Sunday, April 30, 2006

I Love You Because...

Words can’t describe how beautiful today was. “Gorgeous” doesn’t do it justice.

I was up early, early, early for a meeting at work and then I came back home to grab a quick nap. Elizabeth and I had back to back show tickets for today. A musical, I Love You Because, then a revisit to a play I saw a couple of weeks ago, Based on a Totally True Story.

We were seeing both for under $10.

I am my mother’s son…I know how to find a deal.

We left early to explore the neighborhood where the first theater was. Ended up it was a couple blocks from Washington Square Park and some of the greatest little streets in lower Manhattan.

We came across a cute little store that Elizabeth feel in love with. It’s called Purdy Girl. Very unique and trendy, in a throw-back kind of way. Elizabeth found hats and dresses that she fell in love with as well as several pairs of shoes she heard calling her name. She only bought one pair but she vowed to return for more. She forged a fast friendship with the store’s manager…so I have a feeling Elizabeth will be spending more and more time down in the Village.

We walked through Washington Square…the fountain is still drained and many New Yorkers were encircled in the cement soaking in the sun. Around the park there were Tulips EVERYWHERE. Gorgeous yellow tulips with hints of red and black tulips, which I’d never seen before. There was a dog park…with huge Great Danes and small Jack Russell’s running and playing together.

As we walked down the sidewalk we talked about how we both want to spend more time in parts of the city we don’t know very well. The Village is high on that list. There is so many streets and nook to check out…and there are off-beat restaurants and shops around every corner. Stores like Purdy Girl and restaurants like Peanut Butter & Co. which use to be a favorite place of mine to hang out at when I’d come up on vacation. I haven’t been there since I moved here.

Peanut Butter & Co. is restaurant with variations of peanut butter and PB flavored items on the menu. Elizabeth and I ran in on our way to the theater. I got a PB & J Milkshake.

That’s right. A Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake. They have it all.

The musical, I Love You Because, was really cute. It is a new romantic comedy about the ups and downs of dating and breaking up in New York City. It isn’t the greatest musical ever written but it was cute and funny AND there was a story line to follow…unlike…um…Lestat.


After the show, Elizabeth and I headed uptown. We got off the train at Columbus Circle and walked across the bottom of Central Park on the way to see Based on a Totally True Story.

This was my second time seeing the show and I was again moved by the story and performances.

This time I was able to process more of my feelings about the characters. I am fully aware that it is “just a story” …a play…but I was able to connect to what it is in the relationships of the characters that touches me.

It’s forgiveness. It’s embracing the mistakes and the hurt. It is acknowledging the betrayal and pain and then healing.

There is a great moment of…acknowledging and embracing in the show. When faced with that moment, the lead character, Ethan, says, “It’s hard to pretend you weren’t in love with someone.”

That is the trick. When you’ve betrayed and hurt, it is a process to get back to a place where you can see that person again and find the love you had for them.

THAT is the moment I love in the show.

Though the characters lives are moving in different directions they can look at each other and see beyond their history. They can’t go back and recapture or even redeem what they lost, but they can appreciate their time together.

That alone is a journey.

Here are a couple of shots of Elizabeth walking and shopping off Bleeker Street.

Washington can see folks sunning in the drained fountain and Elizabeth on the phone among the tulips....including the really cool black tulips (which I don't think I'd ever seen before today.)

A couple more shots taken in Washington Park...the dog park...trees blooming...NYCer's sunning...
Also a shot taken crossing over 6th Avenue and walking through the neighborhood.

One of my favorite places, Peanut Butter & Co.
Also, Central Park South (59th Street) where Elizabeth and I crossed into the park briefly where the sun was filtering in. As I went to take a picture of the trees, I saw that I captured some random monk walking along.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My Most IMPORTANT Entry...My Plea for the Children of Uganda

Uganda has been my parent’s home for just over a year. We speak on the phone and exchange emails but I confess I know very little about Uganda. Through my parent’s

The last few days Uganda has really been on my mind. The children of Uganda have been on my heart. It has consumed my days and nights. I think of them before I go to sleep, when I wake up and sometimes in the middle of the night.

