It seems like nearly everyone I know went somewhere incredible for spring break this year, so why should my trip to New York City stick out amongst the other amazing travels that you and I are hearing about? Because this trip was truly more than the sum of its parts. This trip changed me, and I totally wasn’t expecting it. I really got to know the city for the short time I was there, and I know I will be returning as soon as I can! The culture, the food, the people, and the theatres made my trip so special. I’m not saying everything was perfect, in fact I hated some of it, but it felt like I was meeting an old friend again. Does that make any sense?
Oh where to begin? This was a trip that I took with the Theatre Department here at MSU Mankato, so most of my closest friends from school were with me. We had been looking forward to this trip for months. When I was first dropped off in the city, me and my classmates just wandered around like lost puppies for a while, looking for cheap food. I was kind of overwhelmed. I had been to New York before in high school, but never let off the leash to explore on my own. It was kind of a deer-in-the-headlights feeling for the first couple of hours.
Throughout the next several days I got to experience this amazing city. Some of the most memorable locations I went to were Central Park, The Met, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Coney Island (even though the park was closed, the beach was wonderful!) and many other places.
Well, obviously this is all great, but the real highlight for any Theatre Major going to New York City are the shows! I saw four Broadway shows while I was in the city, and each of them were phenomenal. Not to mention, they all taught me something about myself, or about theatre, or about life in general.
Show #1: Chicago
The Ambassador theatre was actually a lot smaller than I thought a typical “Broadway” theatre would be. The whole atmosphere of the show was pretty intimate, mostly because of the interpretive nature of the show. Not only was the orchestra on stage, the orchestra was the scenery! I had never seen any version of Chicago before and I loved it!
Show #2: Something Rotten!
You guys, this is a show that everybody should see! I’m not kidding. In the middle of watching this show I was wishing that my family was able to see it, and there is something to be said for wanting to experience something amazing with those you love. Something Rotten! incorporates everything that is significant about musicals, and by that I mean that there is a lot of tap dancing! The energy that goes into these big dance numbers is unreal, not to mention, it’s a hilarious show!
(A Brief Intermission from the Awesomeness of Broadway)
I was feeling really down the day I went to Something Rotten! That was the day I was supposed to see Hamilton the musical, which I believe everybody’s heard about. I am a HUGE fan of Hamilton, and I had been telling people for months that I was going to see it on Broadway. However, just a couple of hours before the performance, I realized that the ticket I bought in November was for the wrong day. Heart. Broken. To be specific, it was for the previous weeks’ performance, so I couldn’t even get a refund. It was awful. Not only did I miss out on the most revolutionary show Broadway has ever seen, I had lost all the money I spent on the ticket. So yeah, it was a pretty bad day.
After the amazing performance of Something Rotten! a group of us decided to wait at the stage door to meet the actors. I thought I would hate doing this, I guess that’s just my personality, but I loved it! But the most exciting moment at the stage door was the interaction me and my classmates had with André Ward; an ensemble member with quite the impressive Broadway resume. He took one look at the group of us and said “You guys are actors, aren’t you?” We were all shocked! “Oh I can tell an actor from a mile away!” he said. I was completely dumbfounded that this seasoned Broadway actor was able to pick out the collegiate actors from the rest of the crowd. This was an especially encouraging moment for me, and I began to have a better understanding of how special the theatre community was. I also felt like this was Mr. Ward’s way of accepting us as fellow artists.
Show #3: The Phantom of the Opera
The day I went to see Phantom I woke up with the excitement consuming my brain! If you know anything about me, you know that this is my favorite musical of all time, and I was about to see it live for the first time! The anticipation consumed my thoughts throughout the entire day, and I’m pretty sure my friends were both amused and annoyed.
Omigosh, I fangirled so hard.
However this was the only show I saw that I didn’t have really good seats for. Actually, I kind of hated my seat. I was in the way back of the orchestra. It’s not that I was too far back, it was that the balcony was blocking my view of the top half of the proscenium, and I would have loved to have a full view of the majestic scenery, including the chandelier. Bummer. Not to mention, the people around me were talking during the performance! Not only did I witness this myself, but my friends who were dispersed throughout the theatre all had to suffer through audience members talking during the show. Please, please be respectful to the actors and other audience members whenever you go see a show!
Despite the sub-par experience at the theatre, the show itself was beautiful! The Phantom, Christine, and especially Raoul (the Phantom Trinity) were unbelievable. And I made a vow to myself that I will someday play Christine on that stage. I promise that to you too! You heard it here first folks!
Show #4: School of Rock
After my Hamilton tragedy, I felt the need to make it up to myself. Luckily, one of my favorite actresses -Sierra Boggess- was performing in a show right down the street from our hotel! Sierra Boggess has been a huge influence on my technique as a performer, but mostly she has been influential in shaping my character. If you don’t know who she is, go check her out! Her commitment to honesty and positivity is just as impressive as her theatrical successes. So I decided to see the show she was in.
But School of Rock though!!! This show blew my mind! I have never been more pumped up during a show before, and it was so touching too! I would recommend this show to anyone, and I daresay it was the highlight of my trip. I also had a fantastic seat. When Sierra came out for her first scene, I was about 20 feet away from her. It was such a thrill! But really though, all the actors were incredible, right down to the kids jamming out on their instruments. Holy cow!
My classmates and I were all touched by this show. The message is incredible, and the theatrics are breathtaking! Like I said, I highly recommend this show!
Oh yeah, I met Sierra Boggess. I didn’t get to give her my 20 minute I-appreciate-you-and-you’re-amazing-and-can-we-be-best-friends speech, but hey, I guess that’s how it goes!
This trip just affirmed what I am working towards while I am here at college. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud to be pursuing a degree for now, but I am sure I am moving to this city after I graduate! I felt so welcomed by the very atmosphere of the city, and I must say it has been an adjustment coming back to school. However, I now feel more refreshed, encouraged, and confident about myself because of this trip! Farewell until next time NYC!