Local Night on the Town

So, after the excitement of our VIP Guest at Sister Act Thursday night, it was time to play catch up in the office on Friday as well as bid a fond farewell to our CM, who will be welcoming her baby boy sometime in the next month. She knows how to roll a send-off party – as she bought John’s Pizza for the entire office, as well as these amazing chocolate chip cookies from Ca Va. Definitely got my weekend started on the right foot.

After finishing up at the office, I headed to LIC for dinner with my Queens pal. We ate at LIC Market, which was so amazingly delicious, I could eat there every day. Does not hurt that I can jump on the E train right outside my office and be sipping my glass of wine at their relaxing bar in less than 15 minutes. My kind of restaurant. The waitstaff was friendly and helpful. The food was to die for. I even splurged on dessert, which I never do, but I could not turn down apples battered like donuts and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar served with a vanilla dipping sauce. Incredible. The waitress told us they have an amazing brunch as well, so I am definitely counting the hours until my return there.

After dinner, we headed to meet up with Nick and Em at Waltz Astoria to see my friend Anne Mironchik play with her jazz trio (check her out streaming live from RSU’s Radio Program on Sunday, July 10th at 10am!) . She was brilliant as always, and even played one of my very favorite old-school musical theatre songs, “My Romance” by Rodgers and Hart from Jumbo. [EDITED: Just after this blog posted, I got a text from none other than my Queens pal whose father was actually IN the production of Jumbo. How about that for full-circle blogging?] Ah yes, I don’t know anything about that musical either, but it is one of my very favorite songs. Sadly, I don’t have video of Anne singing this song, but as a close runner up, here’s my favorite Broadway star singing it as a medley with another beautiful song called “Danglin'” by the contemporary musical theatre composer Maury Yeston:

Sigh, so pretty! Maury Yeston, it should be known, wrote one of my very favorite musical theatre songs ever, and when I found myself in a room with him during a reading of a new musical he was working on earlier this spring, it took just about everything in me to keep from making a total fool of myself over how much I love it. Randomly, I probably never would have known about the song had it not been for my high school boyfriend’s mom telling me that she had just seen a different production of the telling of the Phantom of the Opera story that she enjoyed so much more than THE Phantom of the Opera. My Andrew Lloyd Webber worshipping was at an all time high during my sophomore to junior years of high school, so I simply could not believe her whatsoever and immediately put the thought out of my mind.

But of course, after moving to New York, I stumbled upon a cute little cd entitled The Maury Yeston Songbook during one of my trips through the Broadway wing of the Virgin Megastore in Times Square (seriously, doesn’t everyone have a story about seeing that giant musical theatre cd collection all in one space for the first time? It was so incredible, that you almost forgot you were about to pay $18.99 for a cd – oh days before iTunes) and I was hooked. Also, Do you like how I assume everyone has a story about that Broadway section at the Virgin Megastore? Like, no one ever went in there to buy any other kind of music? My worldview is warped.

In any case here are Kristin Chenoweth and Ron Baker singing “Home” from Phantom (sadly, I couldn’t find find my favorite recording of Laura Benanti and Robert Cuccioli singing from the cd, and I’m not fancy enough to be able to upload mp3s for the blog yet, so we will allI  I will just have to make do).

When I hear this song, it pains me that I cannot sing above an Eb. It doesn’t stop me from pretending I can though. In any case, the lyrics to this song make me want to cry they are so beautiful – and really express what I feel about theatre and music and LIFE (dramatic):

All my life I’ve been waiting
In my mind, in a rocking
For my fancy to take the air
I would know the time

Tick and tock went my childhood
Father said I would know the place
Skin would tingle and pulse would race
As they do…It’s here! I’m…

Home, where music fills the air, and I’m
Home, where a thousand lovers cry
Swoon and sigh, and I’m
Home, Where ev’ry violin
Plays a treat as sweet as a honeycomb
Wherever music plays I know I’m home.

Here, where fables come alive, year by year
We forget our troubled nights, under lights
And each tear becomes a gentle tune or duet
Kept straight by a metronome…
And if I’m singing, then I know, I’m home.

Where ev’ry English horn
Makes me feel glad I’m born
And any woodwind trill
Excites a thrill that’s new!

The giant contrabass…
The great soprano’s face
Combine to make a perfect world
Far better than what’s outside.

Dreams–I’ve lived within my dreams
Now it sems I’ve awakened and they’re real
Pinch and feel! If one day
I walk upon this stage from these wings
And play underneath this dome
And if I sing with all my heart…
I’ll be home.

