Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Serendipity 2. Spend a day seeing Broadway shows with a high school friend

One of the many great results of starting this blog has been the fabulous support and interest I've gotten for it from totally unexpected people and places. For instance, this is a serendipity post; the idea came from my sister Katrinka (who suggested I do a second list of cool new things that happen as unanticipated consequences of the original list), but the name of the idea came from Kathy. Pat and Kathy are my brother in law Brian's dad and step mom, and they have gone out of their way to help me out with list suggestions (Kathy made an awesome one today of seeing the polar bears in Manitoba, which I may just have to add to the 52), language translations, and words like serendipity, all of which has been much appreciated.

Even more unexpected has been the fact that some of my old friends from high school have been following the blog, and better yet, considering doing some of the things on the list. Over the past weekend my friend Angela, who I knew in high school as Angie, and who now has three boys and recently moved back to southern Idaho where we went to school together, led the way. Like me, she'd had a pretty awful 2009, and we'd discovered we shared a mutual love of New York City. When I made my last-minute decision to spend President's Day weekend there, she found an astoundingly good deal of a flight and flew out to join me.

Plane troubles grounded Angela in Chicago so that she missed out on the ice skating that was my original reason for going. But once we met up in town we came up with a brilliant plan (if I do say so) for Sunday afternoon and evening -- a Broadway double header (one matinee and one evening performance) punctuated by a late lunch, and of course cannolis, in (where else?) Little Italy.

In case you haven't been in New York City for a while, I'll let you in on a widely-known but still lamentable fact; it's a wonderful but ridiculously expensive place. It's as if there's a vacuum tube attached to your pockets that sucks out the cash when you're not looking. But there are ways of (partially) combating the giant sucking sound, one of which is the half price ticket place in Times Square. Like all money-saving systems, it has its drawbacks, particularly when you are standing in a very cold wind on a very long line, and you can only buy one set of tickets at a time. But good things come to those who wait, or at least they did on Sunday. for the matinee we attended. We went to see Next to Normal, which was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won 3 last year, we thought deservedly so. It was pretty heavy for a musical -- the story is about a family dealing with the mom's serious mental illness -- but really great. We went for something a little lighter -- The Perfect Crime -- for the evening show. Besides being performed in the Snapple Theater, which seemed a little funny, especially because it was directly above the Jerry Orbach Theater, The Perfect Crime's big claim to fame is that its leading lady (Catherine Russell) is in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest continuous run in a Broadway show (every single performance but four since it opened in 1987!).

So there you have it -- we hit the best (at least in one case and, well, the best attendance in the other) on Broadway with pesto, cannolis and a trip to a chocolate lover's dream -- the Hershey Store -- in between. Not a bad day in the Big Apple. I might have to do it again sometime, and if I do, I'll be twisting Angela's arm to join me.

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