Friday, 1 August 2008

Give my regards to Broadway

No really do. I miss it. I miss New York... And please no one point out that I'm missing Hair in the park this summer, because I'm more than a little bitter about it. Oh and I have good reason to be bitter, having saved up to go on holiday in the autumn only for that to evaporate faster than... well something that evaporates very fast... and me to be left with the money, and TWO SLIPPED DISCS... no I'm not even going to pretend I'm happy and perky and gleeful about any of these facts. I'm bitter and nothing, NOTHING is going to change that. *And breathe* In fact so bitter that I'm actually pleased that Christopher Hanke is taking over from Jonathan Groff as Claude for the final two weeks, cause that's two weeks where I can be slightly less angsty. Although angsty does give me every reason to listen to Spring Awakening loudly and practice my belting (still not so good) but not my stomping (slipped discs are a bitch). Just in case any of you are scratching your head (you mean after all these months, you've resisted the urge to Google my dual crushes of Broadway shows and Jonathan Groff? Hmpfh! Philistines!)... here's what you're missing...

But, better late than never here is a quick photo diary of some of the places and foodstuffs we indulged in on our trip in May... Yes, I know it's August, but I've been busy, moving house, getting boyfriends, losing boyfriends, slipping discs.... the usual!

A highly scientific experiment was carried out as to which cupcakes were better: Buttercup or Magnolia? The jury returned with a unanimous verdict of *insert own drumming here* Buttercup! Yay!

So here we have the Magnolia, vanilla cupcake ... prettily iced
(but don't ask about accompanying, out of shot lemonade, there are people who still have flashbacks about that. Note to possible visitors to NY - lemonade doesn't always have sugar pre-added...)

Compare this, to the chocolate cupcake of goodness. The chocolate cupcake which I firmly believe should, like Nigella's chocolate chocolate chip cookies, be available on prescription for extreme bouts of PMT, mild depression, and work related stresses. To ensure the experiment was entirely scientific we did also eat vanilla Buttercup cupcakes. Possibly daily. Well, the bakery was around the corner from our hotel, it would have been rude not to patronise it regularly. Although somehow, I still managed to come away without the cupcake recipe book. So that's twice. Well done Pen...

We also took our lives in our hands, well not literally cause that may have meant we missed a show which quite frankly would have been a tragedy. And I mean that literally. We ate slices of pizza, more than once. And hotdogs from street vendors. Yes, we're that brave* I actually couldn't believe how the type of places I run (well, OK walk briskly) past in London, sold food that was clean and not just edible but tasty. Well apart from the slightly weird onions on one hotdog but we'll skip over that briefly. So yes, we can tick the boxes by 'Slice of pizza' and 'Hotdog from Street vendor'. (*readers may wish to replace brave with stupid, but it's your choice)

So what else had been on the list. Ooh I know! The Life cafe, the real one... We found it. We had such a good day at finding things. Complete and utter kudos to Lauren's map skills. And to NY cabs. We were so organised, we got to The Life Cafe before midday and were pretty much the first people ordering lunch. Sadly my photo of the AMAZING sweet potato chips didn't come out. But people should go, eat there and admire the wall of amazing Rent-ness. We did. We also tried to be subtle. And failed. More cold drinks were consumed. Here I would (if I could) add an ode to the amount of diet coke we drank. Seriously, the room was littered with bottles and bottles of the stuff (no word of a lie). Bottles which are considerably bigger than at home, and as such genius for those of us on the go.

On our last day *weeps* we made our way to Jamba Juice - well we had pretty much resisted fruit most of the week, so decided to get our intake in one fell swoop. Which we did. With amazing (huge) smoothies that were as we had been told (thanks Jess) more like meals. I think mine had pineapple and mango type things. It worked, they should expand to London.

A quick food break, to list the shows (and plays!) we saw... are you ready?

  • Legally Blonde

  • Rent

  • In the Heights

  • Sunday in the Park with George

  • Spring Awakening: I saw this twice, once onstage, and once in the stalls

  • Wicked

  • Gypsy

  • Port Authority (Play!)

  • Xanadu

  • The Country Wife (Play!)

