Monday, June 3, 2013

Headlines Don't Sell Papes

At the beginning of May, just before we moved, DVC put together a wonderful gift box for my birthday, which included a variety of carefully chosen items to help "soften my landing in NYC." The man regularly takes gift giving to another level, and this was no exception: glamorous new sunnies for going incognito, a prepaid Metrocard to hit the ground running, an intro to the city by E. B. White, fine stationery and beautiful stamps were just the beginning. The crowning glory, however: a mystery ticket to something on Saturday, June 1stWhen asked if I had any clue what the show might be, my immediate reaction was two-fold: I had a firm idea of what it probably would be (a fancy new rendition of Macbeth we'd recently discussed), and another slight inkling of what I hoped it might actually be (one of my all-time favorite movie musicals -no shame!- finally brought to life on the stage). Boy did I get lucky!

DVC outdid himself this time - could not possibly scored a better seat. First row of the center balcony ("a mezzanine seat to see the flickers!"), right on the aisle so I could get up and walk around without bothering anyone (the Kris Stephenson special). Nederlander Theater is small and steep, so I was very close to the stage and right at the perfect height. The stage was set up with three mobile 3-story fire escapes, which could spin and connect, move forward and back on the stage, be rearranged into a variety of scenes. They could also be draped with screens so that newsprint could be projected across the stage (as you can see below).  The whole setup was awe-inspiring.

Photography was strictly verboten, but apparently yours truly has a little more Brooklyn in her than you thought!
I excitedly thumbed through the playbill. No insert, no understudies, no last minute changes. Then the lights dimmed, the first few opening notes rose up from the orchestra and I began to cry. I guess that's a thing I do? Same thing happened at the opening of Mamma Mia. I'm just so touched by the theatre. *tear* (literally)

The show was amazing. Ah. May. Zing. It was very different from the movie (new characters, new songs, new plot twists, they opened with "Santa Fe" for crying out loud), but I knew that going in so it didn't catch me off guard. And all of the changes really worked for the stage, they made great decisions (like I'm such an expert on the process). Anyway, it was quite a different experience from seeing the live production of Mamma Mia, which is identical to the movie version in every way (and I suppose that makes sense since the play came first). The dancing was incredible.  So many back-flips. One crazy scene where they slid and spun in unison all around the floor with their feet on newspapers. "King of New York" was A TAP NUMBER.  Be still my heart. I was leaning so far forward in my seat, I nearly spilled over the balcony several times.

The very fabulous young gentleman sitting next to me chattered on and on during intermission about how he's been in NYC for 4 days and seen a different show every single evening. So not my style. I've been thinking about the show constantly since seeing it, reviewing it incessantly in my head, suddenly remembering genius little details (Racetrack did EVERY SINGLE dance number with a cigar in his mouth, it never budged) and bursting out into a smile (bet you thought I was gonna say song) whenever I think of yet another "favorite" part. I couldn't imagine trying to process the details of 4 productions in the same number of days.  This one is going to occupy my brain for months on end.

And thus my double decade long obsession has come full circle and been revitalized. Jack Kelly and darling dancing newsboys of New York, you hold a very dear place in my heart. Too much pride to wait around with the 12 year olds and ask for autographs, but you can bet I danced all the way home. Carrying the banner!

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