I’m not going into every detail of my trip to New York because, frankly, it would be as boring for you to read as for me to write. So here are the highlights...
- Our hotel was located at West 49th and Broadway in Times Square. Spent much of Sunday just wandering about there before collapsing into bed (we had to get up at 3:00am to get to the airport by 4:30). I became very familiar with Times Square and the various markets/delis in the vacinity of our hotel. No way in Hell was I paying $25 for a hamburger from room service. I have to say I’m pretty damn proud that not once I was mistaken for a tourist (I was even asked for directions twice and knew which direction to point them the people in). Two tips for those visiting NY: Do NOT walk around with a guide to New York and do NOT walk around with your camera. You have ‘Sucker’ written all over you.
- Monday I traveled to the Guggenheim solo. Mom had a migraine and stayed at the hotel to get some rest after we made a quick trip to the Triton Gallery (here you can find posters for just about any Broadway show ever performed). I took a cab to the Guggenheim since it was located on East 89th. The Guggenheim is one of the most unique gallery spaces. For those of you who aren’t familiar it’s ‘in the round’ for lack of a better term. One continuous space from the top floor to the bottom allowing you to see the progression of the artists work. Unfortunately, I’m not much for modern art (most modern artists I find are full of crap) and the exhibit was for an artist by the name of Rosenquist. Some nice pieces but for the most part it left me “Eh”. I much preferred viewing the works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Lautrec, and Degas.
You can pretty much get through the Guggenheim in an hour and a half. So, I decided to walk down a few blocks to the Metropolitan Museum only to discover it was closed on Mondays. Since Central Park backs into the Met I figured I take a little walk through the park. Well, believe it or not, moi who doesn’t generally walk anywhere and who can get lost in her own city started walking...and walking...and walking. I ended up walking the forty blocks back to my hotel. It was such a beautiful day and I got to see quite a lot. Walked down Fifth Avenue for awhile looking at the architecture, then cut through the park, then made my way back towards Broadway. I know I didn’t actually see everything, but I felt as if I did.
- Tuesday we journeyed to the Natural History Museum, the goal being to see the Rose Planetarium. Course, I also wanted to see the dinosaurs of which they had many. Suffice it to say, if the dinos had not been wiped out there is no way we’d be here. Even the small dinos were scary. Hell, even the turtles back then could have kicked our asses. :p
What we discovered upon arriving was that a new exhibit had opened just a few days before we arrived. A retrospective on the ‘lost’ city of Petra in Jordan (Again, for those not familair with it, it can be seen in the final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade :). Since I’m rather fond of ancient artifacts I had to see the exhibit. I was not disappointed. It was amazing. Relics from the first and second century AD and many in excellent shape. It was fascinating to spot the Greek and Roman influences and see how, in many ways, how advanced this civilization was and to think how (comparing to lets say the Middle Ages) much civilization regressed and for how long.
Tuesday night was of course the reason for going - to see Hugh Jackman in The Boy from Oz. OK, the weird thing was my mother being more blown away by his performance than I. Then again, I expected an amazing performance and that's exactly what I had the privilege of seeing. Hugh is the show. Though, that's not to say that there weren't many other terrific performances. Isabel Keating looks, sounds, and acts just like Judy Garland. Mitchell Federan as the young Peter was great. It's hard to take your eyes off him when he's on stage. Even Hugh seemed in awe watching him perform. Beth Fowler as his Mom was also very good. If there was a weak link, it was Stephanie Block as Liza. She left me underwhelmed. She managed to imitate Liza's speaking voice and she has a terrific singing voice, but I didn't believe she was Liza for a minute.
As for Hugh....incredible! He's a shoo-in for the Tony. From where I was seated I could actually see him tearing up during the more emotional moments. There is even a point in the show where he just sits at the piano in the shadows, silent, while the others perform around him. Even in his stillness he is able to convey what Peter is thinking and feeling.
If I may be totally superficial, he looked gorgeous. The man was born to wear clothes (and he looks pretty good out of them - he is shirtless at one point ;). No offense to Peter Allen's stage look, but Hugh looked unbelievable in a simple black t-shirt and slacks.
I also noticed an improvement in Hugh’s dancing skills since his days in Okalahoma. He was much better than I expected and had the high kicks down during the Radio City scene. His singing, which was great before, was also improved. If it was possible to blow the roof off the Imperial Theatre, I think he could have. Everybody lept to their feet after 'Once Before I Go' and that was the second to last number. For the final number - 'I Go to Rio' - again, people were on their feet for an amazing, very glitzy, finale.
I know the staging of the show has been criticized, sparse sets and such, but I thought they did I good job with what they needed to accomplish. The Imperial is rather small and stage space limited. I was quite impressed with the staging of Radio City number and the use of lights and mirrors.
I managed to get an autograph after the show. :) I practically got squished to death in doing so, yet I prevailed. Quite impressive since I'm only 5'2" and was three people back. Basically I stretched forward as far as I could as the people to my right and left moved to their right and left. Hugh grabbed my program, signed it, and handed it back. Wish the story was more exciting, but as least I got my autograph. :)
- Wednesday we traveled to Grand Central Station for a bit. I was very impressed. Seeing this and other structures around New York, it makes one a bit sad that they just don’t make them like they use to. I’m so sick of cement, glass, and metal structures.
That evening we went to see another Broadway Show, Wicked. OMG, what a spectacular show. I was staring in awe at the set before the show even started. It had the best lighting and effects myself or any theatre patron has perhaps ever seen. Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) was her usual adorable self. I usually hate perky, but it suits her so well. :) Poor thing injured her neck and had to perform in a neck brace. It didn't effect her singing at all, only effected her dancing a bit, and provided a few humorous rewrites. For instance, there is a scene where she is giving Elphaba (The Wicked Witch) a makeover. She’s trying to teach her how to be more attractive including how to flip her hair, but she warned, ‘Be careful, you might hurt your neck’ (big laugh). I had never heard Idina Menzel (Elphaba) before and was wowed. Personally, I'd give her the edge in the Tony race because she had the more difficult role plus a couple of standout numbers.
- Thursday we began to make the trek home. Not much to tell, other than some airplane problems I’d rather forget.
I hope I didn’t bore you all to death. Now, I must work on my next post regarding this weeks Angel. I did backtrack on LJ and read all your fine opinions. Sorry I don’t have time to comment this week, just know I appreciated all your intelligent thoughts. :)