was my dream". Incredibly cliché, but it had everyone in the entire audience rolling on the floor.

The show was filled to the brim with stunning audio and visual effects and hilarious dialogue. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at an Adventures in Odyssey episode in my life (I also never knew Dave Arnold could tap dance!). Everything about the show was as good as I could have imagined it to be, and judging by what I saw of the footage from the live show of 2008, a million times more fantastical. The venue, the acting, the writing, the productioneverything about the showwas top notch and really showed the world how talented the team behind the show is... and just how much fun the actors have in the studio.

My only negative comment (and I'm not even really sure it should be considered "negative") is that the show overall was quite a bit more silly and over-the-top than you'd normally expect in an Adventures in Odyssey episode. But really, I'm glad it was. It gave the cast and crew so much more of an opportunity to have fun with the episode and keep the crowd involved.

I guess if I were "rating" Adventures in Odyssey's 25th Birthday Bash live show, I'd give it a 9.9/10. (I would have rated it 10/10, but I had to take a point off for the one line in which Will Ryan goofed. That's right, Mr. Ryan. You can't just get away with stuff like that. ;)

After the Show

In the hours between and after shows, I was very surprised and excited to see how many fans of The Ceiling Fan and The Odyssey ScoopCast came up to both Kevin McCreary and me wanting our autographs and photos taken with us. It was such an honor to be there with all these famous actors and experiencing recognition from fans of the show. I've never really had people recognize me from something I've done on the internet before, so I was super excited to have people knowing who I was.

I got plenty of chances to interview lots of fans, and even some of the crew about the show. It was such a blast meeting so many people all at once who are interested in the same things I am. I also met quite a few creative people who also do stuff on the internet. I ran into some really cool guys from YouTube under the username Blimeycow who produce a show called "Messy Mondays". You may have seen their video about homeschoolers.

Garrett Vandenberg is an Adventures in Odyssey fan and frequents The Odyssey Scoop. He is also involved with writing, acting, and producing episodes for the popular Ceiling Fan Podcast. You may also remember him as co-host for our very own Odyssey ScoopCast.

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