Tag: New York

NYC Trip Day 4: Rainy Goodbye

Quicker than it probably should have the final day of my trip came on Saturday and while I was sad to see it all come to an end I had the beginnings of a wicked virus, my feet hurt and I was tired.  Ready to come home you might say.

But fortunately we still had Saturday to enjoy and it ended up being a rainy day in the city. We decided to do a bus tour because we figured that would be better than walking in the rain and I wanted to see the 9/11 memorial before I left.

meg bus
Megan on the bus

 

Here I am on the bus
Here I am on the bus

The bus was fun but I wish it had been more of a tour.  There really wasn’t much of one so it was kind of like a wet taxi ride and then to my great annoyance they dropped us off like 8 blocks from the 9/11 Memorial.  It was the 9/11 stop and we had to walk forever and again nowhere in NYC has benches to rest. There is also construction at the site and it is very confusing where to enter and go but eventually we found it and I was able to stop for a moment and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that horrible day.

9-11 memorialWe didn’t have time to go to the museum but at least we were ale to see the Memorial and then we made it back to the bus and finished the tour.  After a quick lunch my shuttle picked me up and it was bye bye New York!

nycI was exhausted and have been sick all week but it was worth it.  It was a great experience to take a risk, do something different and unexpected, a little bit unplanned which is hard for me.  Everyone at the RHAP Survivor event couldn’t have been nicer and I’m so grateful to all of them.

I am also grateful to my sister for coming up and spending the time with me at my pace.  It is rare I have anyone who is fine walking with me and waiting with me and occasionally listening to me moan and groan over my feet.  She was there just to spend time with me and that was really touching. I’m someone who isn’t often doted upon and it meant a lot to me that she did that.

Overall it was a great trip.  Highlights were the RHAP event, my trip to Soho Birchbox and video, American in Paris and the yummy food. Thanks New York! Hope I see you again soon!

NYC Trip Day 3: An American in Paris

Day 3 of my New York trip was pretty simple. I had a rough time getting to sleep the night before because my cold was coming on strong and I normally have a hard time sleeping. Well, I slept in ridiculously late which Megan was kind enough to let me do.

Then we enjoyed a leisurely walk down the Manhattan streets.  It wasn’t too cold during our trip but it could be quite windy which made it feel colder. Given the winter they’ve had we certainly brought some good luck with us because at least it wasn’t snowy and freezing. P1050863 My favorite thing in New York is all the flower stores.  They are so beautiful and I love how they have different than just the ordinary boring flowers I can get in the suburbs and at low cost.

flowers

We then had delicious New York bagels! Nothing quite like them and we talked about books and movies and had a lovely time.

2015-03-13 13.00.05 Megan had an appointment with her editor that afternoon and I rested at the hotel.  My only regret on the hotel is that it didn’t have a hottub or pool.  That would have been very nice especially on my poor feet which got the beginnings of an ingrown toenail I had to work on.  Ouch!

toeLater that we went to an Italian restaurant that was reasonably priced and yummy.  I got chicken Parmesan and Megan got gnochi.

italianThe big event of the day was going to Times Square

2015-03-13 19.30.40 2015-03-13 19.32.54 2015-03-13 19.33.00And seeing the opening night premiere of the new Broadway musical An American in Paris!

an-american-in-paris-large-643x441It was an amazing show full of incredible Gershwin music. The story is minimal and sometimes it was a little hard to tell the actors from each other but I really enjoyed it.

an american in paris3 An American In Paris an american in paris2It’s probably the most dance heavy Broadway show I’ve ever seen.  Just like in the old Gene Kelly/Leslie Caron movie there are long stretches without any dialogue and just dance.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on dance but I really enjoyed watching it.  To me it seemed exceptional with choreography that really popped.

The sets were minimal but effective and the costuming was simple but it all worked.  There is also a very small cast with only 6 leads and a few ensemble performers but it had a big feel.  I think the music is so grand that it can hardly help but feel big.

At first I was worried because our balcony seats were so steep looking onto the stage below but it actually worked out great and we could see everything just fine.