The other day, on Oprah, I saw a Special Report on the children of Uganda…children known as the Night Walkers. Children in Northern Uganda are being kidnapped and forced into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The boys are beaten and trained to kill. Their mouths are busted open and they’re given no medical attention. The girls are raped, repeatedly, and even used as human shields. Both the boys and girls are trained to kill. Large pieces of their flesh is cut off and cooked, then sent to their parents. It is an almost indescribable horror. The images and stories of these children have haunted me for days.

Nightly, close to 40,000 children walk 3-5 miles to be corralled into huge holding pins to sleep. They are locked in so they will be safe at night.

Uganda is at the front of my mind because my parents live there. I have so many questions and concerns that I’m researching daily.

In the other countries like the Sudan, Darfur and Chad a genocide is taking place and nothing is being done.

I beg you to visit the links in the journal entry and see what you might be able to do. Something as simple as writing a letter to the President and your Senator would be a powerful act.

These people…these children must have someone speak for them. I believe we can be that voice and force. Not because we’re Americans but because we are humans. This is a human atrocity.

I worked today but tonight I took part in a rally for Night Walkers. Invisible sponsored a rally and a sleep over in a park not far from my store. I didn’t spend the night, as many did as a sleeping protest over the thousands of children sleeping locked up in Uganda, but I stayed for a couple hours. As hundreds and hundreds of us arrived, we had a Polaroid picture taken and we were asked to write letters to the President, our Senator, and to create some piece of art (using the picture symbolizing why we were there.

I wrote my letters and talked to those around me. I was empowered by the presence of so many (most with sleeping bags in tow), who were there to act on behalf of these children. As I turned my attention to my art…I was at a lost. Many were drawing, painting, etc. I couldn’t decide what to do.

So…like I do a lot of times when I don’t know what to do…I wrote.

Absorbing why I was there and remembering the images of the children I’d seen earlier this week, I began writing.

I thought of the power of the night. Night is when our bodies rest and regroup. It’s when we dream. I wrote a piece called Night Walkers and envisioned a time when they could once again sleep and truly rest and dreams. Their nights are filled with terror and not the dreams that accompany childhood. That to me is one of the greatest crimes against them.









There is so much we MUST do.

Please join me.

Here are some photos from the Invisible Children rally, including one of the art piece I made out of a box top.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Today I saw the play that will walk away with the TONY Award this year.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore





I had no idea what to expect on my “Pseudo-date” tonight at Lyecum Theater. This Irish play was incredible from start to finish. It is very, very dark and violent. It is also clever.

I can’t say much about the play without giving too much away, except that it is brilliantly written and acted. The play, and especially the ending, have been kept well under wraps.

What I can tell you is…it is set in 1993…it deals with the IRA…and…a cat.

But that doesn’t give a lot to go on.

The show was a sell-out Off-Broadway and opens on Broadway soon. I predict that it will win the TONY Award for Best Play this year and that in a couple of months it will be THE must-have ticket on Broadway.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006


This morning Elizabeth and I were up and out the door early heading downtown to an Open audition for Seussical: The Musical. The audition was for a touring production running in the Fall.

I was going in for the role of Horton The Elephant.

For the role of Horton they were looking for:

-2nd Tenor/Baritone
-Not skinny

The role should be mine.

The audition was only 16 Bars (measures) and reading “sides” from the script.

We there just after 6:30 AM and I was seen around 10:35AM.

I sang 16 Bars from the Opening of Learning to Let Go (from the musical Elegies: For Angles, Punks and Raging Queens). This was the closing song of my first cabaret/concert a couple years ago. I felt that the spirit and mood conveyed in the song would be great for this audition.

As I waited in the sign-in room, I watched hundreds of people come and go…most not even able to get on the list to be seen. When I was taken outside the audition room I waited with a handful of others as actors/singers were led in one at a time.

From the hallway you can hear the audition in progress.

