Posts tagged ‘New York City’
Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day! I mean, pure gorgeousness! There wasn’t a drop of rain, and the clouds in the sky were big, white, and bright! So of course, meeting up with some friends in Central Park was a fantastic way to spend the day.
Normally, I would bitch and moan about the behavior of the D train. It didn’t run express along Central Park. It literally stopped at every Orange Line stop between 125th and 59th. I didn’t even care, though. It was going to be an awesome day!
Jackie and I met up with Jake and Jen on the rocks in Central Park (the place by the swings). We just sat and hung out there for a couple of hours, talking, laughing, reading…
Jackie read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” out loud and we talked about it for a bit afterwards. This is one of my favorite short stories, because it’s so unexpected. Maybe I’ll share my essay on it from college (if I can find it…).
Eventually, we made our way to church on E 89th, and then to the Guggenheim afterwards.
It wasn’t my favorite mass because I spent a lot of time praying for patience. One of the parishioners kept responding a few seconds early…with the old mass responses (so “And also with you” instead of “And with your spirit”). It was definitely driving me crazy. Also, I felt like we were running a marathon with how quickly we were saying the Act of Contrition and the Creed.
The Guggenheim was interesting, but all of the ramps were closed, so only the Annexes were open. That, of course, was a little frustrating because the whole point of going to the Guggenheim is to casually stroll the ramps and admire the artwork (at least, that’s the point in my mind). We did have fun commenting on some of the different pieces. There was an “Udder”ly beautiful painting of a cow that Jen “steer”ed us to because it was so “Moo”valous.
When the Gugg shut down and kicked us out, we strolled to the 4 train to head home together, and ended the night with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and tater tots.
Shuffle, Step. Shuffle, Step. Shuffle, Step Step. Shuffle, Step.
I started my tap class one week and one day ago. In our first class, we started learning the Shim Sham. Our teacher taught us the rest of it last night. Which is great, except for one little detail.
I might be one of the worst in my class at this stuff. I lose my balance regularly when I’m trying to switch my weight from foot to foot. Sometimes, I can’t even remember what the next steps are.
Normally, I hate these feelings. I don’t like feeling out of control or feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I get embarrassed and nervous.
Sometimes, its enough to make me quit.
But with tap, its different. I’m bad at it, to the point where I would normally be really embarrassed and would try to hide in the back of the class. But I’ve stayed in the front. I’ve practiced in the subway stations while waiting for my train in my flats. I’m trying to figure out how to make a practice space at home so I can actually use my taps (hello tap dancing on a deck in “da Bronx!).
It’s fun and exciting and invigorating.
And I don’t actually care that I’m really awful at it.
Because I’m having fun. And that’s what really matters.
I might never get this good at tap:
and I’ll for sure never get this good:
But I’ll keep
trying doing my best, and I’ll have a tap-tastic time!
Like many people from my generation, I grew up watching Disney movies. I was born during the triumphant return of the Disney musical…Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. These were pretty popular when I was a kid growing up.
What wasn’t popular were the other movies I was watching. They were unknown to kids in my age group. In fact, a lot of my friend’s parents didn’t even know what these movies were. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older I’ve found more people who loved these very movies that were so unknown when I was younger.
I’m talking about the old classics. Singing in the Rain. On the Town. Anchors Aweigh. Easter Parade. Top Hat. Holiday Inn. Swing Time. These are some of the more popular ones. I loved these movies growing up. I used to secretly tap and stomp around the house thinking that I looked just as cool as Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.
Trust me, I didn’t. And it probably sounded horrible.
I took ballet for a few years, but I never asked my parents for tap classes. I just continued to be mesmerized by the skill of these dancers and to pretend that I could do what they did.
As I get older, I still love these movies and watch them regularly. And I still am mesmerized by the incredible skill that is put on display. I love watching tap. I always have. But I never bothered to take a single class.
Watching Newsies the Musical this past spring made me ask myself why. Why haven’t I taken a tap class? I like it. I think it looks and sounds spectacular. Most of my all-time favorite movies have tap numbers in them. Many of my all-time favorite songs have tap sounds recorded into them.
