I had lunch with my family on Saturday and as I was sitting across from Jenny (and Gigi), I started telling her about the trip and how wonderful and perfect it was and Jenny made some comment about being sad she couldn't go. I told her I like to reward myself with a trip for every year I don't have a child. Good job on not having kids, me!
This may have been my favorite trip I've ever taken to NYC. From leaving JFK to arriving at JFK again, Melanie and I spent roughly 48 hours there and it was just perfect.
We were supposed to fly out on Thursday on the red eye (against my better judgment. I become very low-functioning on little sleep and then no one wants to be around me), but they kept delaying our flight and it was snowy and foggy and icy and kind of terrifying to drive in, so I looked at our flight information (to see if it would just be canceled) and there was a button that said, "rebook for free!" and I wanted to see what flights were available and I clicked on it and ended up booking myself on the 9 am flight out. The problem being Melanie's ticket was still on the red eye. I called her in a complete panic saying, "I broke everything! We are in trouble!" and she, not having a computer because she was staying at Wendy's house, gave me her Delta information. Luckily I was able to get her in and book her a ticket on my flight and all was well. And we went to bed not having to worry about the delayed midnight flight.
All of that worked so well. We got to sleep in our beds, eat breakfast, get to the airport without stress and I got an e-mail that our original flight didn't leave (or at least wasn't scheduled to leave) until after 2. I would have not functioned even a little bit at all.
It was a relief to finally leave the city (we were both worried about never getting out and missing all our shows) and the disgusting air.
Our first stop after the airport was to our hotel. It was the Presidential Best Western and we booked on Priceline because Melanie likes an adventure (another good thing about the changed flight, check in was at 3 and originally we were getting there at 7 am and...that would have been bad). They were nice enough to give us a room with two beds and the beds were really high off the ground so monsters didn't have a chance to grab our toes.
I imagine the hotel's under-the-bed monsters looked like this Thomas Jefferson lamp...the eyes are so creepy! The hallways also were really close and long and wallpapered in dark purple. It felt like The Shining. And the pipes made horrible noises, especially the heater which was right next to my head. The first night, it was making noises like someone was inside it alternately pounding or scratching to get out. I told Melanie I was freaked out and she got mad at me for teasing her (because I was by it) and so I jumped over to her bed and the noises continued and we were BOTH freaked out. It was a little unnerving trying to sleep through (I admittedly didn't sleep through much of it).
We then went to have dinner at The Shake Shack because it was close and so many people raved about it -- neither of us loved it, so, there was that. It was pretty much our only travel disappointment (well, that and the haunted hotel, but I think that in retrospect that adds to the adventure). Seating was hard to find (probably because it was -10 degrees and windy and snowing) and we ended up sharing a four person table with two strangers. Melanie, at one point, went up to get our food at the same time the guy's date went up to get her food. The guy and I were left alone staring at our phones and awkwardly not talking. I almost told him that he was my worst date ever, but then I worried he'd think I was serious and his girlfriend would come back.
We immediately left the Shake Shack and bought warmer gloves because it was ohmygosh so cold.
Our first show -- the one we booked the whole trip for -- Phantom of the Opera, was across the street from The Shake Shack. I wanted to go because the 25th Anniversary performance was the next night (but no way to get tickets to that, which is fine. I was still happy) and because Sierra Boggess was flying in from London to be in the show for six weeks and I wanted to see her again (I've seen her in Little Mermaid -- my first Broadway show! -- and Music in the Air, but I didn't have an autograph since those were before my brave stage dooring days).
We had seats on the front row of the mezzanine right in the center. Everything was absolutely perfect! Here is the chandelier.
Thoughts about Phantom: When Carlotta started singing, Melanie leaned over and whispered "I hope Christine is as good as her!" because Carlotta was a really good singer. Sierra Boggess, Christine, is even MORE amazing in person than she is on CD/DVD, so it was not a worry.
The Phantom has an AMAZING voice! I wished we could vote on who she'd end up with, because I would have picked the Phantom in a heartbeat based on voice alone.
She picked Raoul, who did not have a good voice and I was disappointed and expected better. He sung and talked SO SLOWLY! I'm still not sure how he managed any song involving other people because he was just so. slow. that he couldn't possibly keep up with everyone else.
