Friday, December 27, 2013

NYC Day Two

A much less exhausting day! Still tiring, but Daniel and I (mostly Daniel) got better at navigating the streets and subways, so there was significantly less walking than usual. 
To begin, we arose at the crack of 8 a.m. and showered - me in cold water, since Daniel took all the hot - and made our trek all bundled up to the box office of the Neil Simon Theatre to get our rush tickets for the musical Big Fish, which closes on the 29th. My poor brother was cold, so he held our place in line while I went over to Starbucks to get some hot chocolate to keep us warm. It proved to be my undoing, because after waiting an hour and a half in line, Daniel got the very last rush ticket, just ahead of me. The man in the box office very kindly offered me a $59 ticket for the very back row of the mezzanine, but I declined as graciously as I could. The TKTS booth wasn't selling evening tickets yet, so we went back to our accommodations instead. I was somewhat depressed.
Now, our original plan had been to go after Big Fish to see another show called Sleep No More, based on Macbeth, running in a creepy hotel farther downtown, at about 11 p.m. But there were no discount tix for that show (which runs in the $85-$150 range), and the thought of navigating my way back to our apartment at one in the morning was less exciting now that I was remembering exactly how big these city blocks are. So, we nixed Sleep No More, and I spent the money I woulda on a discounted orchestra ticket to Big Fish. Much better deal. 
In addition, we decided that since we were dropping a play, we'd go see a movie instead! So at 1, we bundled up again, and headed past Times Square to the Regal E-Walk Cinemas (sounds like Star Wars royalty, doesn't it?) to see the highly anticipated Saving Mr. Banks.
Boy oh boy was it good. I never really bought into Tom Hanks as Walt Disney - both men are too iconic and idiosyncratic - but he gave it as good a go as any A-list actor could have. And Emma Thompson... Meryl Streep is great, but I'm a believer in Emma Thompson as the world's greatest living film actress. She was brilliantly cantankerous, vulnerable, and protective of her character's creations. I identified with P. L. Travers as an artist, as well as with the whole Disney team, knowing how wonderful the movie would end up being. Delicious, funny, heartwarming conflict and resolution. Paul Giamatti was a favorite as well.
After the movie, we turned a corner and scooted into Abitino's Pizza and Pasta for some "authentic" New York pizza pie and linguine alfredo. It was greasy and cheesy and so very tasty. And filling. I'm still full.
We also grabbed a train down to the Garment District to make a stop at Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. They were one of the few places in Manhattan that I could find selling thermals as well as pocket hand and toe warmers, so my extremities would stop going numb on this trip. And for 20% off! They also had an extensive collection of stage blood and wig supplies; I commented that they needed to set up a branch in Utah. The cashier dryly announced she'd be on the next plane out to us...
So, fully equipped to stay warm tomorrow morning, we went back to our place, so Daniel could nap and I could catch up with school stuff before our evening show. We caught the subway for just one stop, and went into the Neil Simon to see the fifth-to-last-ever original Broadway performance of Big Fish.
While I don't know if the score will stand the test of time as one of the greats, the production was really wonderful. Norbert Leo Butz was phenomenally energetic, charming, and engaging. His honesty, even as a teller of tall tales, kept the show glued together. Kate Baldwin was radiantly beautiful as the girl and wife who barely keeps him grounded, and Bobby Steggert was really young-seeming, especially with his slight speech impediment, but had a great voice and a disarming performance as the doubtful son trying to untangle his legendary dad's life. The ensemble was fantastic (and gymnastic!), and the design - especially the amazing integration of projections - was simple and flawless. 
Daniel was crafty enough to get about a dozen signatures at the stage door after the show. I, of course, got none, but I didn't mind. We headed home to a warm apartment, fully satisfied. It was a good Friday!

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