At last. We come to the promised travel blogs. I'll start today with the first trip of the summer. This trip kind of took me by surprise - I wasn't planning on going for the longest time. But, through some gentle persuasion, and my never-failing desire to travel, I made the decision. And I'm so glad I did!
This year I spent July 16-20th in Manhattan for a Broadway Teacher's Workshop. I went with fellow teachers from the Hollywood Kids Academy where I run the vocal program. There were 8 of us that went and we had such a ball! I mentioned before that there's something about New York that I love. I'm still not sure what that is, but it's specific to New York. I've been to other big cities, but this one has a different...aura, I guess. It's full of excitement, attitude, character... I just love visiting there!
Of course, a major highlight of the trip were the five Broadway shows we went to see. First was Legally Blonde. This show wasn't included as part of the workshop, but we had a free night and thought, what better way to kick it all off? It was such a cute show! I loved the movie to begin with, but it was super entertaining to have all the added songs. The performers were awesome and it was a great feel-good experience!
Next we saw Young Frankenstein. What a trip! If you've ever seen the movie (or any Mel Brooks movie, for that matter), then you know exactly what to expect from this show. It was hilarious - mostly thanks to ingenious casting - but it also had it's slightly uncomfortable moments... I loved it in spite of those, though! It was entertaining for sure. I especially loved the 'Putting On The Ritz' number. That and 'The Brain' were my favorite songs. Although 'Transylvania Mania' was a riot too! So much fun!
The next night I was 10 minutes late for A Catered Affair. Jessica Elmer and I were shopping in the Virgin Records store in Times Square when we realized it was 8:02 and the show started at 8:00! Good thing it was fairly close! This show was not a comedy and had more depth. I thought the performances were what made it good. I didn't care much for the storyline, but the way it was executed was absolutely stunning! It starred Faith Prince, Harvey Fierstein, and Tom Wopat - all of whom were exceptionally brilliant!
Up next was possibly my favorite show experience ever - The 39 Steps. This show is not a musical, but was soooo entertaining - I would see it again and again! It's a spoof based on an old Hitchcock movie (which is based on a book) and has a cast of four. Two of the actors play around 10 characters each, with different accents, postures, voices, genders (no kidding), etc. It was remarkable how easy they made it all look! It was such a hilarious show and I highly recommend it - I hope to see it again someday!
Lastly, but definitely not least, we saw the revival of South Pacific at the Lincoln Center. Apparently it's virtually impossible to get tickets to this show, yet it was part of our package deal with the workshop. Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of South Pacific. The storyline never really appealed to me and I'd always thought the music was just okay. But this was the most incredible show! They did the whole thing (it was 3 hours long!) with full orchestra. The staging, singing, acting...everything was amazing. I guess this show was nominated for something like 11 Tony Awards this year and won several. I see why!
So, the shows were great, but I also really enjoyed the Workshop. It was super fun to go to classes like Stage Combat, Mirroring, Audition Tips, etc. We got to hear from Jason Robert Brown, whose music is definitely cool. We also had a session with a Music Director for several shows and I learned quite a lot about coaching for a show. It was also fun hearing from the performers and seeing the backstage tour. It made me very excited for what we're doing at Hollywood Kids.
Aside from the Broadway experience, we had a great time with the New York experience too. Eating in cafes, shopping on 5th Avenue, walking around Central Park, visiting the Upper West Side, riding in taxis, standing in Rockefeller Plaza outside the TODAY Show watching Matt Lauer and Al Roker, eating a hot dog from a street vendor, and browsing through Tiffany's - all these small experiences were wonderful. But probably the best experience was going to the Manhattan Temple. It was such a comfort to be in that haven with so much of the world around you, and to focus on eternal truths. What a beautiful temple! It was quite the unique experience!
Here are a few photos from our trip:
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