  • Curtains
A poster for the most 'perfect' piece of musical theatre EVER. No word of a lie. Ask Skylar Astin, he agrees. It's amazing the discussions you can have with people at stage door. There isn't one song or moment that doesn't progress the plot, and I actually got goosebumps at the Overture. Fact: more musicals should have proper overtures. Ask Seth Rudetsky... he knows!

I've run out of foodie pictures now, so a photo of the coolest theatre I have ever been in. Ever. Until this trip this prize went to 'The other place' at Stratford-upon-Avon. The name alone almost swung it, but the intimacy of the venue also won it extra points. This is The Atlantic Theatre where I saw Port Authority. It's Off-Broadway (apparently due to size, not location fact fans), and is a converted church. Well when I say converted, really just emptied of religious artefacts. It's still a church that's been made into a performance space. Utterly amazing. Port Authority is (well was it's closed now I'm afraid - had I done this post in a reasonable time I would have done huge plugging for this but as we know, circumstances, boys, houses discs... alas) also amazing, and for a three-hander with practically no set, one of the simplest yet most affecting and effective pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time. Bearing in mind last time I had seen John Gallagher Jnr he had been channelling a suicidal-rock-star come angsty-teen as Moritz, the transformation to slightly gawky young Irishman was astounding. Truly an actor to watch. This theatre is where Spring Awakening began its run and as much as I love it at the Eugene O'Neill, part of me will always wish I had seen it in this venue as I'm sure that the history and ambience of the space added something else to the whole performance.

Last foodie related post, I also helped out at a Girl Scout Cookie sale. I'm a Guider in the UK, and had contacted various Brownie troups in the NY area to see if I could come along and join in a meeting and this is what I ended up doing. Selling cookies with some lovely children and their families to raise money for some fantastic outings! (Photo used with permission)

Finally we have, what I know you've been waiting for with bated breath, barely able to contain your excitment at the prospect of the ubiquitous, but necessary:
'Fabulous Broadway actors pictures... '
Jonathan Groff *happy sigh, followed by bitterness at missing Hair*

Blake Bashoff who was playing Moritz on Broadway until this weekend just gone (now playing Moritz on tour I am reliably informed). I should just point out, this is what happens to my eyes when I'm slightly overawed... they become starey. I'm resigned to the unattractiveness of it, but until I learn to use photoshop and edit myself OUT of such horrendous shots.... you have to put up with it I'm afraid.

Now may I just take a moment to introduce you to the wonder that is Matt Doyle (and Lauren: travelling companion and the person who understands the necessities of diet coke, cupcakes, and Reese's more than anyone else. Seriously she had them ready when I landed. That's good planning!). Most importantly, note the matching hair, that doesn't just happen by chance. That's destiny. Seriously folks. He plays Hanschen in SA and is fabulous. If you like rock musicals then check out the new recording of Bare that he plays Peter in. His voice is stunning, and as with so many of the other talented members of this cast I will be following his future career. Not a photo of me, because I had the scary eyes again... clearly put me next to talented men and I become incapable of making normal eye contact. Maybe next time I should just take them my cupcakes, and avoid unecessary staring and chit chat... just feed them... it works with everyone else... I see no reason why Broadway actors would be exceptions.

OK, this has to be one of my lengthiest (least foodie orientated) blogs ever, and for that I apologise. But hopefully if my Broadway adventures bore you, you were forewarned fairly early on. And I'm not going back for a while. Ever possibly. Not that I'm bitter you understand. Nope. Not me. Not one bit. *wails*


Lauren said...

Could you maybe mention how beautiful Matt and I looked together? The matching hair was truely wonderous :) xx

Pen said...

I shall add you in immediately! xxx

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Ohmygah you met Jonothan Groff? You saw every Broadway musical in the world? I think I could handle a slipped disc for that. (Okay, just kidding, I've never had one and I'm sure it's painful) Had Kerry Ellis started as Elphaba when you saw Wicked? :)

Pen said...

I was there just before Kerry went, so Stephanie J Block was on. Fantastic).I've seen Kerry lots though as she's been our Elphaba since Idina abandoned us *wails* And I LOVE Jonathan Groff a lot more than is healthy, and we saw practically no daylight at all... it was fabulous!


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