Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Escape to New York, Part Four: THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

Finally—here’s another installment of my New York adventure!

Saturday was all conference day. Yes, I had been planning to skip out on the later workshops to see a matinee, but I realized that I was starting to take these Broadway shows for granted—that I wasn’t really appreciating them as much as I could because I was saturating myself in them. So I decided to be All Conference Girl. And since it was the last official day, I didn’t go to a Saturday night show, either, opting instead to actually spend time with other writers at dinner. Imagine that.

But when Sunday came and most of the other writers left for the airport, it was all about New York again.

My friend and fellow writer, Mary Leo, stayed behind, too, and even though the weather was a tad rainy, we decided to go out anyway. Water does not make a human melt, after all.

We took the subway over to a vintage store near Central Park. I had visited this place before, and I had found a super cute skull-and-crossbones pirate tank there. And…what do you know! I found a couple of tops that were cut to fit me really, really well. Sweet. (I think the store is called Alan & Suzie’s—and you wouldn’t believe the mint clothes they have. Vintage Valentino, etc. I was afraid to touch some of the stuff.)

Then, Mary and I stumbled upon a great little tapas joint a few doors down. I didn’t record the name, though I did note the directions in my guide book so I can return. My methods are sloppy yet effective.

Afterward, we scrammed to a 7:30 showing of THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. Totally laughed our butts off. Seriously. The show works on the conceit of the cast: adults who are portraying brainy and ultra-sensitive fifth graders in a—what else?—spelling bee. Were you all ever in one of these monstrosities? My spelling bee was probably the most nerve-wracking experience of my young life, and I truly don’t even like to think about it. But this show poked fun at the competitions while remaining heartfelt. All the “kids” are way more perceptive than any adults, of course, and their individual songs were clever and biting and adorable, if not forgettable in the tune department. The theater was small and had seating that surrounded three-fourths of the stage, thus assuring that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Also, the show makes good use of people plucked out of the audience previous to the performance (and you can see an example of this in the following clip when the "surprise cast member" comes on stage). In total, it felt like a community experience, where the whole audience is in on every joke with the kid actors. Loved it.

Here’s a clip from the Tony Awards so you guys can get a hint of what fun I had. (Mind you, the visual quality stinks. Sorry.)

Afterward, Mary and I got back to the hotel in time to collapse and watch BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I have grown to adore that show.

Next and final New York adventure: SPRING AWAKENING, a racy and somewhat disturbing new musical that has taken the critics by storm. But how did the audience react…?

1 comment:

Yolanda Sfetsos said...

Hey C! Hope you're having a GREAT weekend. :)