2015-03-13 20.01.38 2015-03-13 19.57.19 So that was our Day 3.  It was a lot of fun and featured a show I won’t soon forget. Sometimes the simple days are the most fun!

NY Trip Day 2: Empire Falls

birchbox2So day 2 started on the late side as I had a cold coming on and had done a 48 hour marathon the previous 2 nights.  Once I was up I took uber cars over to Soho and the Birchbox Soho store.  I wanted to make the trek out to the store because I had heard about their ‘build your own box’ section and wanted to feature it on my channel.  I didn’t even know if they would let me film in their store but when I got there they couldn’t have been more accommodating.  They filmed segments for me and even gave me a free $300 value Vanity Fair special box! I’m thrilled with how the video turned out:

(Btw, if you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel please do! I would really appreciate it)

After visiting the store and filming my video I went across the street to the Chobani Yogurt Shop and it was so yummy!  It was the best food I had in New York City.

chobaniI’m excited to try and recreate both of the yogurts I had.  It was savory on one side (Red Pepper, Harissa,  Feta, Mint, with Olive oil and chips to dip it in) and sweet on the other (Pistachio, Chocolate, sliced oranges, mint and honey).

Just the combination of flavors and textures was so delicious.  I can’t wait to recreate it.  A whole new world of yogurt!

After brunch I headed home to meet up with my sister Megan who took the train up from DC.  It was so nice of her to come up and spend some time with me.

flowers selfie We had a delicious lunch of the biggest salad I’ve ever eaten and then decided to go to the Empire State Building for the evening activity.  It was fun but a bit of a letdown.  The lines were so long and just to get to the 86th floor cost $32.  My feet hurt so bad by the time we got to the top and it was so hot in the waiting areas that it wasn’t my favorite.  I also hit my lip with my camera going through security which ended up bleeding more than you’d think!  Probably the only person to injure herself in line for Empire State Building.

You can see the cut above my upper lip.
You can see the cut above my upper lip.

That kind of standing and walking is really hard for me now and if I’m looking for what is ‘fun’ it will always be at the bottom of the list.  And vacations are supposed to be fun right?  But it was nice to spend the time with Megan and catch up and the view was pretty great.

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One thing I noticed about all of NYC is there are very few benches. Even by most of the bus stops there is nowhere to sit and rest. This was a major bummer to me but I guess it is the reason why it is the ‘city that never sleeps!’. No benches to sleep on!

So I finished day 2 having a good time but a little frustrated and sore at the same time. Birchbox Soho, Megan and the yogurt made it all worth it!!

NY Trip Day 1: RHAP Know it Alls 2

Well, I’m back from New York and I’m afraid I’m sick as a dog but I will try to get up some posts about my recent trip to New York City!  I had a blast cold, sore feet and all!

It started Tuesday night with a red eye flight starting at 11:30 western time and getting in at 6 am eastern time.

bye slc

The flight was ok.  I was able to get an upgrade and fly first class both ways which makes the world of difference (I don’t know how I’m going to go back to wedged in coach!).  I also had my cool sky ready kit with all you need.  I highly recommend getting one when you travel.

skyreadyI slept a little bit on the plane but not much and certainly not deeply.  But I did finish our book club book called Wonder which I thought was ok (I know other people love it but I thought it was kind of corny and didn’t love all the narrators but it was fine).  Eventually we landed in New York and I was excited to get going…

Well, it started out kind of rough with me losing my wallet.  I’m not sure what happened but my best guess is when I went through security they rearranged my stuff in different bins and I must have left it there.  Luckily my ID and Amex were in my backpack or it would have been a disaster. So I called the 2 cards I had in the wallet and got them cancelled when I got to the airport.  My phone was running out of juice so I had to buy a charger and find a corner to plug it in and call the companies and try to find out where the shuttle pick up was.  It was extremely confusing because the signs said ‘airport shuttle’ take the air train to Fredrick Circle or something like that.  I went all the way to the other side of the airport and it turned out it was the spot for the hotel shuttles not the type that I got.  I was so tired with no sleep and frustrated at my wallet but finally I got to the shuttle.

