Theater

Movie Musical Traditions…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Theater, TV/Movies | Leave a comment

2015holibadge-blueIn which I watch The Wiz Live (slightly delayed) and reminisce about movie musicals…

 

I have this ability to retain songs and song lyrics in my head. Particularly from musicals. It’s become something of a party trick, being quizzed to see if I know the words to a specific song from a specific musical.  If you know me at all, you know I’m a musical theater geek. A part of myself that I happily embrace. I was the kid dancing and singing in my bedroom to the cast recording of Annie, dreaming of being Andrea McArdle. I was also the kid who listened to the soundtrack of Grease interminably, acting out every song, every moment, while wearing my Grease t-shirt (iron on of the movie poster on the front and with my name in raised velvety letters on the back).

Pre-cable (and even after we had cable) and pre-VCR in our house, I was the kid who was ridiculously excited for the yearly airing of both The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz on network TV.  Heralding in the holiday season with my favorite kind of music, my favorite kind of entertainment, the big old ham in me (in a tiny little girl) singing along with every single song and dancing along with the choreography. So, when NBC decided to resurrect this holiday musical tradition by producing musical productions live on TV, I was excited.

While neither The Sound of Music nor Peter Pan were perfect, I was still all in with them, enjoying the hell out of the exuberance of live, by the seat of your pants musical productions on such a large scale. More the better that kids around the country who don’t have the resources or the access to live musical theater could watch. Which leads me to tonight and The Wiz Live on NBC.

The Wiz poster Of all the musicals and movie musicals that I loved as a child, The Wiz was at the top of the heap. The movie came out in 1978 and my 9th birthday party in January 1979 was at a screening of The Wiz, which was not the first time I’d seen it (my parents, always wonderful at indulging my interests, let me see it several times in the movie theater). I owned the double album on vinyl and played that soundtrack so much it warped. I knew every word to every song, every breath, every quirk of phrase. And I loved it! I now own it on DVD and still, to this day, if it happens to be on TV, I must watch.

So, I was thrilled last year when it was announced that the next NBC holiday musical would be a new version of The Wiz. A little trepidatious that it would live up to my expectations, but here we are. I love it. The cast is wonderful, the updates aren’t jarring or obnoxious and fit in well with the theme of the original. The music? The music lives up to every one of my childhood memories. And yes, I still have it all memorized. It’s right there like an old friend and it feels like a wonderful little gift to start the holiday season.

So, I end this evening with a love letter to musical theater, to movie musicals, and to The Wiz (Live and otherwise). Still holding a very soft spot in my heart.  Can’t wait to see what NBC has in store for next year’s live musical.

And now I’m going to “Think of Home” (where I get to go in two weeks!)…

On a day well spent…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Art, Family, Friends, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff, Theater | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012I’ve been spending an awful lot of time lately talking about how difficult it’s become to  fill up my days meaningfully while I’ve been unemployed.  Well, thank goodness for December.

Every year, the month of December becomes a headlong rush towards the new year, with too much to do and it often feels like I’m hurtling forward without the ability to slow down and enjoy it all.  But, I figured that this year, because I’m not working, I have more time in my days and therefore everything won’t feel so crazy rushed.  Only partially true.  I still am the mistress of procrastination and things get done at the last minute, so today happened…

Earlier this week, I was invited to participate in the Holiday Artist Market at 25CPW Gallery today, to be part of a table of four artists from the West Side YMCA Artworks program.  Of course, I felt like I needed to make some more earrings, to replenish my stock and so after I got home from the pottery studio last night (at about 10:30pm) I began to work.  The thing is, when I get into an ADHD hyperfocus groove, time seems to pass without my realizing it.  The next thing I know, I looked up at the clock and it was 5:30am.  By the time I got to bed it was 6am, so, I slept for a grand total of 3 1/2 hours.  Oops.

Got up, got dressed, ran over to the Artist Market and set up our table for a 12pm start.  Each of us took a shift (mine began at 6pm), so I ran home, ate a quick lunch, changed clothes and then met up with my friend Oona to go to the theater.  My wonderful bestie, Genevieve, bought tickets for us to go see Grace on Broadway at the matinee this afternoon (thank you, Gen!)  Unfortunately, she couldn’t make it to town this weekend, so Oona went with me.  It was truly wonderful, not just because the show was so great (it really, really was), but because after, we got to go backstage and spend some time with Ed Asner in his dressing room.  Ed and my mother have been friends since he was a young, unknown actor in New York City, and she was an assistant casting director at CBS.

He and my parents stay in touch and see each occasionally, usually when Ed is in Florida performing, but I hadn’t seen him since I was 18 years old and he was starring in the pre-Broadway run of Born Yesterday in Boston.  He got me a house seat and then took me out to dinner.  So it was truly lovely to see him 24 years later, after a wonderful performance in a great show and to have him be just as I remembered — funny and foulmouthed and effusive and feeling like family.

If that’s all the day had in store, it would have been enough, more than enough.  But the day continued on and after a quick coffee with Oona, I headed to my shift at the Artist Market and spent the evening talking to interesting people and looking at some fantastic art, and even selling a few things along the way (thanks Oona and Moe-Swe!)  It went longer than originally intended, but there was terrific live music and it felt like just the place I needed to be.