I hate disappointment with singing.
There was a weird part right after Music of the Night where the Phantom is maskless and singing and he started crawling around on the ground while singing. He looked like Spiderman scaling a wall. But, you know, on the floor. I maybe started to laugh (quietly. Out of surprise). Also I haven't seen the stage production since the Monsons took Jenny and me when I was 15, so I'd forgotten about the mannequin dressed up in a wedding dress to look like Christine. Also laughed there.
But not seeing it in awhile meant I'd also forgotten about the boat going over the mist with the candles coming out of the ground and the music and the mood and the ambiance. I loved it ALL.
The chandelier didn't fall fast enough to be awesome. I blame safety standards.
I've been watching the Phantom 25th Anniversary movie a lot (a lot), so I had expectations. The graveyard scene? There are supposed to be fire balls that the Phantom flings to be all scary and stuff. Instead it was like those Fourth of July shock things that make a tiny spark and don't even hurt that much. I was not impressed.
One advantage the live production has over the movie, is the stage wasn't just there for a one-night concert, but for a show that plays every night, so they were able to do things that helped the stories, like divide rooms with curtains or walls or, my favorite, an iron gate that comes down when Christine is trapped in the Phantom's lair. Suddenly a lot of the songs/dialogue made sense where they didn't make sense before in a big, wide, totally open stage.
A different kind of fun was how someone on the front row was dressed as the Phantom. He even had a fake wound over all his face and then the mask covering it (I know this because he was at the stage door). He threw roses at all the cast. It was...odd.
After the show we went to the stage door -- which was crowded. Sierra Boggess came out and she was rushing to get into her waiting car, but Melanie, who is bold and assertive, got her autograph (and then she dropped her purse on Melanie's foot right as I was about to take a picture of her and Melanie) and then she hopped in her car. Melanie was a hero. There were really SO many people back there.
Raoul also came out and we got his autograph, but I was still annoyed with his disappointing singing speed. The Phantom didn't come out, or maybe he did, but it was after we left because we were so cold and just wanted to go to bed in our warm, haunted hotel.
The next morning after sleeping in (or lying in my warm bed with a pillow over my head trying to block out the possessed radiator noises), we went to breakfast and took a leisurely walk down to The Mystery of Edwin Drood theater to get tickets. They sell them for $35 the day of. They're at the VERY back, of course, but neither of us knew anything about the show; we were only seeing it because Stephanie J. Block is in it and I wanted to see her (clearly there is a theme to the shows I pick -- Melanie is a really good sport). We also found out that the guy from SMASH was in it, so that was a bonus.
After procuring out tickets, we took a picture of one of the characters named "Janet Conover." Melanie felt an instant kinship. Then we wandered around again and went shopping. We found a store with a lot of lunch boxes, so I got a Tinkerbell one for Giselle and a Darth Vader one for Ziggy. Then we went to Times Square and the Disney Store and I bought even more cute things. Also there was street art shopping along the way. Then back to the show!
The one thing I knew about Edwin Drood was the audience votes on who the murderer is. I would vote Melanie to be the murderer.
We were SO far back. The guy in front of me was HUGE. And not only was he (and his head!!!) huge, but he had long, greasy hair the he'd play with the entire show, so his head would block me and then his arm would be up blocking me. I was super annoyed. So we moved back further but with no one in front of us.
We went in with zero expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. I actually really enjoyed the show, the music, the characters, everything. Even the part where the audience gets to vote on who is the murderer and who plays certain parts. LOVED that. I want to see it again. Badly!
Of course we went to the stage door after. I had a program that needed to be signed!
Stephanie J. Block (who played Edwin Drood and was soooo good and I can't stop listening to her songs on the album) came out first and I had Melanie practice taking pictures so she'd be ready to take my picture. This is one of the shots. I love the SJB has a purple pen. Maybe I need to add purple to my black and gold stage dooring pens. Possibly I also need a silver, but that's neither here nor there.
We had our picture together and I'm regretting not doing my hair (or, rather, I did it but it's so cold and wet and snowy that I just popped it back in a ponytail).
