Saturday, December 20, 2014

New York City - Dream Trip - Wednesday

Wednesday was a triple threat. We met the married couple, Marc and Alice, who make up the writing team of Cleo Coyle. We had a wonderful lunch at Pigalle, both food and conversation.

While Anna and Alice headed off to see A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, I went across the street to see You Can't Take It With You with James Earl Jones and Mark Linn-Baker. Just think! I was about six feet from James Earl Jones. This one was just a fun play.

Anna and I had dinner reservations for Pigalle again. Loved their French onion soup. And, then, for a final time, we headed to A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. If you've never seen this show, you don't know how clever and fun it is. Bryce Pinkham is leaving in January to be in The Heidi Chronicles. I just can't picture the show without him.

So, I'll end with a taste of that show, the Tony Award-winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder.

Friday, December 19, 2014

New York City - Dream Trip - Tuesday

The weather forecast for Tuesday was rain all day, so we changed our schedule. Before heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the day, we stopped at the Plaza. My friend, Kaye Wilkinson Barley, is a big fan of Eloise, so I made a point of taking some pictures for her. Happy Belated Birthday to Kaye and Eloise.

And, it definitely was rain all day. So, we enjoyed the Met, the Nativity Tree, some of the historic rooms, the Faberge eggs. We went to an exhibit of mourning clothes. Anna, who has been there numerous times, hit some of the highlights she thought I would enjoy. The Nativity Tree was definitely a highlight, with the angels in the tree, and the nativity scene all around it.

It's hard to catch cabs at the Met in the rain, so we shared a cab with a couple heading back to Broadway, too. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant on Restaurant Row, Orso, and went to see It's Only a Play. Probably the worst play we saw while we were there. Nathan Lane was funny. Megan Mullally, Rubert Grint, Stockard Channing, and a new young actor, Micah Stock were very good. But, the plot was dull, and Matthew Broderick was as dull as the plot. Very poor performance. With Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally, and Rubert Grint leaving, I wouldn't recommend this play to anyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New York City - Dream Trip - Monday

The theaters are dark on Monday, but that doesn't mean we couldn't find shows to go to. We started our day at Radio City Music Hall to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, narrated by Santa, and featuring the Rockettes.

Before the program even started, Radio City Music Hall itself is spectacular with this enormous chandelier in the lobby. And, then, when you walk in, they have two organs playing, and the organs rise and descend through the floor. The curtain has snowflakes playing across it before the show starts.
Anna and me. I actually was dressed like every New Yorker, in a black puff coat and boots.

It was spectacular, and, if you get the chance you really should see the show once.

We caught the subway to Union Square and met an editor friend of Anna's, Jennifer, at a restaurant called Le Midi. And, then we headed to WNYC for a live radio broadcast of A Christmas Carol. I'd never been to a radio broadcast before, and to see one put on my NPR was special. The man who did the sound effects does them for Garrison Keiller's Lake Wobegon. Bill Kurtis was the narrator. Jefferson Mays from A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder played the ghosts. Mark Linn-Baker played Scrooge. John Hockenberry was in it. It was wonderful!

We had to grab a taxi in order to make it to the next event, a tour of Brooklyn with all the Christmas lights. It's actually Dyker Heights, which, this time of year, is called Dyker Lights. It was started by a woman named Lucy, who, when neighbors complained, answered by telling them if they didn't like it, "Move". The neighbors got into the spirit of things, as you can see. We ended the tour with cannoli and hot chocolate. I'm ending Monday with pictures from the light tour.

Lucy's house this year

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New York City-Dream Trip- Sunday

William Cullen Bryant welcomed us to Bryant Park on Sunday. We went to see the Winter Village and the skating at Bryant Park. The Winter Village is a number of booths selling crafts and goods, and very good hot cranberry cider.

That was our entire morning before we headed off to Broadway to see A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. This Tony-award winning musical was the reason we made this trip. I had seen it in May. It's wonderful! And, Anna had listened to the soundtrack, and knew she'd love it. Of course, we loved it all the more this time.

Like Les Miserables, the cast of Gentleman's Guide was collecting for the Cure. I bought the cd, Carols for a Cure, the sixteenth holiday cd put out by the Broadway Companies performing that season. And, then they told us for $5 we could have our pictures taken with the stars of the show, who would meet people at the exits, and pose in costume. So, the lighting is bad, but that's me with Bryce Pinkham, who played Monty Navarro.

We didn't have much time after that play to get across town to a small theater in a church. The York Theatre Company has been performing noteworthy musicals for twenty years as "Musicals in Mufti". On Monday, the cast gets their script. The following weekend, they perform the play. This weekend, it was My Favorite Year starring Douglas Sills in the role Peter O'Toole played in the movie. I saw Douglas Sills in his most famous role as The Scarlet Pimpernal when he played it with the touring Broadway company in Naples, Florida. Many might also recognize Richard Kind in the play.

