Noted in NYC

The Wiz at SummerStage

I went to see “The Wiz: A Celebration of Music and Dance” on Wednesday at SummerStage, and it was fabulous. If you haven’t read my interview with Danni Gee, the SummerStage curator for this production, check it out for a little more background.

From the minute my friend and I arrived at Rumsey Playfield we could tell that people were excited for this special event, a true celebration of the fortieth anniversary of The Wiz on Broadway. The show was hosted by choreographer George Faison and Phylicia Rashad, a munchkin from the original cast, and when George Faison came out on the stage to open the evening, he was greeted like a rock star, with cheers and a standing ovation. 

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“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at SummerStage

During the first weeks of my freshman year of college, my roommate turned on some music and I knew the words to every song but had no idea what the name of the band was. It was a weird feeling, right up until I put it together that this was one of the albums – or, probably, cassette tapes – my dad had played on repeat in his gray Oldsmobile when I was probably eight or nine. By the time I was a teenager he’d switched to classical in the car and I forgot about “Our House” and “Teach Your Children” and “Woodstock” and a whole bunch of other Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young songs that had imprinted on my brain at an impressionable age.

When my mom suggested last year that we go see the Carole King musical, “Beautiful”, I wasn’t too interested (sorry, Mom!) – at least until I saw Jessie Mueller and the cast perform “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” on the 2014 Tony Awards, with Carole King joining Jessie to sing “I Feel the Earth Move”. (I tried to find video but couldn’t – if someone tracks it down, please link in the comments!) I realized that these, too, were the songs of my childhood, the songs my mom loved and had played over and over, and that there was a very good chance I’d love this show that follows the  story of Carole King as a young woman in NYC writing music.

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Central Park memories

I don’t spend a lot of time in Central Park. It’s far away, there are tons of tourists, and it’s not always possible to find a quiet spot to enjoy nature, since, like I said, tons of tourists. Mostly when I want to hang out in a big park, I head to Prospect Park — closer and quieter.

But Central Park is the first thing I loved about New York City as a kid. I had at least one Central Park-themed calendar along the way, and on visits to the city I would always want to visit. It’s just so BIG and after walking around the city, it’s so green. I loved the boulders every kid ever wants to scramble around on, even before they showed up in an episode of Doctor Who. My only memory from when my dad ran the NYC marathon is of waiting in Central Park for him when it was all over.

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At the top of Central Park

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

I tend not to spend much time on weekends in Manhattan. It’s not that there aren’t great things to do in Manhattan – there are, and I’ve written about them. But when you spend a solid hour and a half commuting Monday through Friday, sometimes on the weekend, you need a break.

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Lazy writing, or, forgetting the details

Sometimes I write these posts in a bit of a hurry. Life is busy, time gets away from me, and it’s the night I’m supposed to post and I have nothing written yet. When I first started the blog (almost a year ago!), I had a few entries in the bank, which was an excellent plan. I also had a list of topics I might someday write about. The bank is now empty, and while there are a few items still on the list, mostly I come up with new topics on the spot. Often, now, they’re timely: I write about something I just did or just heard about.

 

But when rushing to get something written, sometimes I summarize instead of really taking time to show what an experience was like. So, without further ado, five details that got left out of recent blog posts!

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“Much Ado About Nothing” in Central Park

I’ve been to see a Public Theater production twice, and both times involved an element of luck. The first time was two years ago, when a friend of mine won a Twitter contest through her intimate knowledge of musical theater history and quick Twitter skills, and I was lucky enough to be her plus one to see “Into the Woods”.

The second time was last Friday.

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