Tag Archives: Broadway

Surprising A Friend Headed To Broadway (or I Have More Motivation To Plan My NYC Trip)

I’m sure there are some people who get jealous when their friends have amazing accomplishments, but I’m not one of them. I love to get to celebrate people’s successes and it makes me more motivated to create successes myself! My friend Matt got a job as an understudy on Broadway and he’s about to move to New York! I’m so excited for him and I know he’s going to do amazing in NYC. And to celebrate the move and his job, Matt’s wife Carolina organized a surprise party for him!

I love surprise parties, but I haven’t had the chance to be at that many. So I was super excited to get to be at this one and I knew it would be a great party. We were all supposed to arrive at the party about 30 minutes before Matt and Carolina were going to arrive. I got there a bit earlier and was able to help with some of the set up. There were some really fun decorations to celebrate Matt and his job on Broadway and I helped with filling in some letters on the giant chalkboard.

Right before Matt and Carolina arrived, we were warned so we could get into place. We were all near the gate they would be walking in and we were crouched down so he wouldn’t see our heads peeking over the fence.  It was pretty funny waiting for the gate to open because we were all waiting toward one gate and then I guess the plan changed for them to walk in another gate. One of the hosts was singing and talking loudly so we would get that they would be coming in a different gate and we all turned around and repositioned ourselves.

The story Carolina told Matt about why there were coming over to the house where the party was being held was that they were dropping off a table there. So when we all surprised Matt, he was carrying a table inside. 

Surprising Matt from Jen Levin on Vimeo.

He had no clue this party was happening and it was so great to see how surprised he was! Carolina worked so hard to make this party happen and I am so happy that it went off exactly how she wanted it to be. I was just so excited to see how happy Matt was that we were all gathered to celebrate him!

There were a bunch of people I knew at the party so I spent a lot of time chatting with them. We were all catching each other up on life and other random things and we all did get a chance to talk to Matt a bit. But there were a lot of people there who wanted to talk to him and none of us wanted to dominate his time.

I know we are all going to miss Matt when he’s in New York. He’s one of the leaders of Union Working and his leadership at the meetings will be missed. But maybe he’ll have the opportunity to start a chapter of the group in NYC while he is there!

My sister-in-law and I have been talking about doing another NYC trip soon and we both know we need to do it! And now that I’ll have another friend living there it’s extra motivation to plan the trip! There’s no guarantee that when we do plan our trip that Matt will be performing (as the understudy he won’t necessarily know what nights he performs in advance), but it would be amazing if the timing worked out so we could see him in the show! But even if that doesn’t work out, I know it will be great to get to see him and Carolina again.

I wanted to stay at the party longer, but I was only able to stay a few hours because I had to get home for some work and errands (being a responsible adult stinks sometimes). But before I left, I needed a photo with Matt! And of course, other friends joined in because as actors we can’t resist a camera.

Congrats again Matt on your amazing gig in NYC! I know that everyone is so excited for you and can’t wait to see what other accomplishments you’ll have on your NYC adventure!

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Another Night At Pantages (or Hedwig Take 2)

Even though we got to see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Sunday with our season tickets for Pantages, I actually went back again on Thursday! It is extremely rare for me to see a show more than once (I think I’ve seen maybe 5 musicals more than once) and I’ve never seen a show that I wasn’t working in twice within a week. But we had a reason behind the craziness.

This current tour of the show stars Darren Criss as Hedwig and Lena Hall as Yitzhak (she won a Tony for playing this on Broadway). However on Sunday evening shows, Lena Hall plays Hedwig and Shannon Conley plays Yitzhak (and Darren Criss has the night off). We absolutely loved seeing Lena Hall as the star, but we were curious to see how Darren Criss played it and we wanted to see Lena Hall in her Tony winning role. So on the ride home from our show on Sunday, we found some cheap balcony seats for Thursday and decided we would see the show both ways.

Of the 4 of us in the Pantages group, only myself and Michelle could make it on Thursday (we never could find a night where 3 or 4 of us could go). So she and I dealt with the rush hour traffic, managed to find a meter to park in which was $13 cheaper than the lot we normally park in, and decided to get some dinner before the show.

