Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's My Life

I know you're all still waiting on the continuation of my New York trip, but lately I have experienced photography difficulties. However I will keep trying to finish.

In the meantime, today I have this post to mark a special occasion.

I have made a deadline on this day. I have pledged to myself that in the next five years, I will have the following:

  • be starring in a leading role on Broadway or on a National Tour

  • Have plenty of money to support myself

  • will have achieved recognition in the musical theatre community and possibly beyond

  • this is optional, but perhaps a guy in my life?

So, I have pledged these goals to myself to complete by Thanksgiving time of 2019.

If I have not done any of the above listed, I have decided to go back home, finish my education and become a preschool teacher.
Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but I know it may sound depressing for me to give up on my dream just like that after working so hard.

Who knows? Maybe I'll make a new deadline. We'll all just have to wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nothin' But a Good Time Part 1 (NYC Part 6)

A long line was already outside the front doors to the theatre when we stepped out of Sardi's.
I was so excited as I walked down to catch a place in line for Mom and I; I couldn't stop smiling! I even let out a little Whoo! of enthusiasm as other audience members caught eyes with me.

I seemed to be the most dedicated fan in the line. Well, at least personally. I mean who else went to the trouble of putting on fishnets and a garter belt?!

Hey, it was all for the show's fashion.

Mom aimed the camera at me and I flashed my rock horns.

I have to say, the other pics I took that night, my horns look a lot better than in this one.

It didn't take long until we reached the door, where ushers were standing by to scan our tickets. There was a billboard right inside on the left wall with the cast members names on it.

I saw so many names I knew from the show's website and all the social media accounts I followed, and there was no attachment saying any of them were not in the show that night!

I did however, notice that longtime cast member Paul Schoeffler was not on the list. He must have been on vacation or something. I got a little bummed out; I was really looking forward to seeing him. I have his Captain Hook performance with Cathy Rigby on VHS.

The main lobby was a tight squeeze, with a large bar area for ordering drinks and a small corner booth selling memorabilia and shirts. I was surprised at the size, but not as much as I would be of the actual theatre.

It. Was. tiny.

I hadn't expected it at all. But either way, I was almost hyperventilating as we walked along the aisle looking for our row. 
There was the Venus Club, with its neon Live Nude sign and Angelyne poster! There was a sign for the show band Arsenal, for their song "I Want your Cans" !
And of course there was the Bourbon Room! Staircase, guitars, panties and all!

Mom and I read off our tickets as we inched down further. I couldn't believe it.

She snagged us seats in the very first row! SURREAL!!!

I hurriedly sat in my seat and started snapping POV snapshots. I couldn't believe how close we were going to be to the action!

Mom actually offered to switch with me so I could have the very middle seat, right in front of the point of the stage. I was completely satisfied where I was so I didn't even bother.

(Later however, I'll have a different opinion)

She told me to pose for a few pictures right in front so I happily obliged. As a moved across to each new location, I felt butterflies going up and down my throat. I was touching were the feet of the most kick-ass cast on Broadway would soon be dancing and making crosses.

I smiled so huge I could feel how tight my face was getting!

This next pose, I wish Mom got the Venus Club sign too. Come on, wouldn't you want to do a sexy pose in front of a strip club sign?

Scandalous! One of the garters is visible!

The thrill was building up inside me. More people were coming into the theatre. I hoped it would be an enthusiastic crowd; I didn't want to be the only one screaming at the top of my lungs.

Just a little while longer, and then I saw the band come onstage. I started applauding and cheering, and the rest of the audience followed.

 Joel Hoekstra, the lead guitarist came to the edge of the stage and started pumping everyone up as the pre-show announcements were being made. Occasionally he glanced down at me and Mom and smiled at us.

Wow, was it getting too be too much like a dream! officially began. The lights went down, Arsenal started to play. LEDs came flashing up towards Joel as he started the big opening solo.

I got more jittery. My legs got shaky again. Mom even flashed horns up at Joel, and he gave us his most hard-core playing face.

All of a sudden the solo ended. A spotlight went up the staircase and to the door to Dennis' office, and out flying came Lonny himself, Genson Blimline.
"Come on feel the noise! Girls rock your boys!
We'll get wild, wild, wild..."

I couldn't help it; I  joined in with the chorus.

"Wild, wild wild!"