Unfortunately the driver was a madman and was zooming through alleys and around town and I was so close to throwing up.  I opened the window to get some air but it was big city air and I was beginning to feel like Homer in New York City vs Homer Simpson.  The city was out to get me!

thecityofnewyorkvs-homersimpson5_thumbA very tired weary creature I made it to the hotel and it was a nice affordable place called The Row in the Theater District of Manhattan.  My only regret is not getting a place with a pool/hot tub which would have been nice but it certainly filled the bill for my needs.  Once I got there I crashed for a few hours before the festivities started in the afternoon.

hotel
At the hotel

I also got breakfast ordered in and that was delicious.  Great thing about New York is you can have anything delivered.  That would be so nice.

Yummy breakfast delivered right to my hotel
Yummy breakfast delivered right to my hotel

Then around 4 I met up with the other Rob Has a Podcast (RHAP) patrons that were attending the event.  Here’s where it started to get fun.  We went to a bbq place ( I know bbq is not what you think of in NYC but it worked out) and it was so great visiting with everyone.

Here we are at the bbq place.  There were probably 40 of us!
Here we are at the bbq place. There were probably 40 of us!
brianne
Made a new friend in Brianne from Washington DC who is originally from Utah and also LDS

It kind of warmed my heart to meet such great people in something as random as a podcast gathering.  It can be easy to be cynical of the world and all the problems.  All you have to do is watch the news and it can feel like we are all going to Hell in a hurry.  But then you have moments like this where you see that there are lots of great people out there trying to live good lives and all it takes is something as silly as a podcast to bring you into a kinship with them.  The truth is we aren’t as different as we sometimes think and it was a nice reminder- especially with what a rough day I had getting there.

We then went to Gotham Comedy Club and got ready for the big live Survivor Know It All’s event.

know it allsThe club was different than I had imagined.  I thought it would be like a theater but it was more tables and chairs and they had us jammed packed in.  My only regret of the night is there wasn’t enough time to mingle and meet everyone.  I have friends I’ve gotten to know through the patron group who I wasn’t able to meet which was a bummer.  Next time it would be nice if it was more like a cultural hall kind of space where you could mix and mingle and get around to everyone but it was still really fun.

There was a 2 drink minimum so of course that means 2 shirley temples for me! (No alcohol in STs just in case you were wondering.

shirley templeThen we all watched the episode together and during the commercials Rob Cesternino (the Rob of Rob Has a Podcast) made different announcements and we got to see his wife Nicole, last seasons winner Natalie (and Miss Survivor winner) and Mr Survivor winner Spencer from Survivor Cagayan get his belt.

nicole rhap
Rob, Nicole and Stephen Fishbach
miss survivor
Natalie Anderson getting her Miss Survivor crown
belt
Spencer getting his Mr Survivor championship belt
rhap2
Stephen and Rob doing the podcast

Then Rob and Stephen did the podcast and some in the audience had a chance to ask questions.  There were a whole bunch of former (and one current) Survivors in the audience and they particpated in the podcast as well.

Once the podcast was over we had to clear out pretty quickly which was a little bit of a bummer but I got the chance to get some photos with some Survivors.

spencer
Here I am with Spencer and Brice from Survivor Cagayan (one of my favorite seasons)
rob
The man of the hour Rob. So fun to meet this great guy!
twinnies
Got to meet the twinnies! Nadiya and Natalie who were on the Amazing Race for 2 seasons and Survivor 29. Natalie was the winner of that season.

It ended up being a really fun night.  After the club wound down we went to another club but I was so tired at that point (I had been up for basically 48 hours!) and my new friend Karen helped get me an Uber ride (what a find that service was) and I went home.

So with all the junk in the 48 hours I had been through it was still worth it to have a unique experience, with some great people and I was glad I took the leap and went on the trip. Worth it!

When I got back to the hotel I got a stramboli which was actually one of the only unhealthy things I had during the trip.  Seriously it was one of my most healthy New York trips ever!  It was delicious!  Great way to end the day.

stramboliStay tuned to the blog for day 2, 3, and 4.  In the meantime ‘Achoo!’ I’ll be sneezing away as I recover from this illness.  Take care!

