The night they invented champagne

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!

That’s how my stomach felt last week, as I coordinated the final pieces to live out a lifelong dream – going backstage at a Broadway musical. My friend Tory, as she departed Boston for the bike paths of Bolivia, connected me with her famously awesome aunt, Tony winner Victoria Clark. I’d seen her before in Light in the Piazza and Cinderella- now, she was sharing the stage with Vanessa Hudgens in Gigi (new and improved, with slightly less creepiness than its film predecessor).

Some text messages with Vicki, a call with the company manager, and a ticket to the box office later, my sister and I were off to the theater for the Friday night show, just before this weekend’s Tony Awards.

The show itself was wonderful – we sat in row K, surrounded by other friends and family of various actors. We could see the small mics on people’s faces and had a perfect view of the beautiful stage, with its Eiffel Tower set and sweeping staircase. Victoria had as many songs as Gigi herself, and the cast worked perfectly together.  The plot was… faulty… but I have to assume it made more sense in Colette’s era than it does in 2015. And really, if props are flying across the stage on invisible wires, dancers are kicking in a chorus line, and big dance numbers end in goofy grins, I’m going to be a happy camper.

After the show, we went over to the stage door, around the crowd waiting to meet Vanessa and into the queue to enter backstage.  My name was on the list (spelled right!) and we waltzed right in… and right onto the stage itself.

Backstage at Gigi

It was everything I imagined and nothing like what I pictured.  It looked so much like the boxy, black backstage where I spent so many afternoons as a stage manager in high school. The view from the wings was just that – lights in your face, and red velvet seats staring back at you. Masking tape on shelves with props resting in their place.  But when you looked out… you were on Broadway. 

We met Vicki’s dresser, Vicky (!) who told us about the shows she’s worked on and how crazy Tony rehearsals were. Then the star herself came out and we got to chat and take a picture together.

Kat, Victoria Clark, Sally

Milling all over the stage were other actors and their loved ones. Corey Cott said hi to his friends, Vanessa Hudgens gabbed with some guests, and people posed on the steps (obviously, we had to join in).

On stage at Gigi

My friends had told me to look out for Max Clayton, a Manchester native making his Broadway debut here. I caught him in between other guests and he was so sweet, especially when he found out that we were from NH. We talked to his aunts, who were visiting, and it turns out that we know a bunch of theater people in common (small state FTW).

When we left, I tried to put on my sunglasses and sneak out the stage door where Vanessa was still signing autographs, but Kat and the security guard wouldn’t let me.  Next time…

Being on stage reminded me how similar every theater is, if it’s a place – and an idea – that you love.  And it also reminded me of the magical spark I get from theater – and why I really need to get out of the seats and back into it.

This whole experience was also a massive lesson in not giving up on your dreams.  I was 100% sure I was not going to accomplish this before I turned 30, and I’m so so so so so glad I was wrong, because it was incredible and it never would have happened if I hadn’t put in the effort.

Massive thanks to Victoria Clark for the friendly welcome backstage and to Tory for helping make this dream come true!

BRAVO!

Music Monday: Here in Neverland

My name is Sally, and I’m addicted to musicals.

There are some that have meant a lot to my life – like Grease, which brought me some of the best people in my life when we did it in high school, or the Sound of Music, which Grandma Sugarplum and I would sing together.

But I can only think of three performances where the show itself – the sheer musical content and drama – kicked me in the gut so hard that I watched with my hand over my mouth, willing time to slow down so I could stay in the moment forever.

The first: A Chorus Line – I felt like had just broken my ankle and lost my life’s dream.
The second: Wicked – in the front row in London, watching Idina Menzel – sorry, Adele Dazeem – take to the skies.
The third: Finding Neverland – here in Boston, with Jeremy Jordan killing it in the lead role. Be still, my heart. But seriously, I was never a fan of the movie but thought the show sounded fun and it blew me away, to the extent that I bought tickets for my family to see it first thing the next morning.

(Later, when I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London, I held it against this example of unexpected, amazing childhood fun and it came up sorely lacking.)

Don’t take it from me – go see Matthew Morrison take back this role on Broadway, and Laura Michelle Kelly continue her reign of glory as the leading lady. I know I’m going to see it again!

(Ok, the fourth was Spring Awakening – and the fifth was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat – and the sixth was Les Mis – and the seventh…)

Music Monday: The Fade Away

As I’ve gotten back into the world of online dating, I’ve had my share of awkward online interactions.  (No, if chat is turned off, I probably don’t want to chat, especially if we’re a 30% match.  And yes, I know I have a nice smile, I had braces twice and still wear my retainer diligently – but did you see that I also have an entire profile!?!  Also… hi.  Just hi.  Apparently that’s a thing now, along with profiles composed 100% of selfies.  C’mon Boston – you can do better!)

But nothing is more awkward than that moment where it’s just not quite clicking after a date or two – not so many that it’s worth a phone call or a drink to say goodbye, but just enough that you feel obligated to come up with excuses to not see someone again.

My work friends and wise sister recently convinced me to stop taking this wimpy option and actually tell someone that I wasn’t feeling a spark instead of fading away, and it was TOUGH.  Finding the words, and actually sending them, made me feel like a giant jerk.  But it also closed a door that I didn’t need to keep open (kind of like Tabless Thursday!).

In honor of the wimp’s way out, I bring you this gem that my mom made me watch this weekend as part of Garfunkel and Oates’s new tv show.  It’s perfect.  And I DO want to see it again.

Music Monday: rolling into the new year on a wrecking ball

Just because the year’s over doesn’t mean we’re safe from the earworms that defined our year – those dudes at the thrift shop, that chick on the wrecking ball, the techno beats that wake us up and get us rocking.  Having a Spotify account this year made me so much more hip as I could listen to these songs as they came out.  What will 2014 hold?  Dare I predict… a lot of Beyonce?

 

Music Monday: When I’m Gone

This is my latest jam – for sunny mornings, rainy afternoons, days when I’m missing camp and our own game of cups (ours involves passing it down the line at increasing speed – take that, Anna Kendrick!). I love the musical background and her voice. Learning to play this is my next musical adventure – stay tuned to see how it goes!

Music Monday: A Misérable Passover

As usual, the Maccabeats have come out with a catchy video to kick off the Jewish holidays.  This time, it’s less about creative new lyrics and instead focused on the crafty repurposing of the Les Misérables songs to tell the story of Passover (with some mighty fine singing in the process, though I would have liked to see them hit those high notes…).

Check it out below – and check out my matzo brei recipe if you’re looking for a way to spice up your unleavened bread.