We had dinner at a restaurant near the theater and both of us were so excited to be seeing the show again. We kept saying how crazy it was that we were back, but we had such an amazing time on Sunday that we were ready to go again. Plus, both of us were still feeling a bit overwhelmed and saddened by the election and how people on both sides have been acting. We needed this escape and it was the perfect thing to have planned.

Our seats during our season tickets are on the right side of the audience almost all the way to the side but very close to the front. We do have slightly obstructed views, and the way the set is done for this show it was more than slightly obstructed, but we love our seats. We can see so much and being able to see the expressions on the actors is really fun. For Thursday’s show, we were up on the balcony where we were about halfway up and all the way over to the left side. So we figured that whatever was obstructed on Sunday could be seen this time. Even with our seats being high up, we couldn’t stop being so excited to see the show again!

hedwig

Overall, the show was really great. Since when I went on Sunday I was a bit overwhelmed (it was the first time I had ever seen the show), it was nice to be able to relax a bit and pay more attention to the show this time. It was interesting to see the differences between how Lena Hall and Darren Criss play Hedwig. And while the script and jokes are pretty much the same, there were some really funny parts that were about Trump winning the election that were really great. And seeing Lena Hall in a role that won her a Tony was just incredible. I’ve never had the opportunity for any shows I’ve seen before and that felt so special to me.

The only real negative part of my time at the show this time was the woman sitting next to me. I don’t know why she felt this was ok, but she took off her shoes during the show and had her bare feet out. And unfortunately for us, her feet didn’t smell nice. I was breathing through my hair for the first half of the show and Michelle found some perfume in her purse for me to use. I sprayed it under my nose and then on my hand so I could smell my hand when I needed to. I thought about saying something, but I figured that if someone feels that doing that is appropriate wouldn’t care or put her shoes back on.

But we did have another funny experience at the show this time. The female usher who was in the section we were sitting in really was into the show! She was doing a lot of restrained dancing during each musical number (you could tell she didn’t want to move too much and distract people). Seeing someone so into a show is just fun and made things seem ok in the world again when in reality there is so much uncertainty.

I’m really glad we got to go back to see the show. I wonder what my opinions would have been like if we saw Darren Criss in the lead first, but I feel like I still would have wanted to see both versions of the show. While it is the same show, it did feel like a totally different experience with how each of them played the role and created the world of Hedwig.

Our next Pantages show is in December, but there have been more musical experiences since this! Shockingly, last week I saw 3 musicals and it was amazing! And my 3rd musical of the week will be in tomorrow’s post!

A Night Of Magic (or Not Quite A Musical)

Even though I got a really great Black Friday deal on tickets for the Pantages (and already got my 2016-2017 season tickets), I’m always on the lookout for good deals for shows I don’t have tickets for. It’s so funny that I’m seeing so many shows now since before my season tickets last season for Pantages I hadn’t been there since I moved to LA in August 2001. It’s almost like I’m making up for lost time. I’m not able to see everything I want because of money issues, but fortunately lots of shows do random deals and my season tickets were a bit cheaper than expected so I had a little extra money.

Most of the runs at the Pantages are longish runs. Some shows are there for a couple of weeks, and some shows are there for a few months (when “Hamilton” is here next year, they will be here for 5 months). But sometimes they have shows that are here for a week or two and they can be tough to get into because there aren’t as many shows to go to.

I had seen that one of the short runs at the Pantages this year is a show called “The Illusionists”, which is a magic show that was on Broadway. The show is with 7 different magicians each with a different speciality or theme. I love magic (I’m hoping to get back to the Magic Castle soon!), but my friend Dani who did the Black Friday deal with me didn’t want to see that show. So we didn’t put it as a part of our season and I let it go.

But a few months ago, my friend Sarah mentioned that she and her husband wanted to see the show. So we agreed to be on the lookout for cheap seats and we’d go together. Sarah ended up finding $45 seats and was supposed to get the tickets, but things came up and she couldn’t do it. But it worked out for the best for us because I got an email a few days later offering $30 seats! So I got our 3 tickets and ended up getting us seats pretty close to center in the first row of the balcony!

We saw the show this past week and it was so much fun! Our seats were pretty amazing and I’m glad that we were able to get in the balcony because it was probably better to see the show from up there instead of in the back of the orchestra.

