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Proof that this story is true. Photo credit to my cousin, Laura.

We are less than a week away from the Oscars, and while it might make more sense for me to make an Oscars prediction post, I’ve decided instead to tell you all a story. (Plus, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m hoping for “Moonlight” to win all the awards, even ones it wasn’t actually nominated for.)


Celebrity run-ins are always exciting. There’s just something about seeing someone you’ve watched on TV or in the movies in person that feels so surreal and crazy, it can often be hard to believe it’s actually happening. I’ve had my fair share or random celebrity run-ins, from holding the door open at an Old Navy for John Waters to sharing an elevator ride with Cynthia Nixon to even sitting a few rows and an aisle away from Meryl Streep at a Broadway play. And while all of those run-ins were special, the story I’m about to tell you beats them all (Except maybe Meryl. Nothing beats Meryl. Except for Emma Stone at the Oscars, hopefully.) because in this story I spotted not one, not two, but three mega-stars, all in one place.


The first mega-star I knew I was going to see, since he was the star of the thing we were all there for. I was in the audience at “Lucky Guy,” a Broadway play written by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks. So yeah, Tom Hanks was there. Mega-celebrity number one, check. My mom and I had gotten the tickets a month prior when we were in town to see another show, Alan Cumming‘s essentially one-man version of “Macbeth,” which was crazy and awesome. The only good seats left were on opposite ends of the center row, so we accepted the fact that we would not be sitting together and got the tickets. This may not seem important to the story, but trust me, it is.


Another seemingly not important but important element to the story is the fact that whenever my family is in a place where we might have a chance of seeing some stars, we play the celebrity spotting game. First person to spot someone (and get visual confirmation from someone else) wins 10 bucks. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, but let’s just say I’ve scored many Alexander Hamiltons in my life. My mom has only really taken home the prize once, when she insanely spotted actor Hamish Linklater on the street in New York. What can I say, she was a big “The New Adventures of Old Christine” fan.


She equally insanely spotted Linklater¬†again in the audience at “Lucky Guy” and had all but claimed victory for the day. Little did she know, however, that I had my eye on the back of a head four rows up that looked a lot like famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It might sound crazy that I thought a guy looked like Steven Spielberg from simply the back of his head, but it just looked to strangely distinctive I couldn’t let it go. I looked around to see if anyone else in the audience was eyeing him and spotted a couple in orchestra right trying to clandestinely snap a shot. I knew then that I wasn’t crazy. He finally turned around and I was 100 percent confident that it was Steven Spielberg in the flesh. I got visual confirmation from my cousin Laura, who was sitting next to me, and shot a quick text to my mom on the other end of the row before the lights went down for the first act.


Act one finishes and I turn my phone back on to see if my mother has responded and see a text that says “Is that Judd Apatow?” Did my mom think that Steven Spielberg looked like Judd Apatow, of “Knocked Up” and “Freaks and Geeks” fame? Then I saw the actual Judd Apatow walk up the aisle past me and I knew that no, she had not been sorely mistaken. Judd Apatow was there too. And not only was he there, he was sitting in the row in directly front of Spielberg. When he got back to his seat I got to watch him and Spielberg chat (probably about making box-office hit movies like it’s no big deal) and my cousin got to take the above picture, proof of our crazy day. (The play was also great, by the way. I feel like it’s important to mention that.)


I told myself that if I happened to be walking up the aisle near either Spielberg or Apatow after the show I would say something to them, but I never got the chance. I left the theater the pedestrian way and they left the theater the fancy superstar way, which probably involves a series of hidden doors. It was exciting nevertheless, and has definitely stayed with me in the following years. Oh, and we decided that no one should get the 10 bucks. We were all winners that day.


Have any great celebrity run-in stories? Does you family also play the celebrity spotting game? Can you think of any other celebrities with distinctive head shapes? Tell your tale in the comments. And, before I go back to preparing for the Oscars, always remember…


Stay classy.