Hi friends! I recently got to spend an entire week seeing shows and friends and family in NYC. It was really amazing, and I thought you’d want to hear about it! I’ll be talking more about the shows themselves on our Finishing The Season podcast, so subscribe wherever you get your podcasts if you don’t want to miss that.
Day 1 of my adventures began with a pre-dawn outing to the bus station (driven by Ross) and then making an Amtrak connection in Boston. When I arrived in NYC, I immediately headed toward the ferry and then walked for about a half hour to get to my (free) apartment for the week in Hoboken, New Jersey. It was a pleasant and largely uneventful trip, and I was delighted to see my host and tour my lovely home for the week. (Fifth floor walk-up = quite the workout!) Exhausted from my trip, I participated in my group’s mastermind call and then relaxed for a few before heading back into the city. My destination? 54 Below for Jonathan Larson’s “The Jonathan Larson Project”. Five years of research went into this history-making concert, conceived by Jennifer Tepper, and I got to experience its closing performance in all its glory. (I also had a tasty burger and greens and followed it up with some delicious gelato! There’s a food/drink minimum at the club, but the food is great.) As planned, I then called a Lyft after the late show, and I swear the driver was there within seconds. Perks of being in a big city! I returned “home” uneventfully.
Day 2, a Monday, saw me sleeping in, getting a bit of work done and then heading out to a local market for food supplies to get me through the week. I had brought most of my own snacks from NH (much cheaper) but I picked up a couple of vegetables and yogurt. My only frustration was that they stole some money from me, charging me for fish I didn’t buy. And for once I didn’t look at the receipt before I left the store. 😦 Oh well. When I got back, I prepared my vegetables (spinach and butternut squash) for breakfast. Then I packed dinner and headed into the city to enter the lottery for Once On This Island. Lucky for me, I won (and another single person and I had teamed up, so he won as well), and for $49.50 I got to see this Tony-winning revival. Besides one slightly pitchy cast member, the show was stupendous, with an incredible set and an understudy for the lead who was really transformative. Circle in the Square continues to be a favorite Broadway house and I loved it, and although there aren’t bad seats there, my seats were really awesome. Afterwards I learned how to take the NJ Transit bus back to Hoboken (thanks for the encouragement, Google!).
Tuesday was an earlier morning, and I woke and packed my lunch and snacks for later. This morning my goal was to get to Come From Away in time for a rush ticket. I was about the seventh person in line, which meant no seats were left, but I was the first to get standing room for only $32.50. What a deal! After I got my tickets, I met my host and friend for lunch at Dig Inn (outstanding), got ice cream at Van Leeuewens (best in NYC I think) and then made my way downtown for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Google first directed me to a different museum that’s been there for a while and maintained by the families and friends of the victims, so I visited there first. The first visit was good. The Memorial was really pretty and the museum next to it is extremely well done. After a powerful afternoon, I headed back toward the theater…the real reason I came here. Wow. Come From Away is a gorgeous score and an absolutely stunning production, with a stellar cast (I saw a few understudies but mostly the original cast) and incredible direction…This show is just outstanding. A highlight of my trip, for sure, and possibly the highlight. I took the PATH train back to Hoboken afterwards.
Day 4, a Wednesday, was another slower start. I still had plenty of work to attend to in the morning, but doing it while lying in bed was a treat. I also attended to entering lotteries and deciding on my show priorities for the day. When I didn’t get my dream shows, that set my course for the day. Then I set off on a mission – to check out Torico, the closest homemade ice cream place to my apartment. This Jersey City location is OUTSTANDING and I was blown away by the service, the prices and best of all the sesame seed and peppermint candy ice creams. Follow my In Search Of A Scoop posts if you want the full write up! After ice cream (which I walked a half hour for), I took the train into NYC and then took the subway to Midtown for my first show of the day: Head Over Heels! I hadn’t done a ton of research on this one, but the reviews were great, the music was The Go-Go’s and wow, am I glad I chose this one! It’s set in Elizabethan times with gorgeous costumes and sets and lots of rhyming couplets but it’s a decidedly now musical, with a wonderful score and a plot worthy of today. It was also a thrill to see Alexandra Socha of NH originating a major role in a Broadway musical. For this one, I got to see the entire original cast, and I’m so glad, because if there’s any rhyme or reason to the world, this one will get some Tony recognition next season. Go see this now, while there are plenty of seats available and you can get digital rush seats for cheap through TodayTix! I saw this from the literal front row center. Amazing!
