Apollo 11 celebrates 50th anniversary with a red carpet event at the Rose Bowl

Charlie Duke (astronaut, Apollo 16), Buzz Aldrin (Astronaut, Apollo 11), Gerry Griffin (Apollo flight director)
In our modern age where one can barely make it an hour without his or her cell phone, it is amazing to think it has been 50 years since the first man stepped foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.  Prior to that, it was the stuff dreams were made of.  Last night, a VIP red carpet opening was carried out for the APOLLO 11: The Immersive Live Show at the all new custom built Lunar Dome at the Rose Bowl Stadium, the world’s largest touring venue.   The live play written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Scott Faris tells the story of the 400,000 individuals it took to accomplish this mission is told through the eyes of Ben, a retired NASA Aerospace Engineer, as he recounts those days to his granddaughter Sydney.  This celebration of one of mankind’s greatest achievements takes audiences of all ages on the ride of a lifetime and inspires future generations to imagine what comes next.

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
(L-R) Todd Kreidler, Charlie Duke, Buzz Aldrin, Gerry Griffin, Scott Faris
In the age of smartphones, Instagram, and Google, one forgets that it has only been merely 50 years since we first landed in the moon.  In fact, there were 10 previous Apollo missions leading up the eleventh successful venture.  The technology was so new that there were even casualties. We have come a long way.
Apollo 11 mission on moon. Photo credit: NASA
The Apollo 11 immersive live show was indeed  a ride of a lifetime.  The play was written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Scott Faris.  As we took a seat, it initially seemed like a regular play about the landing of the first man on the moon.  But it become more than that.  It was more of a 360 degree experience with music, never-before-seen photos and audio recordings from the actual mission, and full blown effects with smoke coming out of an ascending rocket.  As I looked around, I could see people dabbing at their eyes in the pinnacle moment of touchdown on the moon.  I could not help but wonder what Buzz Aldrin, the original astronaut on that mission, was thinking as he sat several rows in front of me watching the play.  If I was feeling emotion watching original clips from NASA, how much more with one of two people in the entire audience, aside from astronaut Charlie Duke from Apollo 16, who knows what it is like to spend months in a small ship and walk on the moon, with earth in the distance.  I can only imagine, and they can only know.
Autographed picture from Apollo 11 crew (L-R) Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin (Buzz) E. Aldrin, Jr. Photo credit: NASA

As the show ended with director Scott Faris introducing Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and astronaut Charlie Duke, there was a standing ovation.  It was an ovation for the incredible cast, the creative staff behind Apollo 11 immersive show, and the astronauts and the many people whose story will forever live on to inspire future generations in the realm known as space travel.

Curtain call with Scott Farris, Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Gerry Griffin, and cast of Apollo 11 live show

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The lunar experience will be in Los Angeles, CA until August 11.  It will then be in Costa Mesa, CA at the OC Fair and Event Center from October 10 until November 3.  It will make its final appearance in the Lunar Dome at Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center in December where dates are TBA.
Buzz Aldrin on the moon with Neil Armstrong taking the picture.. Photo credit: NASA

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Courtesy of NASA

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