So why haven’t I bothered trying to dance? I excused myself saying that I didn’t start when I was young, so there was no point in starting later in life.
Then Newsies came out with another “Meet the Newsies” video. This one was about Garett Hawe, who plays Albert and Bill in the show. Watch the video:
I watched this video over and over this summer. Garett’s words stirred something inside of me. For almost two months, I watched this video at least once a day trying to figure it out.
I began to realize that Garett’s words had stirred my desire to start dancing again. I re-watched the “Meet the Newsies – Morris Delancey” video (because Mike does some pretty amazing tap here). I could feel the desire growing. I watched a video of Brendon Stimson being interviewed by Alpha NYC, and heard him talk about how he didn’t start dancing until he was in high school. Maybe it wasn’t too late…but I couldn’t.
Then Jack Scott tweeted about Singing in the Rain, and I popped in my DVD and watched the movie. Gene Kelly really could dance! I began to wish and dream that I could truly dance. Maybe not as well as Jack, Brendon, Mike, Garett, or Gene. But what if I could?
I stayed up late that night watching videos of King of New York, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire. The next day, I re-watched the “Meet the Newsies – Albert” video a few more times.
When I was younger, I was a little overweight and even more awkward. Finding theatre and dance gave me confidence, and with that I was able to feel more comfortable with the person I was on the inside. I became a lot more active and it set me on track for a healthier lifestyle.
I spent a lot of time thinking about Garett’s words, about the Newsies, about how many of them had been inspired by Newsies the Movie, by Gene Kelly, by Fred Astaire. I thought about how much I admired them for their commitment to their fans, to their art. I made a decision:
I had my first class last Monday, and I pretty much sounded the same way I did as a little three-year old stomping around the kitchen. Which might have been discouraging if I hadn’t had quite so much fun just wearing the tap shoes.
We learned the basic steps, and started practicing what my teacher called “The Anthem of Tap” or the “Shim Sham.” I’ve been practicing privately a little every day (except Tuesday because I went to go see Garett as Davey in Newsies and didn’t get home until late…but I did a couple steps in the subway to make up for it). It’s a lot of fun, and I’m really happy about my decision. I can’t wait for my class this Monday!
A HUGE thank you to Garett Hawe for getting me to think about this again, and to Brendon Stimson, Mike Faist, and Jack Scott for helping to tip the scale in favor of dance! You are all amazing and inspiring. I love watching you perform!
Many people might know that this show was sort of “thrown” into my schedule. On September 7, Garett asked me when I was seeing the show next and I answered September 28th. By the time the next person asked me when I was seeing the show again, I was answering with September 18. I knew there was no way I could wait three weeks again.
I got home that night and ordered my ticket. I would sit Orchestra Left, B 05, and it would be an amazing view. I was excited, and counting down the days already.
When I got to the theatre, I was flipping through the playbill and “discovered” that one of my wishes would be coming true:
I looked over at my friend, Sydney, and told her straight up that I was going to cry during this show. I was right.
First off, all the new guys are awesome! Nicholas Lampiasi is absolutely adorable, and he and Garett really seemed like brothers. David and Jacob Guzman were great dancers and fit right in. Iain Young shocked me. He did such an amazing job. I’ve always watched the role of Henry because of Jasmine, so I was sure to pay attention to how he did in the role, and I loved it! I was very impressed, and I hope she will be too!
I miss the original Oldsies, but Tom Alan Robbins did a good job stepping in for Kevin (here’s hoping the best Teddy I’ve ever seen gets well soon! Take care of yourself!), and LaVon Fisher-Wilson plays Medda a little harsher and tougher than Capathia did, and it will take me some time to get used to that, but it was good. I look forward to seeing her performance at least a few more times!
But back to the particulars of last night…I did a really good job holding it together watching Garett’s performance. He played the role so well, and I noticed a few subtle things about his performance that I really appreciated. For example, after he first buys his papes, he did a great job copying Corey’s Jack Kelly selling strategies with slightly more obvious looks at Corey on stage than Ben usually uses. Just before the World Will Know, Garett pulled off the change of heart scene for Davey. Still, I was able to hold it together.