The Oddness of Modern Community

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on this blog I am going to be in New York next week! On Tuesday night I am taking the red eye to the Big Apple and going to be visiting until Saturday!  I am so excited because I love New York, get some time off work, see a show, visit with my sister and meet up with a bunch of friends I’ve never met before in real life.

Let me explain that last one for a second.  It’s an interesting situation.  You guys know I like the show Survivor.  I find it fascinating to look at the choices men and women make in the game and how every game is different with a different style of win (except for Sandra who won twice).  It’s now going into Season 30 and we have a very promising season with a lot of super fans after season 29 was a super snoozefest.

I would say I was a big fan at the beginning of Survivor and then picked it up again in spurts when there was a Utahn on the show and then with Heroes vs Villains I started watching again regularly.  I missed One World and Philippines but got the rest of the seasons but nobody I know is into the show, which is frustrating because it is the kind of show you want to talk about with others. 
In fact, I miss the social aspect of movies and TV.  In my 20s it was quite common for me to gather with friends and watch American Idol, Survivor, Lost or The Office.  Now that never happens.  Same thing for movies.  Most movies I go to by myself these days.

But around Season 26: Survivor Caramoan I stumbled on a podcast where former Survivors Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach were talking about the show each week and I loved it!  A lot of people don’t care for Caramoan but I love Dawn and Cochran and it was my introduction to the podcast and the Rob Has a Podcast Planet.

I think someone could enjoy Rob’s podcast even if they didn’t watch any of his shows.  Kind of like I enjoy Car Talk and I hate cars.  Rob’s just so personal, funny and engaging.  Plus, it was so much fun to get involved on the chatroom and talk about the episode.  Again, it reminded me of those times in college when media was a group experience.

Well last year Rob made a proposal to his little planet that if we would support his podcast for .25 cents an episode he would give a monthly patroncast where we could ask questions and set up a patron group to further discuss the show.  Wanting to support Rob I decided to become a patron and so I joined the facebook group at the same time.  I believe I was in the first 100 patrons in the group.  Now I don’t know how many hundreds of us there are but it is an active vibrant group with patrons from all around the world.

rhapWe even did a secret Santa last Christmas where I came up with a gift for a woman named Ana from Brazil and I received maple syrup and some bacon bowl makers from a patron named Rebekkah from Canada!  Each week we talk about whatever reality show is on (Big Brother, Amazing Race and Survivor being the big 3) but also scripted shows, movies and occasionally other silly news.  There have been a few cantankerous souls in the group and some people are too sensitive about spoilers IMO but for the most part its been great!

It sounds crazy but I really feel like it is a community of friends and it seems amazing to me something as silly as a podcast about reality TV could bring people together in a community.  It shows it really doesn’t take much to gather people together, especially in the world of social media and the internet.  But I think even in real interaction if you can find something you have in common with another person, it can be the silliest thing and yet that is enough to start a friendship and get people talking.  I’ve seen it a 100 times that a shared love of dolls, books, Judy Garland, musicals, whatever it is, it’s all it takes to get the ball rolling and create a relationship.  Get enough of those balls rolling and you have a community. Kind of amazing!

I’ve seen it with my open water swimming- how a love of the water and being outdoors brings people who have little to nothing else in common together and fast friendships are formed.  It seems to me sometimes all it takes is finding that one thing you have in common with someone, no matter how stupid, and you can make it work.

Anyway, when Rob announced they were doing a live podcast in New York on March 11th I initially dismissed it.  Who flies across the country after all to listen to a podcast?  That’s crazy talk!

But then the rest of the community kept talking about it and it sounded like so much fun. A few weeks ago I decided to look at plane flights just out of curiosity and to my surprise they weren’t half bad, and then I found a hotel which was reasonable and in a safe neighborhood.  The idea kept germinating and I finally said

“What the heck!  Why not! I’m a super predictable person and for once I’m going to do something strange and fly across the country for a podcast!”

