Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Three books, two bags, one me

Jacob and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to New York City, and I'm going to write about it.

So, both Jacob and my brother-in-law Dave made it to final callbacks at The New School. And I was free, so I decided to tag along and splurge on a few shows while I was there. We took the red-eye on Friday night, arriving Saturday morning, and then left again on Monday. So it was a SUPER SHORT trip, but we managed to pack some good times in there.


1. Winning the lottery for Hamilton, even though we entered like, 3 times.
2. Running into Daniel Radcliffe and becoming friends with him, in a platonic "meet-cute" sort of situation. (Before we left Utah, I told Jacob that I had a daydream about this, and he replied, "You've had that daydream every time we've gone to New York." Which is true.)
3. Me opening Snapchat and singing "History is happenin' in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world!" while wandering Manhattan. Even though I was tempted. Like, every 15 seconds that I was in Manhattan.


Here it is in verbal form.

1. Jacob and I stayed with our friends, Sean and Danielle, whom we know from Rexburg. They recently moved to New York and we spent hours picking Danielle's brain about the acting work she's been doing.
2. Danielle and I got catcalled by a guy in a bagel costume. The catcalling thing would usually annoy me, but the addition of the bagel costume made the entire thing so ridiculous that I had to just laugh at it.
3. We were also able to run around with friends Omar (who was there doing acting career research) and Jeff (who lives there). Good times were had in the Drama Bookshop and Shake Shack.
4. Jacob and Dave did callbacks, which culminated in a  24-hour play festival, which I got to watch.
5. Saw an SLC friend Ben's one-man show, "The BYU/Berkley Plot."
6. Saw two Broadway shows, which I'll devote separate paragraphs to.
7. Wandered the Met by myself for a few hours.
8. Had this bizarre encounter while waiting in line for a play...

People behind me in line: "I think that show's closed. It's in Salt Lake now. Is it? I can't remember."
Me: "It is. I'm from Salt Lake."
People behind me in line: "No kidding! We are too!"
Me: "No way!"
People behind me in line: "So where in Salt Lake do you live?"
Me: "In South Salt Lake, near --- South and --- East. How about you?"
People behind me in line: "Whoa. We live at [names an address roughly two blocks away from our apartment]."

Of the 9 million people in New York City, we bumped into each other. The universe is bizarre, man.

And if you don't follow me on snapchat (@lizannechapman), here's the trip in snapchat story form.

And here's a brief, geeky drama kid earful about the two Broadway shows I got to see.

I just re-read this book for my YA Lit class, so I was especially excited to see it adapted for the stage. And boy, was it adapted for the stage. The National Theatre just knows how to utilize THEATRE to tell a story. There are things you can do in theatre that you can't do in any other medium. And you guys. The sound design. The set design. The costumes. The concepts. THEATRE IS SO FRICKIN' MAGICAL. The show won Tony's this past year for Best Play, Best Direction, and Best Lighting Design, Best Scenic Design. It was nominated for Choreography, even though it wasn't a musical. Alex Sharp won Best Actor for his portrayal of Christopher. I saw his replacement, Tyler Lea, who was perfect and sympathetic and charming and wonderful and honest. I was so impressed by his work. 

Here are two clips, showing some highlights of the show. There aren't any good (legal) clips of specific scenes, just because the nature of the adaptation doesn't really separate the plot into tidy "scenes." Things transition pretty quickly. But these still give a good glimpse of the show.


I was debating between seeing Fun Home and Something Rotten for my last show. But I finally decided that Curious Incident was a thought-provoking, moving piece of theatre, and that I should end my trip with a "big and shiny, mighty fine-y, glitter-glitz-and-chorus-line-y, bob-your-head-and-shake-your-hiney musical." So "Something Rotten" it was. And it was perfect.

First of all, Christian Borle. You know, the guy who won a Tony for playing Shakespeare in "Something Rotten"? Who won another Tony for the role of Black Stache in "Peter and the Starcatcher"? Who played various roles in the original cast of "Spamalot," including the Historian and Prince Herbert?

Yeah, him.

I got to see him. And he was totally deserving of that Tony Award.

The show was funny and dazzling and charming. There weren't any deep, dramatic messages, but there was joy and talent, and it gave me a song to sing for when I'm blue.

Here are a handful of clips from "Something Rotten." There are a few more of these, just because the show lends itself better to performances of certain numbers.

"It's Hard to Be the Bard" at the White House

"A Musical" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mashup of "God I Hate Shakespeare" and "Will Power" from The Today Show

Jacob and I have no idea if New York is in our near future. He went to grad school auditions at several different schools around the country, and who knows what the results will be. And it could be that we decide to just stick around Salt Lake for a while after all.

But I left New York filled with the reminder that no matter where my life and career take me, I'll always always always adore theatre. My heart is just there, and I can't imagine that I'll ever be truly at home anywhere else. I belong to the theatre, undeniably and unavoidably. It was good for my soul to remember that.


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