"What's going down, Broadway?!" Lonny yelled out.

The theatre whooped and hollered in response.

As the opening song continued, I marveled at all the elements I saw and the actors themselves:

Becky Riker doing the Rocketpop bit, Katie Webber scrubbing it down as Waitress #1 opposite Teresa Stanley's Justice Charlier.

Andre Ward and Adam Danheisser, the two longest running cast members embracing the 80's atmosphere.

And finally...

"This must be just like living in paradise!" "Just like paradise!"
"And I don't wanna go home!"

Constantine Maroulis bounded out onto the stage and gloriously sang:

"I ain't never goin' home!!"

The crowd erupted. Mom and I screamed together in excitement.

I was finally there; after all the time I spent wondering and watching and listening online, I was finally going to live it!

To be continued...even more in depth and more enthusiastic!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NYC Part 5


An awesome college tour and reuniting with our Sesame Street friends.

Now... let the best night ever begin!


This was it. It was time to prepare for what I had been waiting for all these last weeks, days, let alone HOURS!

Rock of Ages, with its original star. HIM. Constantine!

I organized and showed Mom my outfit. However, she told me to slip on my black slacks for dinner over some of the pieces I had chosen, since it wouldn't be appropriate for dinner.
She had managed to get through and book us a reservation at Sardi's nonetheless!

Once we were ready, we got a cab and it drove us to 45th Street. We pulled up right next to our exact destinations.

Sure I was eager for dinner at a legendary hangout spot, but we literally had to walk past the Helen Hayes theatre.

The marquee caught me eye and I couldn't stop staring. It was too disbelieving! I wanted to get in there that very second, but we were going right past it!!!!!

It was still a good two hours until we had to be there anyways, Mom said. So that calmed me down.

When we were inside the restaurant, I immediately recognized Neil Patrick Harris' portrait right in front of us.

Two frames over, my mom pointed out Hugh Jackman's. I was surprised and a little giggly at it.
Personally I think it looked far from how I pictured it.

As I took a peek into the main dining hall, I saw another familiar face, more vintage then the first two.

The staff has some 'splainin' to do.

How many artists have there been doing the caricatures? And for how long?

  We were then led upstairs to our table. I got a little bummed out; what if the other portraits I was looking for were in the downstairs dining room?

Fortunately, I spotted a familiar face right as we got to the top of the stairs.

It was right out of the movie!

Once we sat down, I took in the atmosphere. It was really nice and fancy, and had a lot of typical New Yorkers also eating there; I was expecting company bigwigs and actors.

During the course of our time there, I couldn't help peeking out the window to stare at the marquee again and again.

Our dinner was pretty good; I had a Bolognese pasta, which I guess was okay, and Mom had scallops which I tried for the first time. I remarked how they smelled fishy but tasted more like shrimp, and had a rubbery texture. Mom said that they may have been a little under or overdone.

They had amazing bread and butter! Yes, I will say that I remember the bread and butter as a huge highlight of the meal.

Towards the end of our meal, I decided to slip into the ladies' room and put on my show clothes.
One The way I found and old favorite of my family's...

 Once I was through changing, I took the opportunity away from the table to go down and scope out for any familiar caricatures in the main dining hall. I casually walked downstairs, and quietly made my way to the maitr'd.
It's cool if I take a look at the portraits, right? I asked.

"Absolutely, go right ahead."


I quietly strolled around the room. There were a lot of familiar faces I found: Will Swenson, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and even Billy Porter of Kinky Boots fame!

I'm pretty sure there were other names I was familiar with, but I couldn't recognize their faces in the drawings.

However I absolutely recognized Constantine Maroulis' when I found it, hanging just above the doors to the kitchen.

So adorable! Just like it was in the pics online!

Pretty soon, Mom and I were out the door, back en route to the Helen Hayes.

 Finally, it. was. TIME.

We were going to experience some magic in the next two hours.

Magic I would never forget.

Coming up, the moment a lot of you have been waiting for!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NYC Part 4

Here's a fun song to sing during this entry-

Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away
on my way to where the air is sweet!
Can you tell me how to to get to...

You know where!

Once the Pace tour was over, Mom and I decided to take a subway to Lincoln Center since we were all the way in the Financial District...
believe me, that would be a monster cab fare.