The Illusionists

The show was broken up by magician and each person would do an illusion or two before the next magician came out (each magician did a couple of different segments). It was a little like seeing a bunch of little shows and even though it didn’t quite flow together it was still great. And a couple of the magicians also did some comedy so it became like a mix of standup and magic.

I’ve seen a lot of behind the scenes magician specials so I do know how some of the illusions are done. But that didn’t ruin any of the fun for me. And there were plenty of illusions that I have no clue how they were done and they shocked me! I wish that I could watch videos of them because I want to see them over and over again!

While I do feel like it was a really fun show and I’d encourage people to get tickets, there were a couple of things that weren’t so fabulous. The sound quality was pretty off and some of the music was so loud that we were starting to get headaches. Also, it was very showy and lots of parts of the show could have sped up to make it more fun (we didn’t need to spend several minutes watching a magician prepare for one trick with no music or other things happening). And some of the jokes were a bit off to me, but that could be just my sensitivities. If we had paid the full price of tickets for where we sat, I might be a bit more picky. But for $30 seats it was a great evening out!

This show really did make me want to get to the Magic Castle again soon. The magic there is so amazing because you are up close to the performers and it’s very toned down and basic. They don’t have music, effects, and a huge stage to hide behind or to hide what they are doing. Everything is right in front of you and you feel very connected to the show. That wasn’t the case with “The Illusionists” since we weren’t in the areas where they got volunteers and had to watch a lot of stuff on a screen since we couldn’t see from that far away without it. But that’s what happens when you go to see a magic show in a large venue.

I don’t know if there are any additional shows coming up that I’ll be buying tickets for outside of my Black Friday deal this season or my season tickets next season. I think I’ve got tickets for everything that I want and unless someone offers me free tickets I don’t know if I’ll have the money for it. But I’m getting to see a lot right now and I’m so grateful to have entertainment like this close enough to my house and within my budget!

Mamma Mia (or The Best Black Friday Deal Ever!)

I loved having season tickets for the Pantages last year and getting to see a bunch of amazing musicals. It was the best thing I splurged on and it brought me so much happiness. But when the season for this year was announced, I couldn’t justify splurging on the full season when there were only a few shows I really wanted to see. So I figured that I’d try to catch a show or two if I found a good deal.

Then, right before Thanksgiving I got an email from Pantages saying that they were running a Black Friday deal! You could get tickets for 4 shows on Tuesdays for $99! That’s basically $25 a show (it’s usually about $100 per show on average). I emailed my friend Dani about it and asked if she wanted to get 4 shows. I’m so glad that not only did she say yes, but she said that she could do the ticket order (the deal started at midnight and I knew I’d be at a movie with my cousin then).

We got the 4 shows we wanted and Dani said that she just chose to have the best seats available. When I took a look at our order, I realized that we were almost always exactly centered in the theater and only a few rows farther back than our season tickets had been! That’s pretty amazing and I know that we scored on that deal.

Our first show of 4 was this week and it was Mamma Mia. I’ve seen the movie before and had enjoyed the plot and the music. So I was pretty happy that we were going to see the musical. Two of our other friends, Sarah and Ali, got tickets for that show (they didn’t want to do the 4 show deal) so we all got a quick dinner at the W Hotel (across the street from the theater) before it was showtime.

I know that Sarah and Ali tried to get tickets near us, but it wasn’t possible. So we split up in the lobby (Ali and Sarah went to the balcony and Dani and I went to the orchestra), but it was ok with us that we weren’t sitting together. We were all just glad that we were getting to see the show!

Mamma Mia

I really enjoyed the show! It was similar to the movie, but there were a couple of songs that weren’t in the movie or were in different places in the play. It was fun and you could tell that the actors were having a great time performing! There was no way you couldn’t smile during the show (and in Dani’s case, there was no way not to sing and dance by the end of the show).

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I told my parents about it and they decided to get tickets for when the show will be touring near them this summer! My parents don’t go to a lot of musicals, but they seem to have similar tastes for shows that I do. So I have a good feeling that they will love it (and I helped them find some really great seats!).

Of our 4 shows that we got in our Black Friday deal, the rest of them are in the summer so we’ve got a few months before the next one (although there is one show not in our deal that I might try to see if I can find a random deal for). But I’m ok waiting because I will have a lot of musicals to see this year and next year!