Watch What Happens is one of my favorite songs in the show. It’s my go to song anytime I have writer’s block or any time I need to pump myself up, and Kara did not disappoint. I loved watching her performance yet again! And I still wasn’t crying! Yes!!!
And then everything changed. Basically, once Garett started singing Seize the Day, I was a wreck. I was crying and smiling so much (Sydney said that if she didn’t know better she would have thought I was related to him in some way…I think that’s the motherly-side of me. I get that way about people I’m attached to, like Garett and Jack and Brendon and Corey and all of my students).
Garett did such a great job with Seize the Day, you couldn’t help but love his performance! And the Newsies were nailing every step of their dances and the harmonies were exquisite. It was absolutely amazing to watch, and they really did an amazing job. I seriously believe that last night might be one of my favorite performances of Seize the Day EVER! It definitely helped that Jack Scott (who was playing Albert and Bill–Garett’s track) saw me in the seats and threw BOTH of his newspapers directly at me…literally. They were line drives to me (thank goodness I played sports growing up, and was able to catch it without it bouncing into someone else’s lap!). At intermission, I had to ask my friend if she thought that it was supposed to be directly at me, or if I imagined the whole thing.
I clutched my newspaper as I tweeted and caught up on the twitter news during intermission, and then I got to talk to the lovely women sitting next to me. I’m pretty sure I was just added entertainment for them, talking about how amazing the show is and how sweet the cast members are, and I convinced them to stage door after the show!
Of course, the lights flashed and the music began, and the audience was transported back to 1899…I really love King of New York. It’s absolutely fabulous to watch the cast tap away, and they all have so much skill! I loved seeing Kara Lindsay’s timid tap as Katherine, and the Guzman brothers do the first two table solos, followed by Mike’s stunning and glorious nerve tap (it truly fascinates me to no end…I love this part of the show). My other favorite part of King of New York only happens when Garett is playing Albert, because for some reason the way he sings “Nobbin’ with all the muckety-mucks, I’m blowin’ my dough and going deluxe” while crossing to the chair, sitting down, and crossing his legs in mid-air makes me smile. I don’t even bother trying to understand it, I just accept it. It’s wonderful. Jack always does a good job when he plays that role, but that part isn’t as momentous to me when it’s not Garett.
Shortly after King of New York, another of my favorite songs is performed. The reprise of Watch What Happens is such a fun song to sing along with on the recording and it’s a little sassy at times. But there’s that one part (you know, the one all the fansies swoon over because Ben “riffs” it in the backstage rituals YouTube video and annoys Andrew to no end) that has always gotten me (because that part is the most fun to belt, too). And Garett nailed it, and I promptly burst into tears because it was perfect. Thank goodness Sydney was there with me, tossing tissues into my lap every so often.
I got it together for the rest of the show, and then Once and For All started, which is the song I ALWAYS cry during. Every time. Even when I tell myself, “Hey, Stephanie. I have a great idea: let’s not cry tonight? Maybe we can get some pictures where your eyes aren’t red and puffy!”. I can’t help it. I’m even quoted talking about it on Jonathon Mandell’s blog, New York Theater. So of course, the tears started to fall again.
After the show, I got to the stage door and waited patiently, talking to people and reveling in the emotions of the show. Jack Scott was the first one out, and when he got to me, I asked him if I could get a picture with him and the pape he threw me. He laughed and was just as happy about it as I was (well, not really…I was way happier than I can ever say). He apologized for the “line drive” and said that he had seen me in my seat and wanted to make sure I got it!
Jess LeProtto was there shortly after Jack, and told me he saw me wiping tears away during the show. I guess the guys really can see the first couple of rows of the audience (hopefully, they think I’m a good audience member).
When Garett came out, he gave me a hug and thanked me for the little goodie bag I gave him. I got to congratulate him on an amazing performance, and I had him sign my ticket (which I had Brendon do back on July 2), my playbill, and the newspaper Jack threw me. Then he was sweet enough to take a picture with me.