But the downside of so much good stuff in one day (and so little sleep) is that I am overtired and overstimulated, and decided to skip a friend’s holiday party in Park Slope (sorry, Liz, hopefully next year!) that I really wanted to go to, because I’m practically useless at this point.  This post is happening partially because I promised myself that I would not miss a single Holidailies this year, but also as a brain dump to help wind me down.  And it’s happening on fumes.  When it’s done, it will be lights out on the Upper West Side.  But before I end up unconscious, I just wanted to reflect on a very good day, after a strange and sometimes difficult week.

It’s good to be busy again…

One week into another…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Eating, Family, Friends, Shopping, Theater, Travel, TV/Movies | Leave a comment

Gen came into town last Friday night and on Saturday we hopped in the Zipcar and headed for New Haven.  After a couple of wrong turns and a little bit of driving in circles, we managed to meet Anita at Atticus Bookstore Cafe for lunch.  The food was delicious and the company was great.  After lunch, we finally got to see Richard II at Yale Rep.  It was a really wonderful production and Gen’s friend Jeffrey was phenomenal.  We then headed back to the city to go to the opera.  This is why we got the Zipcar in the first place, figuring that taking the train would be a gamble.  Of course, neither of us gave a thought to the fact that we were heading back into the city on Saturday night.  Which meant that we got stuck in heinous traffic and didn’t actually make it back in time for the opera.

We were both kind of bummed, because we really wanted to see it, but we made the most of the evening.  We ended up having a decadent dinner at Rosa Mexicano, where the guacamole (made to order at your table) is so addictive there might as well be crack cocaine in it.  The question we asked each other for the rest of the evening was, “How was the opera?”  And the answer?  “The guacamole was delicious!”  Since we couldn’t see Margaret Garner, that meal wasn’t a bad consolation prize.  After dinner, we went back to my apartment and watched a couple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and even that hilarity could not stave off the food induced narcolepsy that suddenly had overcome both of us.  I left Gen to her coma on the futon and dragged myself off to bed.  I think I was asleep before 11pm.  Crazy…

On Sunday, we met the boys for brunch at V*YNL.  Ah, my favorite brunch place ever, with my favorite people.  The best kind of way to spend a weekend day.  Afterwards, Gen and I took a little detour to the Drama Book Shop, where Gen had to buy “a couple” of things.  Which translates into a big honking pile of books.  It was amusing.  Mostly because I didn’t actually spend any money, which is quite unusual for me.  Once Gen left for home, I had the grandiose idea that I would get a ton of things done…cleaning, organizing.  Okay, so I’m delusional.  Instead I took a nap.  And then a new week began.

 Amazingly, it began with a lot less anxiety than I expected.  I actually had most of the details of the upcoming weeks under control.  And I’m not sure why that surprises me so much except for the fact that working for my boss for the past year and being told how useless I am and that I never have my job under control, somehow I started to believe it.  Thing is, I just work for someone who can only feel better about herself by making other people feel worse and in the end it has nothing to do with me.  That was quite the revelation. 

So, here I am, heading into another Friday.  I have to get all the final details under control tomorrow, since it’s my last day in the office for more than a week.  I leave on Monday for a week in Texas (Yippeeta!) and I have a gazillion things to get done in the office and at home before I go.  And as much as the anxiety of everything I need to get done and everything I have to do once I’m in Texas is looming, I guess I’m getting back to myself, because, different than six months ago, now I’m not letting the insidious external voices cloud what I know is true.  I’m competent and this is an event just like any other event that I’ve done.  Which means I can totally handle it.  So, I might actually enjoy this trip to Texas.  Even though I wish I were traveling to somewhere else.  Because Texas?  Hot and full of Republicans.  And me?  I don’t generally enjoy either.  Oh well, I’m sure it will be just fine.  Because a luxury hotel and room service and a week without having to get up to feed the cat isn’t such a bad thing…

Courageous?

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Family, Friends, Theater, Work | Leave a comment

So, I had my meeting with HR today.  And although I’m still not sure where it’s all going to lead, I feel it was the right thing to do.  I was able to talk about all the stuff that’s been going on over the last year and now it’s on the record.  I know that what it might lead to is me leaving, but I couldn’t let it go on anymore.  I’ve been gas-lighted and made to feel like crap for far too long and I know I’m not the first one to feel this way.  So, whether or not it gets resolved while I’m still there, it will hopefully be harder for her to get away with it anymore, with me or anyone else.  My colleague who convinced me to make an official complaint called me courageous today.  I’m not sure if that’s really how I’m feeling.  I’m just sick of feeling powerless and scared and it’s unacceptable for anyone to be treated like this and I’m not going to let it happen anymore without notice that it’s NOT okay.

In other news, I’m so happy it’s Friday.  I’m up way too late, my plan to get in early in the morning is shot to hell, but only one more day in the work week before I can relax. YAY!  Gen is coming up by Acela in the evening and Saturday morning we are off to New Haven by Zipcar!  We’re seeing Richard II at Yale Rep, then driving back to the city in time to go to City Opera in the evening for Margaret Garner.  Quite a busy, culture-filled day.  And I’m so glad I have a friend who has the same theater-geeky excitement I do about the prospect of a two-show day!  And just another example of why I live here.  There’s so much to see that I could go to see two shows every Saturday year-round and never run out of things to see.

 Okay, enough of the geek gush.  I’m overtired and I should get some sleep before my alarm wakes me for work…