Phantom:

All my life to be waiting
For an angel to one day speak
Mouth goes dry, and my knees grow weak
At each word–each sound–
That voice–that music in the air
Ev’ry choice, ev’ry syllable, each note
How they float–and her tone!
A miracle of silk, spun to gold, unfolded in polychrome…
And when I hear it how I know I’m home

Who is this prodigy, who sings to only me?
She is as innocent and natural as a rose.
I’ll do her so much good, we two, I know we could
Combine to make a perfect world
Far better than what’s outside

Together:

Dreams (My dreams)
I’ve lived within my dreams now it seems
I’ve awakened and they’re real, if they’re real
If one day I (she) walk (walks) upon this stage
And play (plays) underneath this dome
And if I (she) sings with all my (her) heart
I’ll be…home.

“Home” from Phantom music and lyrics by Maury Yeston

So hokey, right? I don’t care. I love, love, love it and I’m fairly certain this blog has already ascertained that I am a giant mushy dork when it comes to music, so I feel no need to apologize. Seriously though, how did this entry turned into such a lovefest for this song? Oops. Digressions are fun! Special thanks to Mrs. Treat for enlightening me back in 1995.

In any case, back to 2011, it was a lovely evening indeed. I love that all of these things exist right here in my little borough. You rock Queens. After sending G back to Woodside, Em, Nick, and I ended the night at another one of my friend’s apartment watching the end of Aliens. Shockingly, I do not share my love affair feelings of music with creepy gross aliens and their super creepy egg babies. I spent the last half hour with my eyes closed. Ugh, just thinking about those guys makes my skin crawl. Listen, I know it was 1986, but those were Academy Award winning visual effects. Terrifying.

So there you have it, a night in my life combined with a musical history lesson into my soul. You’re welcome, America.

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Are You Free Tonight?

Okay, when I started this blog (oh so long ago), I was in the depths of my unemployment sadness. I’d been interviewing off and on, sending out resumes like crazy, and begging anyone I knew that was employed in the theatrical world to connect me to all their connections, in the rare hopes it would lead to something…ANYTHING!

I’m sure I was starting to alienate my friends and family, and I feel this past weekend, I really entered the despair and desperation of my unemployment. I realize that in the realm of the world that two months of unemployment is nothing to be stressing out about, and I’m sure for many, it would be a welcome break! Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy having the time to replace my shower head and run and start yoga and watch Friday Night Lights and make dinners and cross all those things off the to-do list that never get accomplished when you’re working; however, logging onto my Bank of America account was starting to give me panic attacks, so for me, two months was where I hit the wall.

So, anyway, earlier this week, I received an email from a colleague of mine asking for my resume and availability. Now, my union keeps an availability list of poor company managers seeking work, so these kinds of emails were pretty standard for me to receive. Add to that the fact that I have interviewed in this office a few times before, so I really didn’t think much of it. Hit reply, said, “hey, here’s my email…hope all is well,” and promptly forgot about (though I did say a little prayer after hitting send that maybe it would lead to an interview of some sorts.)

Cut to Wednesday afternoon where after doing laundry all morning (including my duvet cover, where when I was shaking it out to put in the washer, I found my cable remote control. Oops. How would that call to Time Warner go? Um, so I just put my remote in the washer because I wasn’t paying attention…anyway, I digress) I headed to Em’s house for my daily dose of Tully love. For whatever reason, I didn’t bring my phone, since I had already talked to my mom, so would have no reason to expect any other calls. Ha. (Hi Mom!). But that day, when I got home, I had messages flashing on my IM, in my inbox, and on my phone. In checking them all, I learned that this colleague of mine was calling to see if I would be able to come in that afternoon or Thursday morning to talk with him. I called him back and discovered that they were looking for an Associate Company Manager on Sister Act, as the Company Manager was departing shortly on maternity leave, and the Associate Company Manager was bumping up. I tried to play it cool on the phone, but was DYING in my apartment. I. LOVE. Sister Act. Not only one of my favorite movies, but I loved, loved, loved the show, and obviously, having sung in church choirs my entire life, I obviously live that life (minus the convent part.) Anyway, so I scheduled my meeting for 1pm the next day. The IM was from my former ROA Company Manager telling me that she had just spoken with the Sister Act office and she was calling me to help me prepare for the interview. Dear Theatre Gods. Thank you for putting people in my life that have made me better at my job and who have watched out for me in this industry. SO. LUCKY.

Thursday morning, I was actually heading over to St. Ignatius to sing at a funeral for one of our fellow choir members who sadly had just lost her valiant battle with cancer, leaving behind her young daughter. I was so unprepared for how emotional singing at this Mass was going to be. It was such an honor to be included in the music, that I just kept telling myself I had to stop crying so I would be able to serve her beautiful spirit in the music. It was a difficult task, but somehow, I was able to stop the tears enough to sing the hymns. As always, the music at St. Ignatius was beautiful, even more so since many of the hymns were chosen by Chrissy herself.

