Ashley and I have made our pilgrimage to New York City every other year for the past 5 years and this year's trip was a whirlwind of fun and firsts. This was the first time we had ever seen a Broadway revival (two actually, a play and a musical). This was also the first time we brought a friend along with us on our travels. And lastly, this was the first time we brought our daughter, Alana, to the Big City. It was crisp weather and way too much fun.
First stop: The Wendy Williams Show! This was an experience, to say the least. We had never been to a show taping before, so that was new, then you add Wendy Williams and you have yourself an unforgettable experience. We had great seats and a great time! We even walked away with $100 gift cards to Walmart- got to love the giveaways!
Taking Alana to the City was a joy and a challenge. I have to say regardless of the constant going and doing, Alana was an amazing travel companion. She loved the sights and sounds and we never had to coerce her into taking a nap- she did that all on her own. It was Ashley and myself that wanted naps!
And now for... BROADWAY. I've been a fan of the Great White Way for as long as I can remember. For my 16th birthday, my dad took me to NYC to take in the sights, and sounds, but mainly the shows. There is so much excellence on Broadway from the orchestras to the staging. I have not seen theater do what Broadway Theater does. So with every New York trip, shows must be seen. This year I wanted to be intentional about what we saw. I didn't want to see the normal tourist shows, I wanted to see minorities and critical darlings: so we did. We started with the revival of "Children of A Lesser God."It is a powerful story of love, understanding, empathy, and truth. We were blown away at Lauren Ridloff imparticular, who made her Broadway debut as the lead! She is an incredible actress and her recent Tony Nomination is completely deserved.
The following evening we got tickets to the revival of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Carousel." We were nervous to go into the show with the controversial source material (it's about a man who beats his wife... and much more) but were quickly BLOWN AWAY at the singing, acting, and of course dancing. The New York City Ballet's Resident Choreographer, Justin Peck did some career-defining work on that stage and is currently the show-in for the Best Choreography Tony. The truly lifted all that is glorious about the original musical and added that extra 2018 pizzaz to make it one of the most memorable theater experiences that I have ever witnessed.
Lastly, we saw a matinee of "The Band's Visit" this is a new musical based on the Israeli film of the same name. I've seen a lot of Broadway, but I've never seen anything like this. There are moments of silence, the choreography is minimal, and the story is a quirky tale surrounding several people in a boring town in Israel whose lives are forever changed because of a band's visit. With a 90-minute run time, this show did not have an intermission and yet had impeccable pacing to make it feel like a 2-hour show. I didn't want it to end. It was a beautiful reminder of the power of art, in the story's specific case: music. This is my pick for the Best New Musical Tony, and I truly hope it wins. We need more of its kind on Broadway: original, true, and full of humanity.
Aside from Broadway, we made our way to Central Park, Chelsea Market, The High Line, World Trade Center Memorial, Brookly Bridge, MoMA, and were able to visit with family and friends. It was a quick trip, but a really good one. I love New York. It served us once again as a launching point for creativity and inspiration- for that alone the trip was worth it.