Basically, this night is way up there on my list of all-time favorite nights!
August 8, 2012. Trust me, people, it’s a day to remember. It’s a day that a very recent Carnegie Mellon graduate made his Broadway début. If you know who I am talking about, I’m proud of you! If you don’t, learn this name:
Got it? Good. Don’t forget it, because this guy is going to make huge waves on Broadway and in the acting world in general. He’s already started with his heart wrenching rendition of Santa Fé.
Let me tell you about my discovery of this amazing young man. See, the first time I saw him was August 2, 2012 at Newsies Softball. My first interaction with him was that same day, and actually happened before I even saw him.
He was warming up with the rest of the Newsies behind the stands, and he hit a softball…which then hit me in the head (no serious damage done…I grew up playing sports). Of course, he was a gentleman and apologized profusely, but I was on the phone with a friend who was coming to meet me, so I brushed it off like it was no big deal (because, well, it wasn’t).
Anyway, just under a week later, this charming young man made his Broadway début in Newsies, performing as Jack Kelly. His début was the matinée, which I didn’t get to go to (I was a Jersey Boys with another fansie), but I did make it to the evening show that night, when he also performed.
Can I just say that this guy is great? When he was on stage, he wasn’t an actor playing Jack Kelly. He was Jack Kelly, Newsie extraordinaire and blow-hard of the Newsies Union. He sang each song perfectly, and I felt so many emotions as he performed. Basically, Corey takes the things I loved about Christian Bale’s Jack Kelly and the things I loved about Jeremy Jordan’s Jack Kelly and combines them to make Jack Kelly.
In addition to being an amazing actor, this guy is very down to earth and is right there with all the other Newsies at the stage door. He’s such a sweetheart to each of his fans, and you can tell that he is genuinely appreciative of them being there and supporting him.
I’m glad I know who this guy is, and I’m excited to see him in Newsies many more times!
Here are the pictures from the Newsies stage door on July 11, 2012, the night before my trip to California and Chicago.
There are pictures of Mike Faist, Andy Richardson, Jeremy Jordan, Evan Kasprzak, Capathia Jenkins, Jess LeProtto, Garett Hawe, Ryan Steele, Tommy Bracco, Ryan Breslin, and Ben Fankhauser.
Getting back into the swing of the school year is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s my second year serving at my school, so I anticipated that things would be a little easier.
And in some ways, things are a little easier, which is nice. I’m more comfortable with the school environment. I’m more confident tutoring the students, despite the subject.
However, in many ways, things aren’t any easier. There are always students in my classroom, which I love, but sometimes I feel like I’m running a question-answering marathon. It’s exhausting to switch back and forth rapidly between subjects. I barely get a breath between answering a trig question and an Algebra 1 question. Fortunately, some students are getting help from my coworker, slowly but surely, and the pressure is slowly being lifted.
The end of the day comes quickly, and I’m always grateful for it. It’s nice to get out of the classroom and walk the streets of New York (which are no longer echoing with the voices of Newsies). Sometimes, I walk to the further train station, enjoying a few extra precious minutes outside before clambering back underground.
The ride home on the train is tough…no one wants to wait an hour before they can get home. One day, I hope I can apparate…but I’m just a Muggle, so it will never happen. I settle in with a book or “Newsies Got Swag” (I’ve just about got the rap down! I have to double-check a couple of lyrics with Bres, but I’m close!).
By the time I get home, I hopefully have a few minutes to sit and do nothing before community prayer and dinner start, and then its time to clean up and get ready for bed.
When night comes, and it’s time to lay down my head, I toss and turn. As grateful for the end of the day as I am, I’m excited to get back to work and to serve my students.
Last wednesday was my last day in NYC for he next two and a half weeks. We’re down to just two weeks now, and I still haven’t told you guys what I decide to do on my last night in the city.
