Rebekah requested San Diego for her 16-year birthday trip. She wanted to plop her behind on the beach, soak up the sun and transform into a California beach babe for four days. Which she did, admirably. Julianne, my theatre geek, wanted to see a Broadway show. "Newsies," to be more specific. And if we had flown in, seen the show and taken a red-eye back home that very night, she would've been content. But if Rebekah gets four days on the beach, then surely Julianne can have four days in the city. And she was giddy when her Daddy told her that she could pick three Broadway shows to see rather than just the one. (I was giddy too...)
So we took a red-eye over this past Thursday night. I'm not sure how I feel about red-eyes. (The flights, not the actual physical ailment.) I rather loved that we got to NYC at 6:00 AM on Friday morning. We watched the sunrise from the airplane window and how nice was it to know that it was a new day and we were already there! But well, we were tired, of course. (I've discovered that all neck pillows are not created equal. Julianne's was too mushy, mine was to firm. Clearly I need to find a happy medium before my trip to Europe in June.) I slept on the plane. And I likely got more sleep than Bryan or Julianne did judging from the questions that Bryan asked later as to whether I had been at all aware of the beverage cart making the rounds and other such events. I remember none of it. But even if we had all slept completely solidly...it was only a four hour trip.
But guess what? Though check-in was not until 3:00 PM, the hotel put us in our room regardless and we went right to bed and slept till close to noon. So much for being in the city right as the day is starting....
There is much to see in New York City and we saw a lot. Well, only a minor fraction, really because...there is really just so much to see in New York City. But the main draw as I've already mentioned, was Broadway. So that very first night we saw "Wicked." (And by we, I mean Julianne and myself. Because Bryan doesn't really care about musical theatre so why spend a goodly amount of coin on a ticket for him? He claimed to be just as happy to sit in the hotel room and read a book. Plus, he's already seen "Wicked.") As the curtains opened and the music started, I leaned over and whispered, "Welcome to Broadway...." To which Julianne responded with a slight shove and an irritated "Shhh!!" She was already completely and totally focused on the stage. And truthfully, as fabulous as "Wicked" is (and somehow I think I was even more impressed with it on this, my second time seeing it) the very best part was watching Julianne's reaction. Which I did, frequently. She was completely engrossed...with a grin splitting her face from ear to ear. During intermission she overflowed with thoughts about costuming, sets, choreography, symbolism and character choices. And the more she talked, the more emotional she got...just overwhelmed I guess, with the sheer spectacle of the thing and immense gratitude maybe, about being there at all.
Our second show was a matinee of "The Fantasticks" on Saturday afternoon. It was an Off-Broadway production in an old and dinky little theatre. Such a different viewing experience from the night before. Simple and intimate. It had been recommended by a couple of friends from home and was well, simply fantastic! I was so hugely impressed with the production, the actors performing right there in front of us, almost like we were a part of the show with them. I'd heard of "The Fantasticks" before but didn't realize I was actually familiar with quite a bit of the music. Apparently "The Fantasticks" is the longest running show in the world. Humorous and silly as the show is, it still packed quite a thoughtful punch and has been spinning around my brain ever since.
And then, saving the best for last...if you can even compare the three shows we saw and declare one better than another, we saw "Newsies" on Saturday night. We are big fans of the 1992 movie and its soundtrack at our house. It came out when I was in college, and though it wasn't a huge hit at the time, it's had a strong cult following ever since. So apparently bringing "Newsies" to Broadway for a "limited engagement" a few years ago was for the fans. I remember hearing about "Newsies" coming to Broadway and sharing my half-baked plan with Bryan to run out to NYC just for 24 hours so I could see the show...that's how bad I wanted to see it. (Apparently Julianne and I think similarly.) But clearly my plan didn't come to fruition. And "Newsies" turned out to be a hit which turned their limited engagement run into a more permanent home on the Great White Way. We are grateful. Because we enjoyed "Newsies" tremendously. We had seats on the front row of the mezzanine...we couldn't have asked for better. And even with such killer seats, Julianne was so into the production that I found her sitting on the edge of her seat. The choreography was tremendous, simply mind blowing. And truth be told, when they actually started tap dancing in "King of New York" at the beginning of the second act, I actually cried. The actors would finish a particularly big number and strike a pose....and then hold it while the audience went nuts. Clapping, cheering, on and on for far longer than I'd ever seen done in any other show before. They'd hold their pose, breathing heavily with big smiles on their faces...holding, holding, holding...till finally the orchestra would just start up again because otherwise, who knows how long we'd keep cheering?
Up next...more out and about in the Big Apple.