So I got my ticket and it turns out my sister is going to come down the day after the show and we are going to spend a couple days in New York together!  It should be a ton of fun!

There is a side of me which still thinks I am nuts for going to a podcast and meeting strangers but another side is really excited (and nervous) to meet all these people I’ve interacted with over the last year.  I’ve heard their voice when they call into the podcast.  I’ve read their posts, sometimes surprisingly personal and I feel like they are friends.  I really do.

I just hope it is a good experience and people aren’t too rowdy.  I normally don’t go to places like bars or comedy clubs but it is 300 people and the girl I am sitting with doesn’t drink and there are other dry members of the group so it should be good.

I love being a part of this strange modern community so I hope it is a lot of fun.  At the very least it will be something new and different and that is a good thing.

(Plus I get to meet a whole bunch of famous Survivor contestants which I am very excited about!!!).

Have you ever been a part of a community that was unusual or strange?  Maybe played bunco with girlfriends for years or have a group of online chess players or something like that?  I’d love to hear about your experience.  Do you agree sometimes all it takes is finding the one thing you have in common with another person and a friendship can be built?

Well, I look forward to sharing the week with all of you.  Take care!

The Most Memorable Year of My Life 2001

I was watching dancing with the stars and the theme for tonight was ‘the most memorable year of your life’.  It made me think about my life.  What is the most memorable year in my life?  It’s very tough to answer, but 2 years came to mind first: 2001 and 2007.

Now this isn’t the best years that would be different because both 2001 and 2007 were rough.  I’ve talked a lot about 2007 on this blog so let me tell you a little bit about 2001. It was quite the ride.

2001-

When 2001 started I was flying high.

new york

I had just finished a dream trip with my Grandma and my dear cousin Lisa to New York City.  We had enjoyed the Rockettes, museums and lots of Broadway shows.  We were scolded by my Grandma for ordering too much pizza and we told her we’d eat it later but it smelled so we put it outside and the maids took it.  Knowing she would ask about it we spent the night coming up with outlandish stories about what happened to the pizza and laughing.  I saw my first New York at Christmas and saw the Rockefeller tree and the lights.  It was magic.

I would never have been prepared for what would happen.

Here I am in 2001 with my roommate:

2001

I made sure I signed up for 30 course hours a year while going to school, usually more and I had taken a lighter load in the fall so winter term I was taking 18 credits! They were also junior level rigorous courses. It was challenging but I pushed on through until the end of March.

Then I got the call and found out my beloved Grandpa had passed away.  It still makes me cry to write it.  In many ways it was a good thing but I still miss him so much.  He’s my hero and I would visit him every Sunday and he would tell me how beautiful I looked.  It meant a lot to me. And then he was gone and there isn’t a day 13 years later that I don’t wish I could talk to him and wonder what he’s thinking about my life. I hope he’s happy with me.

Nevin 1992Then just 2 weeks later, my Dad gave me a call and he was crying.  “Rachel” he said haltingly into the phone “Lisa passed away”.  I was stunned.  The bright spirit I’d been joking with over pizza months before and wizzing around New York was gone.

lisaI can’t remember when it occurred during the week but I had a few days before the flight to California for the funeral. I was devastated and felt guilty spending any time on my 18 credits of classes but finals were coming up and I knew Lisa and Grandpa would want me to study. But my head was hanging low, just getting through the day.

At this same time there was a girl named Emily who was in my ward that I had met, and had met my sister in Nauvoo study abroad.  She was an acquaintance but I knew she had been missing from church for a month or so.

2001-5
Emily, my sister Megan and me 2001

As I walked up to campus the weight of my problems heavy on my shoulders Emily saw me and she stopped and said ‘are you ok?’. I’ll never forget that.

It will doubt be no surprise if you are a frequent blog reader to hear I immediately burst into tears and told her my sad story (I’m a bit of an open book…).  I would learn she was grieving from her own deep loss of her father which is why she had been gone for so many weeks. (what a great example of looking to help others when you are the one hurting the most).

We talked and she helped me pack for the funeral.  I quickly learned she was not living with kind people and so out of the blue I said

“I know.  Why don’t you come live with Megan and me?”

