A trip to NYC. Such excursions are usually full of negative stories of mishaps and kvetching (see your yiddish dictionary) about rude bus drivers. Ours was almost perfect. A 2 hour wait on the runway at Toronto (due to La Guardia weather) was the extent of any inconvenience or disappointment. Here’s what we did:
Tuesday -On arrival at La Guardia, we left the plane, picked up our baggage, took an airporter bus to our hotel in mid Manhattan, checked in and were in our room a little over an hour from when we left the plane.
-Dinner at “GoGo Curry”
Wednesday -Breakfast (eggs, sausages, fried pots) at the Times Deli; on our way we happened across ABC’s “Good Morning America” and Connie got on camera with the street audience; neat coincidence (even if kinda lame).
- – Museum of the City of New York: great historical exhibitions – explains so much about what New York is.
- – 8th Ave. Deli bagel, lox and cream cheese and piece of cheese cake (all the food we had was fresh, top quality and GE—NER—OUS!)
- – Matinee performance of “Daddy Long Legs” at the Davenport Theatre (see my review below)
- – atmospheric & varied Greek dinner on 42nd St.
Thursday – Breakfast at Stage Door Deli. I had a sausage and peppers hero – Woo Hoo! (It was so gigantic, I only ate half )
– the brand new One World Tower at the World Trade Center “almost” matches the hype.
– went “walk about”, saw Zucotti Park (site of the “Occupy Movement tent city – not a single acknowledging sign of this major Sept. 17 – Nov.15, 2011 event. (Not surprising since it took place near Wall Street and Wall Street clearly would just as soon “bury it”.)
– through Chinatown and Little Italy; Chinese lunch.
– Mahler 8 performance in the immense Cathedral of St. John the Divine – the choral work and general musicianship was flawless, the conductor excellent, the soloists superb and (when you could hear them – it was like watching the Royal Winnipeg Ballet perform in an acre of mud). There were admirable (but rarely successful) experiments with amplification. But, boy, that gong in part 2 and the final chord (featuring the necessary organ) were magnificent! The two biggest mistakes which the creator made were:
- not making it possible for choirs to sound good outside.
- making the speed of light faster than the speed of sound.
One word would describe this magnificent cathedral as a venue for this performance, in the same manner as one of my students said, when asked her opinion on my sense of humour – “Inappropriate”.
- – “Dinner” in the hotel (take out food, including the other half of my Hero sandwich, from breakfast, all consumed with a really awful wine (but a great episode of “The Good Wife”).
Friday – We were up at 5:40 to brave wind & freezing temperature during a 15 minute walk to Penn Station, dragging wheeled luggage. The Amtrak train to Staunton has comfortable seats with LEGROOM, and great views. I love the train!!!
Notes on “Daddy Long Legs:
- A fabulous experience! Quite likely the top live theatre experience of my life. It was a sort of “Chamber Musical”. It had all the best features of the genre. The singing was fabulous (although I don’t normally like the Broadway musical singing style). Acting was first rate – Connie and I had tears rolling down our cheeks, not just from the touching love story with a happy ending, but from the sheer beauty of a great work of art.
- Even though I had a real association with musicals, from high school and UBC years, I dread certain aspects of the genre:
- – people singing when they should be talking (the genre used to be called musical comedy for a reason –
- people singing when they’re killing someone – that should be left to opera.
- – huge song and dance chorus lines
- – massive larger than life sets, story lines and over-acting – not to mention ridiculous hype in advertising.
- – insipid, moronic music (won’t mention any names, but initials are A.L.W.)
- – huge theatres in which you can’t see or hear, with tickets from $200 Cdn
This gem had none of that. There were 2 characters who carried the show (not to mention incorporating stage set manipulation during dialogue). The band was three players (piano, guitar/percussion and cello), and all were flawless musicians. The stage set & lighting & costuming were impressive and highly attractive. The theatre was intimate but full-featured, with just over 100 seats. We were 3 rows from the stage and adored every moment. Music theatre, more than any other idiom, suffers from a constant battle between form and substance. Substance clearly won out here.