After my first show, Google told me where the best gluten-free bagels were in NewYork, and I do believe I found them! I had a gluten-free bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese and I remembered how wonderful New York is. 🙂 And then I headed to Renascence, a weird and wonderful show about Edna St. Vincent Millay with a small cast of extraordinary singers and actors, including Jason Gotay, who I’d loved in Bring It On. The location on the Lower East Side was the only one that made me really nervous during my NYC visit, but I kept my wits about me and got home safely without panicking. Also, rush tickets for this were super cheap – $25!
On Thursday, after again losing the reach lotteries (alas), I settled on Desperate Measures, a cowboy Western off-Broadway take on Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. I got tickets to the evening show, which gave me time to visit the Met for a donation. I also returned to Torico for another cup of ice cream. Yes, it’s that good!
Unfortunately for me, I learned when I arrived that the Met changed their policy in March, so now if you aren’t local, you can’t set your own rate for tickets. 😦 But after a quick visit to Central Park and a consultation with my brother, I headed to the natural history museum, which still lets you pay what you like and was an easy walk from where I was! I had a fun and really interesting lesson in museums and sociology and such as I observed not only humans and animals but also the historical exhibits and what they did and didn’t highlight. It was fascinating. After all that, it was time for a dinner stop at Shake Shack (yayyy for gluten-free buns! Delicious chocolate custard!) and then I caught Desperate Measures. Which you should all go and see before it closes. So much fun and a truly talented cast of characters and a super fun plot I wasn’t familiar with before this.
On Friday, I woke up bright and early, tended to emails and headed out to spend the day visiting MoMa for the first time. The Museum of Modern Art has been on my list for more than a dozen years, and it was such a thrill to finally visit! (Tickets are $25 but they are totally worth it.)
I had no guide or plan for my visit, except that I knew I wanted to see everything before I left. Luckily for me, the very first exhibit I went to was my favorite, so I had lots of time to see it. “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done” was an astonishing exhibit that I will absolutely never forget. I should explain that not only am I dancer first before a theater artist and musician, but I’m also a geek about dance history in the same way I am a geek about theater history. But like theater, dance is an ephemeral art form, and although I’ve read a lot about companies like Judson Dance Theater, I’ve very seldom gotten to see any of their work.
So this exhibit was a dream come true. I saw dance work recorded for film as well as tons of clips from dance productions, and I listened to audio interviews with members of the company. I read a ton and geeked out over pictures. And when I finished my exploration, I happened to wander in and catch a modern dance performance by a few dancers from the company.
I then explored the rest of the museum. I love modern art and art of the 20th century, and I really love impressionism, and all of this was well-represented at the museum. They also have a beautiful sculpture garden, so I enjoyed the sculptures while I had lunch.
When I had completed my visit, Ross let me know his bus into NYC was running late, so I got into place to view a dance performance by some of the founders of Judson Dance Theater! Deborah Hay and her dance partner revisited a work that they’ve been performing for more than fifty years, with two different video screens, audio recordings, their own dance and their own voice. The company featured about twenty dancers and it was unlike anything I’ve seen live. The exhibit explained that their work was heavily influenced by twelve tone music and the other art of the era. It was incredibly special, and it was all free with my ticket for the day.
Unfortunately Ross’ bus was super super late to NYC, but eventually he made it into Port Authority. Then we headed to the Museum of the Motion Picture to join my brother for a free night focused on an incredible Jim Henson exhibit. We followed it up with ice cream at a new to me place, Ice & Vice. (The story of that visit will be great fodder for a future post, so follow In Search of a Scoop if you like a good ice cream adventure!)
It was wonderful to see Scott, and we got home uneventfully on the bus.
Saturday with Ross we were bound for his choice of adventures, which focused on the Nintendo store! We also visited another newto me ice cream place and met a really sweet couple, their child and their two service dogs in training. We also went underground at Rockefeller Plaza for the first time, and I found a wonderful place for a casual and affordable gluten-free meal (I went with soup and salad), Ross visited GameStop and we both fell in love with their bookstore full of quirky stuffed animals, puppets and adorable books.
We were pretty worn out, so we relaxed on a bench for a while before grabbing a coffee (for Ross), a treat to share and made out way to the theater for the reason for our trip: The Band’s Visit!
The show was absolutely outstanding (we’ll discuss it much more on Finishing The Season), and we relished every minute of it. It was a wonderful way to conclude my week of theater.
Our final day was pretty uneventful. We took the ferry into NYC (Ross loves a boat) and then took our time walking uptown to meet our bus. Along the way we found lunch for each of us, including pizza for Ross, and our luxury bus ride back was refereshing with included snacks and drinks (including lots of gluten-free options) and a comfortable place to sit.
We are incredibly thankful to our host and to Scott and to everything and everyone that helped make this trip possible. And I’m truly thankful that Ross supported me making it happen!
p.s. Subscribe to our podcast, Finishing The Season if you want more show details and follow In Search Of A Scoop for all the ice cream reviews!