The last couple of days have been filled with adventure and two fantastic shows!
We began by continuing with the Great American Carousel Tour of 2014 with #5 at Central Park!
In fact on Thursday we spent the whole day at Central Park and it was truly wonderful. We hired a couple of bikes down the road from the park and cycled around all day, stopping at the carousel, the John Lennon Imagine memorial and the Alice statue and then we parked up opposite the Belvedere Castle and had a picnic on our Derek Jeter yankee blanket. We sat there by the turtle pond, gazing at the view around us, with New York City in the background and we thought “who does this?!”. We just can’t get over the fact that we’re in our dream city, spending time together with no work to distract us. It’s pretty special and we’re feeling very lucky! After we delivered our bikes back on the way into town, we found the LOVE statue and made friends with a couple of tourists who took our photo with it.
Then it was on to our next show..
Broadway Show #23: Cabaret
Where: Studio 54
Seats: Centre Mezzanine
Favourite Number: Wilkommen
Tickets purchased with contributions from: A. Nony. Mouse
We got to meet up with our friend Natalie for this show and we had such a fantastic night! Before the show even started the usher of the theatre moved our row from the cheapest seats at the back of the house to the centre of the mid-Mez so that was the first bonus! We ended up with amazing seats. And then the show… I have so much I want to say about this that I’m going to have to choose otherwise I’ll rant for years. But it was AMAZING. I loved it so much. Firstly, being in Studio 54 was pretty great and what they’ve done to the space is really cool. I have managed to find a time lapse of how they built the stage to make it look magical (including THE biggest mirror ball we’ve ever seen in our lives. I don’t even think this clip shows just how big it was but it might give you an idea) and the camera just happens to be about where we were sitting for the night:
And then, what can I say? Just… Alan Cumming. He is incredible. And was more than incredible on the night! I keep trying to find clips on YouTube to give you an idea of just how great he was and how great the show was but I keep finding the original season when he first played the role. Which apparently was amazing too but it doesn’t seem to do justice to our experience. Basically, the show was sexy and sassy (everything Chicago should have been) and epic and intimate and heartbreaking and beautiful and funny. The choreo was really awesome (there’s even a number where the six dancers are smoking cigars around Alan C – I bet that would hurt the lungs after a while!) and they utilised the spaces around the stage really well. The band was awesome and very much a part of the action – some of them were ensemble dancers, singers AND players in the band. I mean, come on, some people just have too much talent in one body!! But seriously, the band were great. And very much a feature of the show. And most of the time they played around the stage without any music in front of them. The conductor was playing the piano as well so she conducted/played with one hand (as you do!). [And actually, on a side note, it was really cool seeing a female conductor.] And the rest of the cast were awesome too – the older couple in particular (played by Linda Emond and Danny Burstein) were so beautiful and funny and their story was truly heartbreaking in the end. And the ensemble were multi-talented amazing individuals. We had the understudy for Sally Bowles, so no Michelle Williams for us (not sure what she would have been like) and it was the first time we weren’t taken by a cover. I mean, she did the job fine but she wasn’t great and we concluded (together with Natalie who actually saw the Auckland version in 2011) that our friend Mandy, who played Sally Bowles in Auckland, would be amazing and then we pictured her opposite Alan Cumming and thought that would just be magical (one day Mandy!). So…yes. In conclusion I was excited and moved and inspired by this show. It’s so hard to put into words just how fantastic it was but I’m sure you get the idea. Now, there’s plenty of stuff on YouTube for this show (in fact, there’s an entire Sam Mendes directed film of the original season but it looks like it’s quite different, although I’m sure it would give a fairly good idea of the show and the theatre stage looks the same from what I can tell) but I can’t really find a decent clip of the current season except for this short montage but hoping that it gives you some idea and if you want more, go exploring on YouTube..
Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that the three of us managed to meet Alan Cumming afterwards and he autographed our playbills! So that was a pretty awesome fan girl moment for us all..
So! Moving on to Friday (realising this is going to be a long blog again.. whoopsie.. excitement rants take up space!) and we went exploring in Brooklyn this time..
..adding carousel #6 to the tour! This one was pretty special because we had a great view of Manhatten while we were riding.
We then went for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge which was really cool and the sun was setting so we got amazing views of Lady Liberty and the East River and Manhatten. We also took a padlock and added our “lovelock” to the bridge, following the footsteps of many before us (although not as many as the time we added a lock to the tower gate in Busan)..
We got to the other side of the bridge and got a New York hot dog for dinner (as recommended by our tour bus guide on the “how to go on a classic New York date” advice) and then headed to meet our friend Jess for our next show..
Broadway Show #24: On the Town
Where: Lyric Theatre
Seats: Centre Balcony
Favourite Number: Carried Away
Tickets purchased with contributions from: Jess Gerz, Lauren Law
*As a side note, we weren’t going to add decimals beyond .5’s, to keep our scores clean and easy. But I promised Jess that his rating would go on our blog exactly as he said it. We agreed that the show should get at least an 8.5 but he wanted to push it up closer to 9 (but we agreed not quite a 9 because other shows have been more of a 9) and so we did. The End.
Well this show was really great! Finally Chels and I have seen what we call “old-school” Broadway. There is so much dancing in this show and they’ve kept it very much in the older style of musical theatre. It’s the first time (and probably the last in NYC) that we’ve seen this much dancing on the stage and the classic style of let’s tell the story, now let’s stop to do a big dance number, now let’s continue to tell the story (instead of the integrated musicals we see these days). And the dancing was awesome! Huge ballet numbers with muscly guys and beautiful girls (one of the leading ladies has actually come from the New York City ballet company!) and huge flips and spins and lifts and twirls and running all over the stage.. it was really great. The cast was huge and the orchestra is currently the largest on Broadway – apparently a good reason why we don’t see these classic shows on stage anymore, because they cost too much. We had been thinking that this show might finally show us some decent tap but it turns out (Jess informed us) that the tap dancing was only added to the film because the leading lady was a tap star and would only do the film if she was able to dance (and it totally works for Gene Kelly too right?!). So no tap for us. Apparently it’s quite out of fashion on Broadway currently so possibly The Book of Mormon is about what we will get on this trip. But the ballet was just as incredible to tell the truth. And we had such a great time watching the classic style and feeling like we were seeing Gene Kelly on the stage! Our favourite number, ‘Carried Away’, had a dancing dinosaur (yes, Kirsty, you read that right!) and was definitely a highlight! But I think the best thing of all had to be the dancing and the sheer physicality of the performers. They were amazing! Now, I can’t actually find a decent YouTube clip for you to see the show as we did (not even a good trailer!) and there’s lots of clips of the first time they staged this show before it moved to Broadway. But I promise our version was bigger and better. What I did find though was a sort of preview clip from their rehearsals that give you an idea of the variation in song and dance that we saw. Pretty old school and pretty awesome. Love it.
Enough from me!