Adapted and updated with info for 2015
I have a lot of love for Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. If you’ve managed to escape me talking too much about my five-year run as a child star in a local production back home—well, feel free to ask me about it. I might even sing for you. But for now I’ll just say, for those five years the time between Halloween and Christmas was Christmas Carol season for me, and in the years since I’ve had to feed my love for the story other ways. Watching A Muppets’ Christmas Carol is one of my favorites (even if it leaves out my beloved Fan, Scrooge’s little sister), but a few years back I experienced a new favorite: the marathon reading of A Christmas Carol at Housing Works’s bookstore café.
You always remember your first time, isn’t that the phrase? I’ll never forget the first time I saw Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele having fake sex at the end of act one of Spring Awakening in January 2007. It was the first Broadway show one of my best friends and I saw together. (Most recently we saw Hamilton at the Public together.) She was a similarly theater-obsessed college freshman who had suggested we get tickets to see this new show that would go on to win the Tony that spring.
Fast forward eight plus years and there’s a revival of Spring Awakening on Broadway for a limited engagement. Clearly I needed to go. And just as clearly I should take my best friend when she comes later this month for five days of theater and hangout time. But said best friend was extremely understanding when I got an email (man, signing up for an email list paid off!) about discounted tickets. We’re still hoping to go when she’s here – because it’s so good, I’d see it again.
I put up my Christmas tree and lights before I left for Thanksgiving. I also straightened up my apartment and made my bed, so when I got back on Sunday, it felt like my apartment was welcoming me home. Cheesy, but exactly the feeling I was going for when I hung ornaments on the fake tree I’ve toted through two dorms and three apartments. And looking at my decorations also gives me a bit of the feeling I had when I stumbled on the holiday windows at Lord & Taylor a couple weeks ago.
My friends and I talk a lot about dating. (This may seem like a non sequitur, but bear with me.) Of course we do – we’re twenty-somethings and some of us live in New York, a city acknowledged by most as an impossible place to date. But recently a friend and I were talking about what makes a conversation flow, once you’ve gotten past normal dating awkwardness. I always bring up passion for your topic as a key factor – if you’re excited about it and can talk about it intelligently, I’ll probably be interested in what you’re saying. This time, though, we talked about liking people who have a sense of wonder – that feeling you get when you see a really gorgeous sunset over the river, or hear a piece of music that makes your heart hurt a little in the best way.
So a couple weeks ago my friend and I were in the mood to see a show – we didn’t really care which show, as long as it was pretty cheap. We started talking about it on Wednesday night and bought our tickets on Thursday night… for Friday night. Spontaneous planning is not often my thing, but it worked this time: We used my HIPTIX Gold membership with Roundabout Theatre Company to get us two $25 floor seats to the Harold Pinter play, Old Times.
If you glanced back up at the subject for this post you have already realized that this is not a review for that play, because my two-line review would be, “Wow, that play was really weird – I’m glad it was only 65 minutes long. I still have no idea what actually happened.” So instead of trying to explain this play to you, I want to tell you about the gorgeous place my friend suggested we go afterward, where we spent a solid hour and a half discussing the play and trying to decide what it was about: Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant.
Ballad Unto…, Photo by Bill Hebert / Courtesy of Dance Affiliates
Last week I shared a Q&A with Desmond Richardson, co-founder and partner for Complexions, a contemporary ballet company. On Tuesday night, I got to see Desmond and the company perform a wonderfully varied program. My prior exposure to contemporary (as opposed to classical) ballet was mostly limited to repeated viewings of the movie Center Stage, so this was a new experience for me, and I loved it.
I was offered two press tickets and so was able to bring one of my friends, who dances here in the city, with me to the performance, and it was wonderful to have someone knowledgeable to talk to about the pieces during the two intermissions. The performance ran about two-and-a-quarter hours, and the musical contrast between the various pieces kept everything moving.
Desmond Richardson / Photo by Julieta Cervantes
I’m so excited to have been offered press tickets to attend the NYC 2015-2016 season opening night performance for Complexions, the renowned contemporary ballet company. Complexions will be performing three different programs at the Joyce Theater from November 17 through November 29 (tickets are available here). Program A, which I will get to see, includes three NYC premieres (Strum, set to songs by Metallica, Ballad Unto …, which features music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Cryin’ to Cry Out Loud, which draws on the music of renowned jazz singer Jimmy Scott), a world premiere (Imprint/Maya, a new work that pays tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou), and a restaging of a piece called Approximate Sonata.
I was given the opportunity to ask Desmond Richardson, co-founder and partner for Complexions, a few questions. In addition to these roles, Desmond will also be performing Imprint/Maya, a solo piece created for him.