Honestly, most of you probably already know what I did, because I think at least 70% of my readers follow me on twitter. The other 30% is a collection of family, friends, and other WordPress users who don’t follow me on twitter. (comment below and tell me which you are! 😊)
Anyway, for those of you still interested in this story, I asked “What do I want to do on my last night in NYC?” I don’t know why I even wasted the time asking. Everyone (and I dI in fact mean everyone. Even the Newsies cast members and security and merchandising) knows exactly what my answer was.
Yes, that’s right. I wanted to leave NYC on a high note, so of course I would have to see Newsies. I invited a friend’s sister to tag along, and she did, so I wasn’t alone.
Of course, most of Wednesday was spent putting the finishing touches on my room and my packing. With the anticipation of seeing Newsies, though, I was done packing really early, and had an hour to spare before I could even check in for my Southwest flight.Side note: Why is it that time drags on when something exciting is coming up? We really need to figure this out.
Of course, since I was done packing early, I was ready to leave early, because I had so much extra time to get ready. So I headed out, hoping that spending some time on the subway would mellow me out and calm me down. It didn’t.
I was still a hyper mess when I got to Times Square, but I resisted the urge to go straight to the theatre. It was barely 4:15pm. The matinee wasn’t even over yet.
I had recently been upgraded to a Starbucks Gold Card Member, so I thought I’d work at maintaining that privilege. That stalled me for about 15 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for a long line before.
I walked past the theatre again, only to see that the show finally had been let out, and there was a huge crowd of people waiting for autographs. I was able to take a picture of one family under the sign, which was actually really exciting. It’s the only picture they have in NYC of all three of them! I talked to them about Broadway a little bit, and then they left to catch a dinner reservation.
I wandered back and forth along the street for a bit and then I settled myself at the front of the SRO line to wait for Anthea to arrive and the lotto to happen.
As it turns out, I didn’t need to get in that line. My name was called! I won lotto tickets! And a couple guys from the show saw that I won lotto tickets and gave me thumbs up!
Anthea and I went to Schnipper’s to get dinner before the show, and it was absolutely delicious! I definitely want to go back there soon. It was so good!!!
Anthea and I were the first people in the theatre, and we got all settled and really enjoyed the show from out 4th row seats! SO AWESOME! We even got to move over three seats for the second half. The show was amazing as always, but the best part was the curtain call.
Everything went very smoothly until Jeremy came out. He slipped a slid feet first, rolled himself over and stood up to continue running to the center of the stage. He played it off very well as if nothing had gone wrong, but a couple of the guys (Jeremy included) had huge grins on their faces. They were definitely getting a kick out of the fact that Jeremy ate it on stage.
After the show, I stage doored as always, and took pictures with a couple of the guys. I had everyone who came out sign a white Ivy Cap (similar to a Newsies hat) that I had to commemorate my 10th show.NOTE: Pictures will be posted, but I forgot my cord to connect my camera to my computer…so it’ll have to wait!! UPDATE: See the stage door pictures by clicking here.
Here’s a list of some favorite things from the past week!
Favorite Concert Moment:
Can I just say that Garett Hawe and Eric Hatch dancing back-up for Steffanie Leigh’s Britney Poppins was spectacular?
Favorite Lunch Treat:
Sushi with Meagan for my first lunch in CA!!!
Favorite Plane Drink:
My favorite drink to get on an airplane is Ginger Ale (and water of course).
Favorite Summer Video:
This video captures glimpses of Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s summer, but it looks like what everyone wants in a summer experience!
Favorite Twitter Moment:
I was so surprised when Garett favorited this tweet! He is awesome and very inspiring!
Hope you enjoyed! Share your Friday Favorites in the comments below!!! Thanks all!
- Five Fabulous Friday Favorites! (July 6, 2012) (stephanieisms.wordpress.com)
- The First “Five Fabulous Friday Favorites”!!! (stephanieisms.wordpress.com)
- Five Fabulous Friday Favorites! (May 25, 2012) (stephanieisms.wordpress.com)
- Five Fabulous Friday Favorites! (May 18, 2012) (stephanieisms.wordpress.com)
- Five Fabulous Friday Favorites! (June 22, 2012) (stephanieisms.wordpress.com)