When UCF alumna Angie Timparo Phillips found out Oprah was looking for “Super Fans” to attend one of Oprah’s final shows, she sent in an email along with pictures. More than 150,000 others did the same, and 20,000 won tickets to a two-part show held at Chicago’s United Center. Timparo Phillips was one of those 20,000. Timparo Phillips spoke to the Future about her experiences before and after going to The Oprah Show.
Central Florida Future: Tell me a bit about yourself? When did you attend UCF?
Angie Timparo Phillips: I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Fla. I moved to Orlando in 1994 to attend UCF. I had come up with an AA degree. I attended UCF and then graduated in ‘96 with a degree in Radio and TV. I’ve been in the TV business now since I graduated. I’m a freelance producer. I love it. I’m married and a mother of one.
CFF: When did you find out about the tickets being offered for the show?
Timparo Phillips: Last week I heard that Oprah Winfrey was getting ready to have her last show, and I’ve always wanted to sit in the audience. Last week, I wrote an email and sent pictures and I thought, ‘never in a million years would I get tickets,’ because I understand there’s people that have been on the waiting list for 25 years since she has been on the air. They were looking for Oprah’s most enthusiastic fan, Oprah’s Super Fan. I told Oprah that I have been watching the show since I was a little girl in West Palm with my mom and my grandma, and I was a big fan, and she has always been an inspiration being in the broadcasting field. It’s on my bucket list to meet her in person and/or see a taping of her show and how impressed I am at how many lives over the year she’s influenced.
CFF: When did you find out you had won the tickets?
Timparo Phillips: On Thursday evening (May 5) at 9 p.m., I got an email saying that I had won the tickets and I had until 5 p.m. the following day to respond, and I did. Over 150,000 people applied for the tickets and 20,000 won, and we were one of 20,000.
CFF: How did you react when you found out you had won the tickets?
Timparo Phillips: I was completely shocked, and at first I thought, ‘Is this some sort of hoax or scam email?’. I sent an email back and got an official email telling us what we had to do and the instructions saying where we had to pick everything up. I was allowed to bring one guest over 18, and I picked my cousin.
CFF: Why is it important for you to see and be a part of one of Oprah’s final shows?
Timparo Phillips: I’ve been in the business now for over 15 years, and I have had an opportunity to meet a lot of celebrities and see a lot of TV shows … and I think that this is just the crème de la crème of TV shows and also American female broadcasters. This is my Super Bowl. I feel like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; I’ve won the golden ticket.
The CFF also had an opportunity to speak with Timparo-Phillips after she came back from Chicago. She gave us the inside scoop about what happened on her trip and her experience at The Oprah Show.
CFF: What was your itinerary like when you got to Chicago?
Timparo Phillips: On Tuesday afternoon when we arrived at the United Center in Chicago at 4:30 p.m. (doors were supposed to open at 5 p.m.), the lines to get in were miles and miles long, and it was windy and cold (low 50s), but the sun was shining and the excitement was indescribable. We were finally allowed in at 5:30 p.m. We got to our seats and were amazed at how magnificent our seats were and how great the arena looked with all of the Oprah décor – pictures from all of her most memorable shows.
CFF: Describe your experience while at the show.
Timparo Phillips: The first show taping started around 7 p.m. (Central Time). Oprah took the stage and it was incredible!
Tom Hanks was the Master of Ceremonies, and shortly thereafter, he made a Mission Impossible reference, and out came Tom Cruise to meet Tom Hanks and Oprah on stage, and the excitement was outrageous!
Madonna came out shortly thereafter, and the crowd went wild! From there, it was the who’s-who of A-List celebrities including Jackie Evancho, Patti LaBelle and Josh Groban doing a wonderful rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Beyonce did an exciting performance called “Girls (Run The World).”
In between the celebrity appearances and performances were edited “packages” consisting of women telling stories of how Oprah has changed their lives for the better – very emotional!
There was a live satellite interaction with John Legend from a school in New Orleans where Target had donated enough books to fill the shelves of the entire library. He also announced that Target will be donating enough books to fill 25 school libraries throughout the U.S., not to mention 25,000 oak trees to be planted for our children and future generations.
Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder (who made his appearance on stage when he & his piano rose from the floor to the middle of the stage) and they sang “Isn’t She Lovely.” Dakota Fanning, Halle Berry and Diane Sawyer said wonderful things about Oprah followed by Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes.
The first show was concluded by an exciting performance by Rascal Flatts.
There was a brief break between shows, and then out came Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Michael Jordan practically brought the house down with cheers.
Jerry Seinfeld did a funny stand-up routine. Simon Cowell introduced Rosie O’Donnell, who did a cute musical number with Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Nate Berkus.
It was Kristen Chenoweth’s song and introduction to the 425 Moorhead College graduates that helped to illustrate how many people Oprah has helped to educated over the years, which was very moving to see the young, black men parade out as a few of them told their stories of how they would have been on the streets and never been able to get a college degree if it wasn’t for Oprah. All of whom came out holding candles, and they kept coming and coming and coming as Oprah tried hard to compose herself, but she was overcome by emotion, as was the audience.
Maya Angelou recited a poem she wrote for Oprah, and she was accompanied on the piano by Alicia Keys. Gayle King and Maria Shriver honored Oprah for all of her accomplishments. Stedman [Graham] came out on stage to talk about how proud he was of Oprah and how much he loves her. Tyler Perry made an appearance on stage to say some kind words about Oprah as well. Aretha Franklin surprised Oprah (as well as the audience) with an outstanding version of “Amazing Grace.”
Usher came out to begin the grand finale [with] “Oh, Happy Day” and was accompanied by every one of the celebrities who previously appeared on stage. Confetti was released, and it lingered for several minutes. Goodbyes were said, and all events were concluded by 11 p.m.
CFF: What was the experience like for you?
Timparo Phillips: To say it was the best event I have ever attended would be a gross understatement! For me, to be part of a television-history-making event was a dream come true for this long-time Oprah fan and television-production professional. I don’t know what else to say but that being at the Oprah Surprise Spectacular was such a incredible, memorable experience; one that I will talk about for years to come, telling Addison and my grandchildren. I am one lucky girl!
The shows will debut on May 23 and 24. Oprah’s final show is May 25.
Source: Central Florida Future, Oprah ends 25-year reign, ‘Superfan’ alumna attends Oprah show by Brandi Broxson, news editor. Published: Sunday, May 22, 2011. Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 09:05