With bittersweet emotion, I jumped into a cab on 86th and Park and attempted to pull myself together for my interview that was starting just a half hour later. I tried to redo my makeup in the car and to calm my nerves and remember all the talking points I needed to make.

Though I thought I might be late, I pulled up just on time and headed into the familiar office. I went through my interview song and dance (which I have previously mentioned is just so incredibly awkward). In the meeting was the General Manager of Sister Act, and both the current Company Manager and the soon-to-be Company Manager. After about a half an hour of me telling random ROA and Rat Pack stories, the GM excused herself and the ACM/CM and they left the room. I have to say, I honestly thought the GM had just gotten an email saying they had found someone who was a better fit, but thank you for coming in…

When they returned, they said, “We would like to go ahead and offer you the job right now.” Um, I’m sorry, what? This story cannot possibly be going down this way. My theatre stories are always full of drama and phone calls and fourth meetings and “how do you react when people scream at you” and whatever else insanity the world thinks I need to go through. I have no idea what my outwardly reaction was, but my inner self was a toss up between jumping for joy and bursting into tears (hey, thanks Xanax I took in the cab for allowing me to keep both of those reactions internal.) So, they asked if I had any questions, and so I asked, “When do you need me to start?” They looked at each other and said, “Are you free tonight?” “Yes, I am.” “Great, tonight’s payday, so it will be a great chance to introduce you around. I’ll draft up the memo welcoming you to the company and we’ll post it tonight.” I seriously cannot make up the ways these stories play out in my life. So, I filled out my paperwork, got my fancy new email address, and a received a quick introduction around the office. Then was asked to be back around 6pm for our trek to the Broadway Theatre.

I spent the next few hours calling my family and friends and texting everyone on the planet. Grabbed a quick dinner with my former assistant and box office treasurer who happened to be out around the corner from where I was texting like a madwoman, and went to Staples to buy a new notebook (impossible to start a show without a new notebook).

We went over a few things in the office then CM, mgmt asst, and I headed to the theatre. I was overwhelmed by the difference in space from the Brooks (teensy) to the Broadway (gigantic). The company is also much bigger than we had on ROA and they must have about three times the number of crew there. It was an hour full of “so nice to meet yous” and “I’m so thrilled to be here.” I think I was still in shock a little. We signed the box office statement (hey, thanks New World Stages for using the Shubert ticketing system, so I could sort of look like I knew what I was doing in the treasurer’s office). Then we snuck in to watch the end of the first act, and I was finally able to absorb what had just happened to me in the last eight hours.

Also, there’s this song:  I mean, seriously. It’s probably one of the most played songs on my iPod right now. I just love it. (you may recognize it from my 10k Playlist.)

Finally, I wrapped up my interview/work day, jumped in a cab (omg, I’m making Broadway money again, I don’t have to feel bad about taking a cab!!!) and headed to rest-au-rant where my sister and brother-in-law arranged a little impromptu party to help me celebrate my newfound employment status. So, many thanks to Em, Nick, Sus, Woody, Mary, and Joe for the Sister Act love. It was so amazing to be able to share my awesome day with you guys.

After a sandwich and a few cocktails, I was a zombie, so I dragged my tired self to the apartment and promptly feel asleep.

Much love and thanks to all who have taken this journey with me. For all the listening, MetroCard swipes, drinks, dinners, friendship, Netflix recommendations, career advice, and the numerous times you told me to have faith in myself that something amazing was sure to come along. I owe all of you the world. Now, go buy a ticket to my show.

Tony Sunday!!

*I realize I’m still catching up from the cable outage debacle. Thanks for bearing with me!

I have to say, I just love Sundays in NYC. This Sunday, especially, as Tony Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year!

Sunday morning started with Nick and I heading up to St. Ignatius to sing at the 11am Wallace Hall mass. Recently, our director discovered that I still could sort of play the flute, so my flute playing has returned (aren’t you happy Mom?).

After Mass, we headed back to Queens for some more puppy-playing and delicious lunch made by my brother-in-law. Then Ken came and cut all of our hair. Seriously, Emily’s best friend since 5th grade is a brilliant stylist that worked at a super fancy salon in Dallas and now, thankfully for all of us, he and his husband Scott have made the move to NYC. Should you be looking for a stylist, you should check him out. His haircuts are the things of legends! Seriously.

After our haircuts, we headed out to the movies in Astoria to see Super 8. You all know my love affair with Kyle Chandler, so of course I love any chance I can see him on screen. I was a bit jumpy throughout the movie (I maybe don’t do great with suspense as a genre), but I did really, really enjoy it. After the movies, we headed to the fanciest grocery store in Astoria which is always exciting to grab some supplies for our Tony party. Oh yes, usually I’m in heels and sequins a la this pic:

Arriving at the Tony Party for Rock of Ages in 2009.