On Tuesday morning the Pantages announced their 2016-2017 season and it looks incredible! As soon as I saw it, I checked to see if Dani wanted to get season tickets. I knew I’d be seeing her that night for Mamma Mia, but I wanted to arrange our season tickets ASAP. She did, and same with a few other friends (including my Disneyland buddy June!). So yesterday we got our season tickets arranged for the season and we will be seeing 7 shows between November this year and August next year! We couldn’t get the exact seats that we wanted, but we got 6th and 7th row seats off to the side and we have the opportunity to move them in another month or two if we’d like.

It is another splurge and I’m taking money from what I’ve been saving to get a new computer to afford it. But it’s so worth it to me. I said that I want to go on more adventures with my friends, and going to shows are always adventures!

Broadway Sings Disney (or A Fun Adventure With An Awesome Friend)

When I set my 2016 goals and said that I wanted to have more fun with my friends, I had no clue that I would start of the new year with a really awesome friend hangout. But that’s exactly what happened.

My friend Dani asked me if I wanted to join her for this random show that she found discount tickets for online. She didn’t tell me too much about the show, but I said yes right away! I figured that no matter what it was, it could be super awesome and the best idea ever or super weird and would still be a fun story to share. She sent me more information about it and it was Broadway Sings Disney at Rockwell Table and Stage. Even after learning more about the event, there wasn’t much information about it online. I knew it would be singers singing Disney songs and that there was dinner at the venue, but that’s pretty much all Dani and I knew before getting to the show. But we both went into the show very excited to see who would be performing and what the show would be like.

Once we arrived, we got seated at a table right next to the stage. It was pretty funny because I had looked at the seating chart online ahead of time and said that it would be really awesome if we sat right next to the stage. But I assumed that since we had discounted tickets we’d have bad seats. We were pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t the case and loved being right next to the action (even though sometimes we were only seeing the profile or back of a performer).

Broadway Sings Disney

We were given menus and a song list of what would be sung that night and got some food ordered right away. We wanted to make sure that once the show started, we weren’t trying to flag down our waiter or trying to eat and watch the show at the same time.

Menu and Song List

Since there was a 2 item minimum for the show, Dani and I split 2 appetizers and we each got an entree.  We split some truffle fries and veggies with dip and we each got a steak salad for dinner.

Food Dinner

The food was really good, but the venue was pretty dark so it was a bit weird to eat. When I was eating my steak salad, I never knew if I had a piece of steak or lettuce on my fork until I ate it. It made the meal a bit of a mystery. Everything had the same blue tint to it due to the lighting and nothing really looked anything other than blue. While that made it odd to eat, it didn’t affect the taste and I was glad that a venue that has a food or drink minimum didn’t have bad food.

The show was really fun! All the singers were really good and almost everyone sounded like they could have come out of a Disney cartoon or movie. I pretty much knew every song (the benefits of being a big Disney person!) and I enjoyed every performance that each singer did. Some performers kept things very simple and some performers made it seem like a scene out of a musical. But the thing they all shared was being so enthusiastic about getting to perform, and I loved that!

The show wasn’t very long, but that was a good thing because I had to be up early the next morning. There are 2 more Broadway Sings Disney shows, and each show is with different performers. I’m hoping that I can maybe make it out to one more, but if I can’t this time I’m hoping to make it the next time they do the series.

I’m so grateful that Dani invited me to come to this show with her. I doubt I would have discovered it on my own. I had never heard of this venue before this show and I already know that I want to go see some of the other shows they have coming up there. This was a great way to start of my 2016 adventures with my friends and I can’t wait to see what the next adventure will be!

Watching Musicals At Home (or Getting Antsy To Get Back To NYC)

This past Sunday was the Tony Awards. While I’ve dreamed of winning pretty much every type of acting award, I’ve never dreamed of winning a Tony. I know that they have acting awards for plays, but in my head the Tonys are for musicals. And since I’m tone-deaf, I’m never going to win an award that involves singing.

But I love watching the Tony Awards. Prior to my NYC trip last year and getting this season’s tickets for Pantages, the Tonys were almost my only exposure to musicals. I love watching the presentations that each of the best musical nominees do on the show. And I’d always chose which shows I’d want to see when they came to LA (even though I never went to see them).