Once we got off, before headed straight to the museum we found a nice buffet restaurant and had a little lunch.

I'll spare those details, all we really did was just eat in there.

Okay, then we had a short walk to Lincoln Center. I immediately started taking photos.
This is a digital picture being displayed on the cube!
I quickly found out which building we had to find, then we headed straight for it.
Amidst an interesting looking art fair.
I also snapped a pic of some ad posters for the Metropolitan Opera.
Who knows? Maybe I could switch over someday.
A short trip through the fair and we landed outside the New York Performing Arts Library.
The exhibit was in plain sight, right in the center of the lobby.
I went up to the front desk and explained why we were hear, but the woman simply said "Go ahead."
It didn't cost anything? Wow...
Mom joined me as I pushed open the door to the exhibit. We were immediately greeted by the famous lamppost sign,
and right next to it was a familiar looking pair of eyes peeking through a familiar looking trashcan.
Suddenly, out came Oscar the Grouch.
Oh, but the fun was just starting! Check out who else we ran into!

Here are two very special ones, performed by a dearly departed member of the Muppet family.
RIP Jerry Nelson


Other friends we saw...


 (Those of you who don't remember, this is Hoots the Owl, one of Kevin Clash's first characters)
And in a huge space in the corner...
For a while I pondered over how he was being kept upright. Mom thought they probably stuffed him, but I noticed Snuffy had on giant toe shoes, so he couldn't have.
It wasn't until I came back around a second time when I saw he was actually hanging by wires on the ceiling, like Super Grover.
Only his were more noticeable.
There were also characters featured that my mom definitely didn't know about. Luckily I did thanks to a blog on the Sesame Street website and in their big 40th anniversary book.
There is a special version of the show specifically for certain countries around the world, and the characters on display happened to be from Ireland's Sesame Tree.
(My dad's side is mostly Irish, so it was pretty significant to see.)

There was even this diagram here with the names and countries of other Sesame Street's around the world!

Not only were there Muppets around the whole room, but there were behind the scenes videos and actual pieces of music, scripts and storyboards straight from the archives.
They even had the Lifetime Achievement Emmy the show won on display!
I took photos of the picture displays videos whenever I saw familiar faces:
Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente
Head writer and puppeteer Joey Mazzarino (aka Murray, Skinky, etc)
Martin P. Robinson and Bryant Young show the mechanics of Snuffy

Big Bird and the man behind him, Caroll Spinney. he has been doing both the Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show first started. He is now 80 YEARS OLD and still

Matt Vogel, director, producer and puppeteer of several characters. He took over physical performances of Jerry Nelson's characters after he became unable to due to lung illness, as with non-Sesame characters like Floyd, Robin, and Lew Zealand. He also performed Constantine in Muppets Most Wanted, and is Caroll Spinney's stand in and mentee for Big Bird.
I even saw a glimpse of a clip from a DVD set I got, featuring vintage behind the scenes clips.
This one just happens to show Ernie and Bert being performed by the legendary Muppet duo, Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

There were several other familiar faces: David Rudman, who performs Cookie Monster, Baby Bear, and Scooter and Janice from The Muppets, along with Tony nominated Stephanie D'Abruzzo, still nobly at Sesame's side as a core performer, her main one being Curly Bear.
And Ryan Dillon, known now as the new puppeteer behind Elmo. He's okay, but seeing as I met Kevin Clash with Elmo, I just can't get used to someone else doing him.
This is Peter Linz down here, assisting what looks to be Stephanie again with a princess puppet. He is better known for his character from The Muppets, Walter.
I also found a better quality picture of Frank Oz, this time performing Grover. He actually still occasionally comes back to the show for a little bit of puppetry amidst being a busy director.
Okay, I'm probably boring you now.
It was a great exhibit with so many amazing things. Sure it was mostly filled with toddlers and preschool kids, but it's not like there's an age limit, right?
Kids at heart, right?
It was pretty tiring after being on my feet since that morning, so Mom and I decided to go back to the hotel early.
We could rest, and get ready for Rock of Ages that night! Even try and make negotiations for dinner, if we could find a place near the theatre.
Little did I know that tonight was going to be the most exciting exhilarating time I'd ever have in my 17 year life!
Coming up, dinner with a thousand faces on the walls, the rock show to beat all rock shows, and up close and personal with the stars!