Next came Will Chase, who is in SMASH. While Melanie was talking about how hot he was, the girls next to us were talking about how he was old enough to be their dad (I looked him up on IMDB. They are correct).
So Melanie, who has so far shown complete disinterest in stage dooring (she really only does it for me because she is a good, kind, brave person), wanted her picture with Will and I was happy to oblige (and Melanie's hat is new because the hat she brought was too cold so we bought a warmer one on the street).
We then made a trip to Canal Street. We were meeting my friend Lisa in a store near by and they happened to have Idaho Potatoes that are baby size. I've never seen this kind of potato be that small before. It was interesting and adorable.
We found Lisa and went to the waffle cart. They had a Twitter promotion where if you talked to the person taking your order like he was your 90 year old grandmother, you got a discount. So Melanie did it and rocked it. Lisa also did it but she didn't commit to her role. She has room for improvement. (o: I did not attempt at all because....that is not me. However, I savored my full-price hot chocolate without a single regret.
We then spent the next hour or so shopping on Canal Street. Well, Melanie shopped and I looked disinterested in everything so people kept offering me really good deals. Too bad I didn't want to bring any of it home with me.
We dropped off our purchases at the hotel before our next show. Someone lost a glove and some pretzels and someone else arraigned them artistically on the phone outside of the elevator. The hotel looked more haunted by the minute.
We walked through Times Square to get to our next theater -- Melanie seems to like Times Square for some weird reason I will never understand...
And we saw NEWSIES (The one show Melanie got to pick!)! This time we were a row behind where I was back in September, but I loved the show A LOT more this time. I knew the plot (I hadn't seen the movie before, so I didn't know what to expect) and what was coming, so I was able to enjoy the emotions and the dancing and the creative staging. Also the little boy this time was actually little and not annoying, unlike last time. This round was a million times better. Melanie also pointed out that the one Disney show we've seen on this trip is the show with the worst language. So true.
We did not stage door because I did that last time and it was SO cold. We didn't want to be outside another minute.
The next morning we only had one show planned and the weather was warming (7 degrees), so I did my hair and makeup and we went around to the theaters so I could have cute pictures in front of them, starting with the Edwin Drood theater.
Walking around we found a guillotine. We love random sidewalk guillotines.
Melanie missed her calling being in Phantom. She fits right in as Christine. Arctic Christine because it was cold.
Our hotel was across the street from The Heiress. Guess who Melanie is mad at for (whited out for Spoilers -- in case people care about that) leaving Downton Abbey.
This is what it would look like if one were to take engagement pictures with a skeleton.
Melanie had a blister, so we didn't walk down to the Newsie's theater, but here I am in front of a sign for it!
And in front of the theater for our last show, which was Annie; a show both of us dislike but we were only seeing it because of Anthony Warlow playing Daddy Warbucks. Annie was a little stressful. We went to the theater at 10:50 to put our name in for the ticket lotto and the guy running it was a jerk. We asked when to come back and he said, "Noon" and Melanie asked if he was sure he said it again and I asked, "Not 11?" "No. Noon." And we both, one more time, asked, "Noon?" and he seemed really annoyed with us, so we left and came back at noon to find they drew it at 11, like I'd thought! I was so sad. And we went to the people and told them what happened and the guy didn't care and I wanted to cry. But the ticket booth lady cared and said she'd give us some extra seats for $40, so we took them.
This Hyndai ad is REALLY cool. People go up the stairs and the camera takes their pictures and puts their heads in a car commercial.
Here were our $40 seats. Front row on the side. We were so close that I spent a considerable amount of time watching the conductor just because it was interesting. Also Anthony Warlow is SO TALENTED and all my dreams have come true seeing him perform live.
And the biggest surprise for both of us, we actually liked the show!
We did the stage door, but only the little girls came out. They were adorable and it was fun, but I'm disappointed having not met Anthony Warlow. Ah well. I saw him perform, so I'm happy.
Then we hopped in a taxi and headed back to the airport. Then we flew to Salt Lake where the airport was closed, but then they opened it, but we had to wait forever on the runway for a gate to open. We also made friends with all the people around us because they were fun. And then we had to drive through a horrible snow storm to get home. But four shows in two days? Totally the best.
8 hours ago