This year, I watched the Tonys at home alone. There were some funny moments (like this matchy-matchy dress moment).

2015 Tonys

And with any awards show, I loved watching the speeches. Especially from people who won for the very first time (some of whom won on their Broadway debut).

And of course, I watched (and re-watched) the performances several times.

I texted my sister-in-law to joke that I was watching the Tonys to pick out what musicals we should see when we get back to New York. But even though I said that as a joke, now I’m really hoping that we can make that a reality soon.

My brother and sister-in-law are moving soon. And my sister-in-law hasn’t really been able to job hunt from a different city. So she has no idea what her job situation will be like in the near future. We really can’t trip plan without knowing that.

And with my jobs now, I’m not too sure about my availability to go out of town. For my newest job, I’m sure it would be fine. I could probably even get work done on vacation without too many issues. But for my box office job, I have no idea how I can take a trip. I’d probably just have to take time off without pay (and hope that my boss is ok with that). I never asked about that when I interviewed for the job since my focus was on getting a job more than anything. But they have been flexible with me taking occasional time off for auditions as well as having time off for spending time with my family after my grandpa’s death. So I’m sure I could figure out how to take a trip.

I haven’t really thought about how I’d take a trip with my jobs, but now that I’ve watched the Tonys and have seen performances from several musicals that I really want to see; I really want to get back to New York at some point this year.

Hopefully I can figure out how to save up the money and get the time off (without losing too much of my paycheck) in the near future so my sister-in-law and I can start planning this! We said that we wanted to make our NYC trip an annual tradition and we’ve got until December to make that a reality.

Almost The End Of The Musical Season (or Watching An Audience Fall In Love With An Actor)

I had my second to last show of the season at the Pantages this past weekend. The group that I have gone with this season has looked at the offerings next season and we’ve decided not to buy the entire season for 2015-2016. There are a couple of shows that I’d like to see, but it will be more cost-effective for me to just get the few I want instead of all 7.

I am sad that this season is wrapping up and I won’t have as many shows to see this coming season, but I’m also super grateful that I splurged and did a season this year. It was totally worth it and I’ve had a great time.

The show this past weekend was “Motown”. I knew a bit about the show and that it was going to be filled with musical numbers. So when we got to the theater, I was pretty excited.

Motown

I know that some of the reviews for this show aren’t too great. The guy who it is about wrote the musical, so it really does portray him in the best light possible (even if that might not be the truth). And there’s not a ton of plot in the story.

But the songs were worth it! There were a handful of songs that were written for the musical, but there were over 40 songs that were songs that were done by Motown Records and even I knew pretty much all of them.

The audience was singing along most of the time (and there were a couple of people who were a bit obnoxious about it but I think that they might have been drunk). The show was more of a concert feel than a musical to me.

But the most magical moment came in the second act. There’s one young actor who plays Berry Gordy, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson as a kid. In the first act he played Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder. And while he was cute and a good actor, it was nothing compared to the second act.

That’s when he played young Michael Jackson and his true talent shined. This kid (Nathaniel Cullors) was magnificent! When he started to sing as Michael Jackson, you could hear almost the entire audience gasp in wonder at the voice he had. A few moments into the song everyone was rooting for him as a performer and ready to give him a standing ovation.

After his first song, I thought that maybe that was the end of seeing young Michael Jackson, but we got to see (and hear) him again. And again, the audience ate it up.

As an audience member, it was such a fun moment to watch. But as an actor, it was truly breathtaking and special to watch an entire audience fall in love with an actor. You could feel the energy in the room and it was giving me goosebumps.

That’s a moment that as an actor you dream to have happen to you. To witness it happen for another actor was almost better.

After the show ended, we all agreed in the group that that kid really stole the show and was one of the most talented performers in the show. And the cast in general was the most talent cast vocally of any of the shows that we have seen. So many cast members played 3 or 4 incredible real people and none of them seemed to be pretending to be them, they just were them.

I highly recommend everyone going to see “Motown”. I don’t believe that it got the praise it deserved on Broadway because it is not really a traditional musical. But as an entertaining show, it was one of the best I’ve seen.

Seeing “Pippin” (or Another Evening At The Pantages)

This past weekend was the second show for my season tickets at The Pantages. The first 3 shows are pretty close together, so I’m getting my fill of musicals in.