We walked back to the hotel that night, so that's when we had the chance to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, and the skaters there. So, we began and ended the day with skaters.

Oh, and one final picture. I have a friend who loves The Librarians movies, and now the TV show. For librarians everywhere, the Times Square billboard for the show.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New York City - Dream Trip - Saturday

If my photos don't come through from my IPad to my computer, there will be just a couple pictures here today. I'm sorry. My devices aren't talking to each other right now.

We started our day taking the subway to the Cloisters Museum, and then hiking uphill in order to get there. (Quite a hike uphill, as a matter of fact.) The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This separate building houses the museum's collection of art and artifacts from Medieval Europe.

The Cloisters is on a hill overlooking the Hudson, and it was gorgeous on a cold day with the steam rising from the river. The building is composed of parts of five abbeys that were disassembled, and reassembled between 1934 and 1939 on the present site. We spent most of the morning wandering through the collections.

Our next stop was at the Hungarian Pastry Shop across from St. John the Divine. One of my co-
workers recommended it, and she was right. I had a Dobos, and Anna had a Napoleon. I don't know when I had such a wonderful pastry.

On our way to the holiday bazaar there on the grounds, we stopped at the Peace Garden. Not exactly what I'd think of as peaceful. Satan has been beheaded by an angel on that sculpture.

The holiday bazaar was fun, but it was the display at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine that was wonderful. Xu Bing, a Chinese artist, built two phoenix birds out of trash on a Chinese construction site. A Chinese businessman purchased them. They have been exhibited in China, Boston, and now New York City. They are stunning, lit by LED lights.

Dinner at Saturday night was at an Irish restaurant/pub, Tir Na Nog, down the street from our hotel. Very good shepherd's pie.

We ended the evening at Les Miserables, starring Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean and Will Swenson as Javert. Fabulous! My all-time favorite show. It was funny, though. This weekend was the weekend when all the Broadway shows raised money for their charity, Broadway Cares. After the curtain call for the shows, someone in the cast stepped forward to talk about what they were doing, collecting money, selling the cd, Carols for a Cure. Will Swenson was the spokesman for Les Miz. He said they were in a tough competition with Phantom to see who raised the most money. He said they would auction off the kids from the cast. And, then he joked that for $50, someone could touch Ramin Karimloo's abs. He said, "We'll raise a shitload of money."

And, what better way to end the blog than with the cast of Les Miserables singing "One More Day" on Good Morning, America in March, the week before the new production opened on Broadway?

Monday, December 15, 2014

New York City Dream Trip - Part 1 - First FridayT

It was an accident that this trip came together, all because of the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. I saw it in May when I was in New York, and I recently told a friend about it. Anna and I worked together at Velma Teague in Arizona. After I told her about the show, she listened to the soundtrack, fell in love with it and the pieces on YouTube. She asked if I'd go to New York with her in January, and was shocked when I said yes. Then, she learned Bryce Pinkham, one of the stars was leaving on January 4 to take a role in The Heidi Chronicles. When she asked, I picked a week in December, and said I could go then. It became my dream trip - ten plays in eight days, plus a radio broadcast, Radio City Music Hall, and much more. But, most of all, the plays. I'm passionate about live theater.

I'll give you a day-by-day recap of this dream trip. If you don't care, that's fine. You can choose not to read the blog for a few days. But, I don't know if/when I'll ever have a trip like this again.

I flew out of Nashville on Friday, Dec. 5. Although Evansville has an airport, I could fly Southwest with a non-stop flight from Nashville. Nashville's airport? I never saw so many musicians going through the airport with guitars.

Anna and I met up at the hotel, Candlewood Suites. She flew in from Phoenix to JFK. I flew into LaGuardia. And, she had done a beautiful job with our itinerary for the trip. Her British friend who said she organizes with military precision is correct. But, we never would have been able to do what we were able to do without that schedule.

Dinner that first night was at a Broadway legend, Junior's. I always try to get there at least once for their cheesecake. A Reuben and Junior's cheesecake says Broadway to me.

And, then we went to see our first play, Love Letters with Alan Alda and Candice Bergen. A.R. Gurney's play was in cycle with various stars playing the two roles. Alda and Bergen played long-time friends who wrote letters to each other from the time they were children in school together. They had turbulent lives. For those who saw Alan Alda in  Same Time, Next Year, it was reminiscent of that movie. The staging of this play puts the two actors at a table, reading their letters to each other. Alan Alda was strong. Candice Bergen blew me away. She was wonderful. Unfortunately, they closed out the cycle last night, before the next set of actors took over. I'm happy that I was able to see these two in this play before it closed.

This is just a teaser. Watch for all the pictures and play summaries in the next days.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Meanderings and Muses

It's easier to write a blog post before you go on vacation than while you're on it. So, I submitted my guest post to my friend, Kaye Wilkinson Barley before I left. I'm talking about my book discoveries for 2014 on her blog today, Meanderings and Muses, if you'd like to join us there,