I listened to several guys go in and sing B I G songs…with a string on “money notes.” They were all showing how high and strong they could belt out a note. The more I listened, the more I felt good about my song choice.

My 16 bars start off quiet. They tell a sweet story from the few lines. They build slowly, measure by measure and then end with a strong “money note.” I feel like my song show a nice spectrum.

When I finished my song, the casting director looked up and asked me about the selection. She said it was beautiful and wanted to know what show it was taken from.

I then read a short scene with another person involved with the shows casting.

Then I was on my way.

The whole audition: 45 seconds.

Sunday, April 23, 2006



What can I say?

I read Anne Rice’s novels a couple of years ago…Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat.

I love the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin. They’ve given us some of he best songs written in popular music.

But together…they just don’t work.

It had the makings of a great show. I really wanted it to be great. It just isn’t. There are several beautiful songs and nice moments in the show, but the story is nothing but holes. You can’t follow it, no matter how hard you try. The moments you think you do know what the story is, you realize that it’s really just a day in the life of Lestat and you’re seeing a snapshot that doesn’t explain where it’s going.

Elizabeth and I hoped to win a lottery to see Drowsy Chaperone, but didn’t. So, using her Student I.D., we got $25 Student tickets for LESTAT – literally 30 minutes before the curtain went up.

So, it wasn’t a major investment. Speaking of investments…it should be said that the actors in LESTAT were incredible. Beautiful voices and powerful presence on stage. When the show was over and Elizabeth and I were riding the subway home I said it was very obviously to me that they were all doing the best with what they were given to work with.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Darling, I love you...but give me Park Avenue

On a dinner break from work I walked to the library and crossed over Park Avenue.

As I walked across 58th Street I saw brilliant red tulips in the median that runs all the way up Park Ave.

Spring in New York is here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter, Christopher Street and Judy Garland

Quite possibly the most beautiful day since I moved to New York. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. No humidity. Solid blue sky. Constant breeze.

Gorgeous Easter.

I went to church this morning and then made my way down to the Village. I got off the subway at Christopher Street, in the heart of the Village, and was greeted by the sounds and smells of a small neighborhood street festival. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for it.

Since today is a holiday - theaters needed patrons. For literally a few dollars, I had a prime seat for The Property Know As Garland, an Off-Broadway show set in the backstage dressing room the night of Judy Garland’s last concert. It is told almost completely as a narrative. It was very interesting and enlightening. I know very little of the life of the legend that is Judy Garland.


Friday, April 14, 2006

The Wedding Singer AND Based on a Totally True Story

I normally have Friday’s off, but I worked today so a co-worker of mine could have a long weekend with her family for Easter.

This is an exciting time in the city. New shows on and off Broadway are Opening almost weekly. Some are praised before they even Open, others are ripped to pieces…also before they even start. Two huge mega-musicals, Elton John’s Lestat and Disney’s Tarzan are two such examples. Both shows are still in Previews but critics and audiences are being very vocal about the work that still needs to be done before their official Openings.

I haven’t seen either, so I can’t comment. Yet.

One big show I have seen is The Wedding Singer. It is based on the Adam Sandler film that came out several years ago. I never saw the movie but I got a chance to see the show last night while it is still in Previews. Audiences are loving this film to stage musical. It is a lot of fun. Not the best show I’ve seen but a good show. There is a lot of energy and many stand out performances.

I love that Stephen Lynch is making his Broadway debut as the lead in this show. It must be an incredible feeling to have your face plastered all over Times Square before you’re even a household name. He did a great job in the show. He had an amazing energy on stage and was strong throughout. For me, it was also good to see Felicia Finley back on stage. I saw her several years ago in one of my favorite musicals, AIDA.

The show hasn’t officially Opened yet, so there are still changes being made. I know with other shows, like the forthcoming musical Lestat, changes are made daily…sometimes just hours before it starts an actor is handed new lyrics or lines to a song he or she will be singing later that evening. I like The Wedding Singer. It’s a cute, fun show. It seemed a little long to me but the whole audience was eating ever note out of the performer’s hands.