This time, we saw “Pippin”, which I’ve never seen before. My only experience with the show was seeing the performance on the Tony Awards when it was nominated for Best Revival Of A Musical. I knew very little about the show. Pretty much, all I knew was that there were circus acts and acrobatics (I saw that on the Tony Awards).

I took the light rail and subway to get to the show again. And this time, my friend Dani (who is also in the group of us who got season tickets) joined me. We had a bit of confusion when transferring to the subway due to trains sharing tracks, but we made it to the theater with plenty of time to spare.

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The show was really great! The performances were amazing and I loved the circus and acrobatic tricks! There were several cast members who had been in the Broadway cast and that was exciting to see.

My only critique of the show was I felt like the second act was a little random and rushed, but that did not affect how much I enjoyed the show too much.

Dani and I got back on to the subway for the ride home and had yet another adventure with the subways sharing tracks. It turns out that due to construction, the trains going both directions had to share a track at the station we were at. It was a little confusing, but we managed (unlike some other people on the train who kept insisting we were wrong and only realized that we were right when the next station was announced).

Even with the confusion, Dani and I made it back to the Culver City station quickly and both got to our cars safely.

My next show is coming up in less than 3 weeks (like I said, the first few shows are back to back). That time, Dani won’t be attending the show with us so I’m debating about if I want to take the subway there. I know that it’s pretty safe, but I always feel safer when I’m with someone else. I’m fine taking the subway and light rail alone in the day time, but when I’m riding at night I’d rather have a buddy.

I’ve still got some time to plan out how I will be getting to the next show. But for now, I’m just so grateful that I get to see so many shows so close to me! I know that my sister-in-law and I are planning another trip to New York for next year, and this is holding me over until then.

Back To LA (or Reflections On The NYC Trip)

On Sunday last week, Krystle and I headed to the airport to get flights back to LA (for me) and San Francisco (for her). We had pretty early flights, so we were up at 5am that day. I was exhausted, but still didn’t sleep much on the flight.

I still can’t believe that this trip is over! Even though we only planned it for a few months, it seemed like we had been looking forward to it for forever!

On our last day in NYC, Krystle and I chatted about what we were able to check off our NYC checklists and what we need to do the next time we go (and we’ve already decided that this trip will be a somewhat regular adventure).

I’m so happy that we got to see as many shows as we did. We thought at first that 4 shows in 4 days was a bit ambitious, but it ended up being perfect! And we saw a good variety of shows (2 family friendly and 2 adult only).

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There were other shows that I would love to have seen, but I also just got a season at The Pantages (the Los Angeles theater that does Broadway tours) and most of the other shows I would have wanted to see are those that are in my season. But I’ve already said that if “Heathers” moves to Broadway, I will be back to see it again.

We didn’t really get to go into Central Park, and I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before (I don’t remember doing it, but maybe when I was little we went). Also, there are so many more museums that I want to see, but those are expensive and time-consuming. And money and time were a bit tight on this trip.

And there are also a lot of restaurants that were on my wish list that we didn’t make it to. But again, we can only go to so many dinners.

But we did manage to take the subway system for most of the trip, and we didn’t really get too lost. Sometimes we were confused what direction we needed to walk once we got out of the station, but that’s not too bad. Fortunately, we had both phone apps and a good paper map to use that helped us so much in our navigation. I also successfully hailed several cabs (I think that’s kind of awesome).

And finally, something that my mom said before we went on the trip was that she hoped that this trip would bring Krystle and I closer together. We’ve only seen each other a handful of times, and pretty much never just the two of us. So this was a real bonding experience. We got along super well (even in our really tiny hotel room that we shared) and we have planned to do more trips in the future. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that Krystle is not just my sister-in-law, but also a good friend of mine as well now.

It was tough to get back to life after this trip. It really felt like something magical with all the shows and seeing several friends. But I did have to get back to reality quickly because this past week, I started a new day job! But more on that next week.

Frozen Hot Chocolate and Heathers (or The Last Full Day In NYC)

Our last full day in New York was this past Saturday. We started by taking the subway to our brunch location. We had reservations, but we got there before the restaurant opened! So to kill some time, we went to a little coffee house so Krystle could get a coffee.

