Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NYC Recap

One more post about my trip to the City last week. Here's a quick list of highlights:

  • Got together with my grad school buddy Matt and his wife - so much fun, and just what the doctor ordered
  • Saw five shows - The Big Voice: God or Merman, Les Miserables, The Color Purple, The Producers, and The Lion King
  • Laughed harder than I've laughed in years at WYSIWYG, and got to see Joe perform. It was so fun to hear the voice behind the blog, and he rocked it like he owned it. Very cool. All of the performers were awesome - I know where I'll be next Valentine's Day.
  • Did the MoMA and the Met - wow, the Met! I hung out there for about five hours, mostly in the Asian wing, and stalked the Japanese visitors. That's cool, right?
  • Visited Takashimaya (which was my favorite store in Japan; the one in Manhattan is considerably snootier, but I still enjoyed it), Minamoto Kitchoan, and Kinokuniya. Kinokuniya was crazy - set up exactly like the stores in Japan with identical products (although at a 300% mark-up). Pure heaven for a girl who misses Nihon.
  • Fulfilled a long-standing geek fantasy by (squeal!) touring the UN. Orgasmic.
  • Ate awesome food, including the best Indian I've had since I was in Amsterdam years ago.

I started my trip out right - getting up an hour early and having a good, hard work out at the hotel before setting out each day, and sticking to the diet by eating mostly fruit and veggies. About three days in something happened to me and my health regimen changed to model that of probably Keith Richards. A bummer in the big-picture sense, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Now I just need to get back on that elliptical and work off all those martinis.

Two notes about my favorite shows - Les Mis was unreal, of course, and I was all but levitating around the room the entire time. I had the complete pleasure of having the best Jean Valjean and Javerts that I've ever seen (which is really saying something - I've seen the show a lot); I was so drawn in by their voices and by their acting. Unfortunately, that was slightly offset by having the worst Fontaine ever - you know the old woman who sounds like she's smoked for five or six hundred years and she has a sock on her hand that she calls a lambchop or something? I think she's at the Broadhurst playing Fontaine. I've never watched Les Mis waiting for Fontaine to die, but I did last week.

(Well, now I feel quite bad saying that about the actress/singer. I'm certain she's a nice person, and probably very talented. But seriously, I wanted Fontaine to DIE.)

The other Broadway shows were great, (gotta love "Hell No!"), but nothing is like Les Mis for me. I was trying to figure out why that is, why it's so powerful. I remember reading the book in Bible college shortly after seeing the musical for the first time. I specifically remember sitting in my Ecclesiology & Escatology class (now do you know why I'm so screwed up?) and hiding the book in my class text so that it appeared to the professor that I was studying. My friend Jeff was making fun of me for being on page ten that day. (It has something like 1700 pages.) I did finish it and it remains my favorite book ever, and Hugo's amazing, unmistakable writing style is probably what got me hooked on the themes in the story. (That and being in a jacked up Bible college that knew only judgment and no grace - two of the book's central themes.)

The Broadhurst Theater has this quote from Hugo posted outside the building:

"Is there not in every human soul, was there not in the soul of Jean Valjean in particular, a first spark, a divine element, incorruptible in this world, immortal in the other, which good can develop, fan, ignite, and make to glow with splendor, and which evil can never wholly extinguish?"

*Sigh.* During the show I was thinking about how I can relate to something in almost every character - certainly Valjean's and Javert's characters (although I hate to admit it with Javert), but I also can relate to the Bishop's hope, Eponine's longing, Enjolras' passion, Cosette's searching, Marius' grief, and more. And during "Bring Him Home"? I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Breathtaking.

If you're not a Les Mis person, I get it that that whole thing doesn't make much sense. But then again, if you're not a Les Mis person, I just don't know if we can be friends.

I also wanted to mention The Big Voice: God or Merman. ("As in Ethel?" my therapist said. Yes, as in Ethel.) I purchased a ticket to the show after seeing the advert on Joe.My.God. and not really knowing anything about it. I'm not sure what to say about this one, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who will be seeing it, but I will say that I enjoyed it far more than the other big name shows that I saw. I was caught completely off guard by how much I identified with the stories told, and how it got at my faith issues. I can't really explain it but it gave me hope that it's possible to heal and find purpose and love, even after being wounded in significant ways.

For some reason this week I'm having a hard time using my words. Here's Someone in a Tree's review, and he says it much better than I can - especially the paragraph that details Jim and Steve's presence on stage. I have to admit that during the show I laughed so loudly that I worried I was disturbing the other audience members, and I also cried like a schoolgirl with no lunch money. Actually, I think it would be called sobbing. I had to concentrate to not go into the loud cry. Go see it soon. You'll be so glad. I've been wondering if I can survive another Amtrak experience so I can get down to see it again in the next few weeks. If I'm considering that, you know it's serious.

Thanks for indulging me about the trip! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.


  1. Why the regularly sheduled program? I am loving living vicariously through you. Thanks for sharing!! R

  2. I am sooo glad I still get to be a friend since I love Les Mis probably as much as you do even though I have only seen it like three times and read it twice. And was that not the greatest run on sentence in the whole world ??? Glad you had a good time.

  3. Les Mis is one of my favorites. While everyone was enthralled with Phantom I was fascinated with Les Mis.

    And as for sobbing, well I can't say it any better than it's already been said:

    Don't cry out loud
    Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings
    Fly high and proud
    And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

  4. i love your description of the different kinds of crying. :-)