bright lights, bigger city

A few posts ago, I was talking about the the parts of New York City that are nothing like what you see on TV or in the movies. To be fair, I should mention that there are other parts that are, well, every bit as cool as they look. Central Park is amazing. The Metropolitan Museum really does have hieroglyphics that may, who knows, be an ancient cartoon strip about a character named Sphinxie. Watching Good Morning, America before work and thinking, that’s just a short traffic-laden drive away, that’s kind of cool. And the city at Christmastime really was something to see — that tree at Rockefeller Center is gorgeous. Restaurants, shopping, the High Line, Grand Central Station, the Cloisters, it’s all right there on that one little densely-packed island.

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All you want is a dinkle… What you envy is a schwang… A thing through which you can tinkle…To play with or simply let hang.

The other really great thing is the theatre. I saw a slew of shows in the city years and years ago. But when you live out of town, going to a Broadway show is a whole rigamarole. Getting tickets that fit your travel schedule means you can’t take advantage of most good sales, or catch something in a limited run. When you’re across the state, you just don’t hear about a lot of great productions, off Broadway and on, and that’s probably for the best or I would have been even more pea green with envy than I was before. But being here, we can grab a great opportunity when it comes along, and I’m really excited about the shows we’re seeing.

My husband and brother-in-law have a subscription to MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street. If you’re a dork like me, the biggest thing that tickles you about that is that it’s where Joey sometimes had his shows on Friends, like the one where he fell for his leading lady before heading off to Blargon 7, or Freud! the Musical. But they actually do have a lot of great shows there — I went to one with them last fall that I really enjoyed and Dave has told me about others.

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The set for Waiting for Godot, pre-show. Unlike the jerkwad in the row in front of me, I didn’t use my phone to take pictures during the performance.

For Valentine’s Day we went to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in Waiting for Godot. I mean, look: Godot is a weird play, and not entirely easy. You’re meant to chuckle but mostly to think, a lot. And it was an excellent performance, but I’m not going to lie: I spent the entire time in a bliss-filled haze of thinking, “THAT’S PATRICK STEWART. AND IAN MCKELLAN. PICARD AND GANDALF ARE LESS THAN THIRTY FEET AWAY FROM ME. ACTING. TOGETHER. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER.” Don’t even get me started on when Patrick Stewart walked past me on the way to his car, later. It was transformative.

 

In early May, we’re going to see Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan. I think we’re going to enjoy it, as it’s gotten excellent reviews in London. It’s a dark comedy, and with Dave, the darker the better, really. And yes, I imagine there will be a similar part of me thinking, “HARRY POTTER!!!”, but this time it’s more about making up for a previously missed opportunity. I was desperate to see Equus when Radcliffe was in it in 2009, and I couldn’t make it happen. That’s still disappointing, since it’s such a great play and also starred the now-departed Richard Griffiths, but I at least we’ll be there this time around. And for Dave’s birthday, later that month, we’re going to the long-awaited revival of Hedwig and the Angry Itch, starring Neal Patrick Harris (go for Barney!). I can’t wait.

Years and years ago, I studied theatre and thought I wanted to spend my life working backstage. That didn’t work out, and it’s not something I want anymore. But living here and getting out to see shows, keeping on top of what’s coming up in venues small and large, gives me back a little bit of something that I once wanted very badly, even if in the most tangential of ways. So if nothing else, that alone makes up for all the stinky subways and the sun setting at two o’clock and the traffic, even the traffic, ten times over.

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