Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Unfinished Business in NYC

We had a great family trip to New York City in June, but my sister, Linda, and I had some unfinished business there. She had three more plays she wanted to see, including a couple that hadn't yet opened in June, and I wanted to see Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean one last time before he left Les Miserables, and headed to Japan for a show there. So, we made a Broadway weekend trip.

If I can fly Southwest, I will, so Linda drove down on Wednesday, staying overnight. We watched the movie Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren, and decided we'd go see that painting at the Neue Gallery in New York if we had the chance. Thursday morning we were out the door by 5:45 to drive to Nashville. Lovely airport, which is one reason I like flying out of it. And, this is the sentimental side of me. In Nashville's airport, I can see dreams. While we waited to leave, we saw five people with guitars, and one with a banjo. It's a city of dreams.

We stayed at the same hotel in New York as we did when we were there in June, Hilton Garden Inn on 8th and 48th. It's so convenient when it's a Broadway trip. And, ours definitely was. We had a show scheduled for Thursday night. But, before the show, we went to dinner at Sangria 46, a Spanish Tapas restaurant on 46th Street. We sat outside on the courtyard, where a grape leaf covering kept the patio shaded. And, it was gorgeous weather, in the low 80s, and not humid. The menu consisted of tapas from Spain and Argentina. And, of course, a pitcher of Sangria.

Asparagus and cheese

Dates wrapped in bacon

Grape Leaf Overhang

And, then off to a 7 p.m. show, An Act of God, a comedy starring Jim Parsons. Studio 54 was the perfect venue for an irreverent ninety-minute show that poked fun at religion, politics and science. Jim Parsons as God, was accompanied by two archangels, Gabriel (Tim Kazurinsky) and Michael (Christopher Fitzgerald). It was brilliant, written by David Javerbaum, a former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart".

Friday we had all day to enjoy the gorgeous weather before a 6 p.m. dinner and then the show. So, we headed out, walking 2.1 miles up Fifth Avenue. We both enjoyed the architecture on the embassies and other buildings on the way.

We went first to the Neue Gallery to see "Woman in Gold". The line was clear down the block, which says a lot about the movie and the attention it drew. The photo is not the painting itself by Klimt, but just a print downstairs near the cafe.

Linda had a salad at the cafe, Der Fledermaus, and I had apple strudel. How can you not try pastry at an Austrian cafe? I shared. And, if the napkin doesn't match, it's because Cafe Sabarsky operates two cafes in the gallery, Cafe Sabarsky itself, and Der Fledermaus.

From there, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We had enough time to see a variety of exhibits, including the Temple of Dendur, and a stunning special exhibit. It was Van Gogh's  paintings, Irises and Roses, either the last, or some of the last four works he did. Just beautiful.

We had two miles to walk back, but right outside the Met I found a fun sight. One of the city buses had a sign for my favorite show, Les Miserables, and the one we were going to that night. And, of course, it's a picture of Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean.

We had a few minutes to freshen up, and then head to dinner at Da Marino, an Italian restaurant recommended by author Teri Wilson. And, she was right. Terrific place - atmosphere, food, and service.

Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

Linda at Da Marino

From there, we headed to Les Miz. It was the first show I ever saw on Broadway, years ago. It's still my favorite show.

Ramin Karimloo as Prisoner #24601

Ramin Karimloo, Jean Valjean

Ramin Karimloo

And, Ramin Karimloo will always be MY Jean Valjean. I saw him first in December 2014, and went back to see him again on that trip. I saw him in Les Miz when I went to BEA in June. And, this was my fourth and final time to see him in this run of the show.

And, as perfect as the trip was, this was my favorite moment, thanks to my sister, Linda, who said she'd go wait with me at the stage door after Les Miserables. When Ramin Karimloo came out, he worked the line, signing autographs and posing for pictures. And, the pictures I have? Ramin was kind enough to take the phone from me and take the picture of us.

A kind man. And, a gorgeous voice and great talent as Linda said. I wish him all the luck in the world, and if he comes back to Broadway, I'll go back to see him.

Saturday was another gorgeous day, but we didn't have the whole day because we had a matinee and an evening show. We still had time to walk to Central Park, and spend a little time enjoying it.

And, then we went to The Plaza, and had sandwiches and one lemonade macaroon apiece before walking to the theater.

Our afternoon show was Amazing Grace starring Josh Young as John Newton. Beautiful voice! And, Linda was right. She said she hoped people weren't scared away by the thought this is a religious show, particularly the people who usually attend Broadway shows. It was actually about a man from a slave trading family and the movement to abolish slavery in England. And, this play had some of the most dramatic special effects I've ever seen - a drowning scene just before intermission, followed by a hurricane in the second act. And, those of us in the front row got wet during the hurricane. Very good show.

Dinner was at Bourbon Street Bar & Grille, creole food, but way too much of it. I couldn't eat half of the food, gumbo, jambalaya, and a hurricane, followed by a double chocolate brownie with ice cream. It was actually cheaper to order all of it than to order a la carte.

Our final show as Finding Neverland, the story of J.M. Barrie and the inspiration for Peter Pan. The four boys who all played the Davies boys were outstanding, but the eleven-year-old, Aidan Gemme, who played Peter was amazing. That's the show that actually brings tears to your eyes.

Our day wasn't over, though. St. Malachy's, The Actors' Chapel, has an 11 p.m. Mass on Saturday night. It was originally for the actors who went after the shows. Theater, church, and then back to our hotel.

We were flying out on Sunday afternoon. I had time for a walk in the morning, which is when I found the food cart that Ramin Karimloo joked about on Instagram. Alfie Boe is taking Ramin's place as Jean Valjean. Karimloo's comment? "Lol. Does this mean they will put @alfieboe's poster on a fish and chip truck?"

Breakfast at Juniors, and then a trip to LaGuardia. Who would think a security agent would joke with me about how long the lines were, and then we were through security in less than 5 minutes? And, landed in Nashville a half hour early.

Fabulous Broadway weekend, helped by the best weather I've ever had on a NYC trip. And, of course, highlighted by Ramin Karimloo. Thank you, Linda.


Linda said...

All I did was encourage the stage door visit and have a great time, so thank you!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Nice! Sounds like a great trip and glad our weather cooperated. You two definitely picked the right week to come here, as we are back to a more typical 90 and humid today. I agree with you on Les Mis, which we first saw in London in 1986 (Colm Wilkinson) and have seen several times since.

Jeff M.

TFJ said...

Sounds like a great trip with your sister, Lesa. Thanks for sharing. I've made a mental note of the eateries . . . HA!


Lesa said...

Oh, Jeff! You got to see Colm Wilkinson in the role - how lucky! Beautiful voice, and, for many, the definitive Jean Valjean. That was the best weather I've ever had for a trip to NYC. Glad the weather was so welcoming!

Lesa said...

It was a wonderful trip, Tricia, and, no matter what Linda says, made even more by doing it with her.