I called Megan and she was like “Ok.  Why not” probably a little caught off guard but she then added “Why don’t we ask Julia?”  Julia is our cousin and Lisa’s sister who had come home from her mission to the funeral.  Julia agreed and after the funeral I found an apartment for the 4 of us and it was all settled.

2001-3
Julia, me, Megan, Emily

When I got home from the funeral I prayed Heavenly Father would help me with finals.  That I would find a way to not suffer from the weeks of absences both emotional and physical. I tried my best and you know what I got my best grades of all of college.  All As and Bs despite all that happened and taking the most credits.  Miracles do happen.

2001-4That year Julia met her Matthew and I would start my senior year.I remember staying inside a lot and just spending time the 4 of us.  It was a time of healing and love.

In June 2001 I retook Poli Sci 201 because I had gotten a lazy C as a sophmore because the teacher bored me but for some reason I knew I needed to be a TA for that class.  I was lucky to have Dr.  Matthew Holland as my teacher in his first class of students as a BYU Professor.

20141016_230644

20090306__holland_0306p1_200At the end of the course I called him for about 2 weeks leaving messages, begging to be his TA.  Finally he answered and said “so I hear you want to be one of my TA’s”.  My best buddy Raelene was also a TA and we had such a wonderful experience . He had such faith in me and never changed a grade I gave.  That did so much for my confidence.

This is Raelene and I in 2009 but we basically look the same…

113_0608In September my family received another shock with the passing of my cousin Riley.  He had made mistakes and had challenges with addiction so we weren’t super close but it was still very tragic.

rileyAnd then the whole world had tragedy with 9-11.  I’ll never forget driving up to campus and seeing everyone on their phones (which at the time seemed strange).  The whole aura was nervous, sad and unsure.

9-11I’ll never forget later that day President Bateman gave a speech and said:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Brothers and sisters, that is our message this morning. Fortunately this is only the second act of a three-act play. Even when death comes to those we love, we know what lies ahead. We know they are fine. It is those of us who are left behind who are sad. We know we will see them again, and we know we will be with them. When death comes to someone who has the peace of the Holy Ghost inside, it can be sweet, not bitter.

Do you understand why you young people hold the power of peace for the world in your hands? The world depends on you.

Many of you have just returned from missions; many of you will go next year. The world’s peace is on your shoulders because you have the only message that gives hope for eternal peace

Here’s the whole talk if you want to listen to it:

I took his admonition seriously.  I was finishing up school and after the year I had it was all to clear ‘this is the second act in a three-act play’.  I knew I would be responsible for making the world better.  For bringing peace in my own little circle, and I’ve striven to do that.  Even with anxiety, depression, frustration and disappointment I have tried my best to never forget the Lord and His goodness, to share His peace.

Because it is on our shoulders in 2001 and 2014.  I’m certainly glad not all my years are 2001’s (my family couldn’t take it!) but it made me the person I am today.  It was a refining time and a time for decisions on the type of person I was going to be.

And it certainly was memorable…

2001-2
Here I am with my friend Joni as she sets off for her mission.

 

The Theater, The Theater

“All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts” William Shakespeare in As You Like It

In this blog I have written about music, film, and books but have yet to add my thoughts on my favorite medium- live theater.  I have loved attending shows my whole life.  I am not sure how it got started but the earliest memory of the theater that  I have is when my dad took me to the Utah Shakespeare festival.  I believe I was 9 because it was before Anna was born (that’s brave to take a 9 year old to Shakespeare).  We saw Taming of the Shrew and a couple other plays and I enjoyed it so much that I saved the programs.  The first musical I recall going to was when my dance teacher in 5th grade played Anybody’s in a local production of West Side Story.  We went to see it and I remember crying along with Maria and loving the experience.  I also remember going to see Phantom of the Opera with my grandmother around the same time and that was like nothing I had ever experienced.  Amazing!