Some times smaller shows can get lost amid the big blockbuster musicals and plays. Tonight I saw a great Off-Broadway, Based on a Totally True Story. I loved, loved, loved this play. It was funny and ever moment was so well timed.

The lead actor, Carlson Elrod, was fascinating to watch. Entertainment-wise I enjoyed the show immensely but craft-wise I thought he was pure and brilliant. I found myself studying him. I would see the show again just to go back to “school.” The mannerisms and expressions Carlson wraps the character of Ethan in were wonderful, honest and real. It was great. Absolutely great. The same can be said of the show other leading man, Pedro Pascal. He was beautifully intertwined with Carlson’s timing and their dual story-telling seemed so natural it was like a window into their character’s relationship.

I am not ashamed to say that I laughed throughout the show and by the last few moments found myself moved to tears by the honesty of the life and emotion conflictions that were shown. The show didn’t have some overly dramatic, mushy ending. The play ended in reality and that’s what hit close to home for me. I related to moments in the show that I’ve personally stood in.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the show’s playwright is to be commended for sharing his life and through a play that’s based on a totally true story – his.


Monday, April 10, 2006


Got my taxes done!


I should’ve done them weeks ago but I kept putting it off. I’ve been a big fan of the Tel-a-File system over the last couple of years. This year, that’s not an option. It’s all about E-Filing.

I got the computer CD from the public library just around the corner from The Container Store and I set into getting them finished. It took me a while but I got them done.

I clicked the button to send them in but something on my computer didn’t support something else and it wouldn’t go through. So, I printed it all out and mailed it in the old fashion way.

The good news is that I’m getting a good amount back.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rabbit Hole

Today I went to the closing of the Broadway play, The Rabbit Hole. The show sported an all-star cast that included Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly. I think the show got mixed reviews when it Opened at the beginning of the year, but personally I’d heard nothing but good things about the play.

I wanted to see it and I did. There were limited seats left to the show’s Closing performance and I was surprised and thrilled to nab a seat on the last row for very $25 (those sitting beside me paid close to $100).

The show is about how a family copes with the accidental death of their 4 year old son. The play explores how different people process grief and loss and how each person’s timetable is different.

I’m so glad I didn’t miss this play.

Also enjoying the closing performance of Rabbit Hole: screen legend Lauren Bacall and incredible stage actress (and Tony Award winner for the play Doubt) Cherry Jones.


The PLAYBILL cover of RABBIT HOLE, stage shot of Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daley, and a photo from outside the theater.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Drowsy Chaperone

Tonight I saw show that’s been getting nothing but positive word-of-mouth since it started Previews a couple weeks ago. The show just kinda showed up out of no where. It’s called The Drowsy Chaperone and it is the only original musical (not based on a film or book) Opening on Broadway this season. Three months ago I had never heard of it…not a lot of people had…now it is the talk of the town.

The Drowsy Chaperone is unique and just pure theater magic. I LOVED it…start to finish. Anyone who loves musicals, especially musical theater, will love it. It acknowledges and fully embraces the joys of escaping into the music of a show.

About 20 minutes into this one act musical comedy within a comedy I realized that this is what it feels like to see a HIT show - a show where every moment on stage is saturated and used. Nothing is wasted. Everything works.

The first week living here in New York I got to see Sutton Foster in the musical, Little Women. The show was ok with a scattering of nice moments. As I think I probably wrote before in my Journal, you could physically see Sutton carrying the show on her shoulders. She was what made the show work (in the places it worked). It is pure delight to see Sutton Foster on stage in The Drowsy Chaperone. Actually the entire cast is just great.


Sutton Foster and the PLAYBILL for the new comedy musical, The Drowsy Chaperone.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Spring can really hang you up...

Spring is here.

Full on.

The trees on 117th street are starting to bloom and my allergies have arrived. I feel fine but am battling a lot of sinus congestion.

Today, I’ve been a New Yorker for 11 months. Time flies.