While walking across the street to get coffee, a familiar logo was in front of me.

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I found a NYC SoulCycle! SoulCycle started in New York and they have a bunch of studios there, but we didn’t see one until the last day. We went inside to see what clothing they sold there (if they had a NY SoulCycle shirt I probably would have bought it) and because all SoulCycles use the same brand of candles, it really smelled like being home (who would have thought a workout place would be considered home to me). I gave my brother and Krystle gift cards to SoulCycle for Hanukkah this past year, and they haven’t had a chance to go yet. But hopefully since Krystle saw what one looks like inside, they’ll be more motivated to go soon!

After the SoulCycle and coffee detour, it was finally time for brunch. Krystle and I both got mimosas to celebrate our last breakfast on the trip.

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It was sad to think our trip was coming to an end, but we still had a full day to do. After brunch, we got onto the subway and checked out Central Park.

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We didn’t really get to walk around (next trip we will) because we had a mission to go to Bergdorf Goodman. Krystle is a buyer for the department store Gumps, and Bergdorf is the east coast equivalent to Gumps. So we went inside to see what they had for sale.

After looking at lots of expensive things, we continued our “out of our price range” shopping on Fifth Ave. and a stop at one of the biggest jewelry stores I’ve ever been to.

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This particular Tiffany is 6 floors! We only explored 2 floors before we headed back out to the next part of our day.

We were meeting one of Krystle’s college friends at Serendipity, which is famous for their frozen hot chocolate. They don’t take reservations unless you are getting lunch or dinner, so we had a little over an hour wait outside waiting for our name to be called.

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But at least Saturday was a much warmer day so it wasn’t too bad waiting outside. And the wait was totally worth it!

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I got the peanut butter frozen hot chocolate, Krystle got the salted caramel frozen hot chocolate, and her friend got the original frozen hot chocolate. They were so delicious and I figured all the walking around and stairs going in and out of the subway would work off the calories of the treat (side note, even with all the crazy eating on this trip, I managed to lose a pound).

After our treat, we said goodbye to Krystle’s friend and headed back into the subway to go back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and the show that evening.

I was beyond excited for the show that night. It was our only off-Broadway show, but it was perfect because my friend AJ was in it! We saw “Heathers”. Technically it was still in previews, but that’s ok. AJ lived in LA until recently. He moved to NYC to be in the show (he was also in the LA version of the show).

As soon as we got to the theater, I was so giddy to see a dear friend doing what he loves to do.

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And seeing a familiar face in my Playbill was one of the coolest things of the entire trip!

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“Heathers” was incredible! I think it was the best show that we saw this entire trip! The set and costumes weren’t as grand as the Broadway shows that we saw, but the music and story was so much better. I think that if this show moves to Broadway (which it totally should), it will be a serious contender for the Tonys!

After the show, we met up with AJ near the stage door, where he was busy signing autographs.

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While we were waiting for AJ to finish up with his fans, my phone rang. I saw that it was my friend Alex, who we saw the night before. When I answered the phone, nobody was there, so Krystle and I figured it must have been a butt dial. But just then, Alex came around the corner! She was walking past the theater and figured that we would probably be there. It was so cool to get to see her again really quickly, and to introduce her to AJ. It was one of those really cool moments that made the trip so perfect.

After AJ was done with autographs, we went around to the other side of the theater to get a picture together in front of the poster for the show.

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And no, AJ doesn’t have a giant hand. I didn’t notice that particular optical illusion in the photo until someone else pointed it out to me.

After the photo, a group of us which included AJ’s girlfriend and a listener of the podcast I work for (and AJ co-hosts) headed a few blocks away for a drink at a bar.

There was nothing super special about the bar. It was just a good hangout with friends. It was so normal (and not touristy) and the perfect way to end the evening.

Before we knew it, it was midnight and Krystle and I had to get up around 5am the next morning to catch our flights. It sucked to say goodbye to AJ, because if “Heathers” is as successful as I think it will be, it could be a long time before I get to see him again. But it gives me motivation to visit New York again (and to see Alex again as well).

As Krystle and I headed back to the hotel in a cab, she and I both said how this evening really was the perfect ending to the trip. It sucked that it ended so quickly, but I don’t think we could have asked for a better NYC adventure.