However this year had me watching in my pjs with some great friends and hot dogs. I love, love, love Tony Sunday and thought this telecast was one of the best in awhile. Though the mood of the party drooped a bit when our good buddy Rory O’Malley did not win the Tony for best actor in a supporting role in a musical for his amazing performance in Book of Mormon (John Laroquette took home that honor for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), we all agreed that he was in good company, and that this would be the first of MANY Tony Awards where we would be able to gather around and cheer for him! Plus, Book of Mormon took home many honors indeed, so we imagine it was probably still a great night for him and his entire company!

I so enjoyed watching with my friends and family. It was so nice to be able to let those guys into my life for just an evening. Just the whole dorkiness of my favorite thing in the world. Love. Also, any time I can see Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman, and Harry Connick, Jr. onstage, combined with a rap from the author of my obsessively favorite musical In the Heights is an amazing night indeed. Check out this closing night wrap-up:

 

And in the final analysis, what survives tonight?

Theater, because it’s what we live, we’re changing some lives tonight

And theater thrives because we live to give it, so to speak

This ain’t reality TV, this is eight shows a week

Every chorus member that you saw tonight tappin’

Had to make miracles happen

For a chance to see you clappin’

And applauding in the audience. What’s next? Who knows?

Anything goes. Now go see a mother*** Broadway show.

Thank you, good night.

-Performed by Neil Patrick Harris and Written by the amazingly talented Lin-Manuel Miranda

An that note, I’m out. I have a big meeting tomorrow, so I would appreciate all your good thoughts!

NYRR Mini 10k Playlist

So, as promised, here is my iTunes playlist for the NYRR Mini10k race tomorrow morning. It has been cousin Susan approved (for those of you not familiar with my fam, my cousin Susan has recently moved to NYC from Chicago making our household Susan-squared central. Also, I look to her to tell me what’s cool, since she’s still in her 20s and all…)

I’m hoping the race takes me about an hour. It would be nice to knock some time off my last run. We’ll see how it goes in just a few hours. Anyone else want to share their playlists or add to mine? I mean, I’m pretty sure y’all are judging the amount of Miley Cyrus I have on this list. I can’t help it! She has some catchy tunes! In any case, I have another race in about a week and a half, so I’m always looking for new tunes!

So, with this playlist done, me and my iPod are heading to bed. A few things happened today to knock me a little off schedule, but I think it will all be helpful tomorrow. See y’all on the other side! Wish me luck!!

Musical Sneak Attacks

If you’ve read my “About Me” section of this blog, or really, if you know me at all, you know that maybe I’m not quite that familiar with any sort of popular music, or music that was popular within the last few years. I feel like I’m always telling people, “oh my gosh, I just heard the greatest song!” Only to discover that everyone else on the planet had discovered this same song four years ago.

This phenomena has only been made so much worse by watching Glee, in which I’ve never heard the original versions of songs, just the Glee version. What can you do? A few times, this has happened while watching a few of my other favorite tv shows. I fully believe this stems from listening to the two soundtracks from Dawson’s Creek on repeat throughout college. (To be fair, I really thought I was cutting edge back then – listening to music made popular by Joey and Pacey’s angst-ridden love scenes.)

Anyway, the first time in recent memory that a song in the background of a tv show happened during one of my severely-missed 8am reruns of The West Wing on Bravo. Ugh, doesn’t everyone miss this? Anyway, it was during an episode called “The Red Mass.” Which was season 4, episode 4. I have tried incredibly unsuccessfully to find a clip from this episode to add to this entry, so just imagine you’re in a cathedral. The music coming from my tv was a choral piece that was so pretty I to immediately find out what it was. After scanning a few episode recaps, I learned it was the first movement from Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Too this day, it is still one of my favorite choral pieces.

This happened again just the other day when I was watching an episode of Friday Night Lights. This song was being used as an underscore to the final scene from the first episode of season four. It was so pretty and had a melody that seemed so familiar to me, but the words didn’t register at all. Upon listening to the song a few times, I recognized it as “Sing a New Church” which is a hymn we frequently sing as a closing song for Mass. Through the powers of Google, I learned that that song is based in an old Mormon hymn entitled, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and in this episode it was being sung beautifully by Sufjan Stevens.

Anyone out there in the interwebs found a favorite song when it was being used on a tv soundtrack? I will also admit to discovering “Come on Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson while buying magazines in an airport bookstore. I love when the music finds you!

Speaking of music, stay tuned for my 10k playlist for the NYRR Mini 10k tomorrow. It will have to be awesome to get me through those hills on a supremely early, possibly rainy Saturday morning.