My stay in New York City was one that invigorated my spirit, in spite of the near 100 degree heat and humidity that permeated the air. I was able to spend some quality and quantity time with some of my best friends. Yes, I definitely plied myself with too much alcohol and exceptional food, but you know what? Life's way too short to deprive myself of the pleasures of this good earth. As they say, everything in moderation.
I stayed at a small boutique hotel in the middle of midtown Manhattan, a stone's throw from my favorite store, CompUSA. I visited the place twice during my short visit... all the things to see in NYC, and I head to the computer store. Weird, aren't I, or just a nerd? Maybe a bit of both.
I was however able to indulge in some great theater while there: Doubt and Spamalot. Doubt won this year's Tony Award for Best Play, starring Cherry Jones (she won a Tony for her role as Sister Aloysius). 'Day is going to direct a production of this in Manila, so I promised her I'd watch it, and I was not disappointed. To be truthful, I'm not a connoisseur of straight plays, except to say that if I like it on whatever level, I like it. And I LOVED this play! The acting was exceptional (even by Brian O'Byrne's standby), the dialogue never dragged, the sets coming on and off stage was cool too. The subject matter was also timely... there is currently much controversy surrounding the Catholic church, with priests sexually abusing altar boys. The fact that this occurence is widespread is scary, and certainly casts doubt over the validity of this aged institution. As a Catholic myself (born and raised), I am certainly saddened (okay, depressed) that the innocence of these children is taken away by the very people they trust to be role models to them. The play is so cleverly written, that at the end of the show, I as a member of the audience, was in doubt. I don't want to reveal too much; you'll have to either read the play or see it for yourself.
The next day was my treat, my chocolate sundae, my sans rival, my Valrhona chocolate cake: SPAMALOT!!! Friends in Manila have fallen in love with the musical, and I have to admit after listening to the soundtrack I was hooked by the music, and the laugh-out-loud humor. By this time I had the soundtrack on repeat on my iPod, so I practically memorized the lyrics. It was also a wonderful surprise the a friend of mine from another I did was in the ensemble. I called her in between acts to let her know I was watching, as well as where I was sitting. She invited me backstage to visit with her for a few minutes before she had to rush to dinner. It was an even cooler surprise that a director and stage manager I worked with in New York were working on the show! We greeted each other with lots of hugs and kisses. I was also supremely flattered when the director said I should play the Lady of the Lake. Wow! That would be cool, and would definitely make my Spamalot friends in Manila excited. They have to come watch me, if all goes well. But, I wanna play Elphaba first, heh heh.
Anyway... the show was even more than I expected!!! The entire cast was incredible, and it was obvious they were having a great time. My body was so tired from laughing from start to finish... the jokes, the physical comedy, the music and lyrics, the dancing, the costumes, the acting, the singing... I LOVED IT!!!
Right after the show I headed to Hertz Rent-A-Car to pick up my vehicle in order to start the long drive to Washington DC for concerts there, and in Norfolk, VA. The drive was so lovely, I was flanked by nothing but tall trees... I imagine myself making that same drive someday in the fall, when the glorious reds, oranges, and yellows show themselves. On that drive, I was thinking of nothing but the shows I'd seen, the friends that share my love for them, and the love I feel for doing what I do best. I went to the shows feeling renewed and reenergized... reinvigorated, ready to take on the performances that were ahead of me.