When I got to high school I embraced more theater by appearing in 5 school productions (A christmas medley, The Wiz, Up the Down Staircase, Bye Bye Birdie, Scenes from Shakespeare plays).  Each production boosted my confidence and made me feel alive.  I have often said that they should have recovering addicts participate in the theater. That may sound strange but it is so rewarding working together and then when the final applause comes it is one of the best highs I have ever known.  Of all of the productions I was in my favorite was The Wiz.  It’s fun music, lively sets and great cast made it memorable.

My favorite show that I have participated in- The Wiz
My favorite show that I have participated in- The Wiz

In addition to appearing in live plays I also took a huge step in high school.  In 9th grade I made my first trip to New York City, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  There are so many things I love about New York that I will have to do an entry solely devoted to the city.  However, the most incredible part of the Big Apple is Broadway! The first show I saw there was Les Miserables and it was beyond words.  I saw it again a couple of years ago and was reminded of how moving the story is and how beautiful the music.  When I went to see Les Mis I had seen the PBS concert many times and knew the soundtrack almost by heart and yet it did not disappoint. If anything it exceeded my expectations. In fact, it got me hooked on Broadway.  Since that first visit I have been 5 more times seeing the King and I, Music Man, Beauty and the Beast, the Rockettes, Light in the Piazza, Drowsy Chaperon, Lion King, Hairspray, 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, Les Mis (again) and Wicked.  There is no doubt but that I have been abundantly blessed.

Each time I see a live show I feel excited.  It’s hard to explain but even the comedies move me.  I love everything about a Broadway musical.  I love the songs, the voices, the melodies, the stories, the acting.  It’s magic!

One of the things I actually like about living in Utah is the great local live theater.  In Maryland there was one local theater in our town.  Aside from that you had to go to DC or Baltimore and there was no guarantee that it would be family friendly and it was expensive.  In Utah you get all 3- family friendly, inexpensive and high quality.  There have been productions I have seen at Hale Center Theater (Orem and West Valley) that are Broadway level quality.  I saw the Secret Garden there last year and it was fabulous.  The little girl playing Mary was outstanding.

It’s interesting because I know people that feel the theater is a rare luxury.  For me, I would give up a lot before giving up my chance to see great productions (or even mediocre ones.  I love it all!).  I used to have a little theater group that got season tickets to the shows at Hale and it was always fun.  Unfortunately, the other members of my group decided to give it up for financial reasons 😦  Hopefully I can form a new group and if any of you are interested call me. It adds so much to my life that I try to go as often as possible.

I suppose I must close this entry by saying my favorites.  It’s hard to say but when push comes to shove my favorite musical is probably still Les Mis.  It’s the only one I’ve seen on Broadway twice and still loved.  It’s just so moving.  I also loved Wicked and the Drowsy Chaperon is my favorite comedy.  Other favorites are My Fair Lady, Hairspray, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fiddler on the Roof, Little Woman, and West Side Story.  I love Sound of Music but actually more as a film than play (its a rare exception and Julie Andrews! Amazing).  As far as plays go my favorite is Death of a  Salesman for its penetrating character development.  I also love the Christmas Carol every holiday season and any Shakespeare.

My love for musical theater has also introduced me to great talent on the stage.  Some of the many voices that amaze me even on the soundtracks are Julie Andrews, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Sherie Renee Scott, Pattie Lupone, Bernadette Peters, Laura Benanti, Sutton Foster (who I saw in Chaperon- amazing), Beth Leavel (who I also saw in Chaperon), Brian Stokes Mitchell, Adam Pascal, Raul Esparza, Kristen Chenoweth, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Idina Menzel, Laura Bell Bundy, Heather Headley, Kellie O’hara (who I saw in Light in the Piazza- amazing), Victoria Clark (who I saw in Light in the Piazza) , Audra McDowell, Anna Gasteyer (who I saw in Wicked- incredible) and more.  They are such talent.  I highly recommend checking out their CDs at the library or on ITunes and enriching your life by their truly marvelous music.

If you get a chance go see live theater.  It may be expensive but look at it as a chance to support the arts in your community and it may teach you something, make you laugh or cause you to ponder.

And remember when it comes to the theater…

“Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?”

William Shakespeare As You Like It.

The best show ever
The best show ever