I’ve said it time and time again, but man oh man re-entry into the working world after a vacation is a biotch. Straight up, no way around it.
I knew that NYC was not going to be a restful trip. It never is. Maybe back when I was going every year, there were moments of downtime and some naps but that isn’t my reality anymore and likely never will be again. So when I go, I soak it all up, see all of the things, walk all of the steps, see as many of the shows, faces, places as is humanly possible in the time that I have. I know that going in, so I’m not surprised that it takes a full week to recuperate from it.
Traveling in groups is oftentimes tricky but once again, as usual with this particular group, things worked out. Sarah didn’t get to come with us but she did help procure our Hedwig tickets. It meant we didn’t get to do any meet or greet but Elizabeth’s friend is the stage manager and she did get us the opportunity to go back stage, onto the stage, talk about the show etc. That was a fabulous thing. So amazing! Mindi didn’t get to come with us, but we kept in touch via the internet and more than once we made notations about things “Mindi would really like” If I’d have thought ahead, I would’ve done a group photo of everyone ala Flat Stanley.
Our hearts were heavy, and continue to be heavy as our sweet Linda lost her beloved, rascal of a Pop the day that we all landed in NYC. Continued conversations and hugs and thoughts went out to her as we were together last week.
I think that’s the thing that is most surprising about this group of people. We didn’t set out to be real friends. We all migrated in from another group that got too ridiculous for our taste. We had no idea, however many years ago, that we would become real, trusted, family to each other. Back then, it was just…”I’m leaving this stupid group but I still want to interact with you people so here’s a new group” kind of thing. It’s crazy to think about. And now we have adventures together when we can.
This grand adventure was a long time in the making. Michael and I said as much as we were in the theatre waiting for Hedwig to begin.
“Remember back over a year ago when someone, probably Sarah, said: Hey Neil is doing Hedwig in NYC, and someone else said, We should totally go!…and here we are.”
As the lights dimmed and the music blazed across the theatre, I got really choked up. I was so excited to be here, to see this. I was sad we weren’t all doing it together, but so grateful that we were doing it. I get emotional in NYC.
I’ve seen my share, your share, more than anyone’s share really, of Tony award winners and Tony award losers. It’s been a very fortunate part of my story that I’ve had so many opportunities to see the shows I’ve seen. I know that I’m an easy lay for the seduction of a live theatre performance, but I’ve been around this particular block enough to know when something is amazing, when something is magical, and when something truly transformative is happening on the stage.
Friday night, June 13th, under the full moon, there was a transformative, magical thing happening in the Balisco theatre. That cast was amazing. By the end of it, with the themes of feeling separate from the norm, craving acceptance for who you truly are, needing to shed all pretense and just BE, the tears just rolled down my face. There was this energy rolling off of the cast, NPH and Lena Hall were giving a performance that I will carry with me forever.
I traveled home at the crack of ass on Sunday morning. Really. My alarm went off at 3:50 am and the car service was there at 4:15 to drive me from Brooklyn to Newark. (ugh. Newark.) I was home in OKC by 11:30 am and Mark was there to pick me up. I don’t remember really ever having anyone pick me up at the airport before. I’ve always gone by myself. All morning during my trip home I kept thinking about the shows I saw, listening to the cast recording of Hedwig I kept thinking about how simple it would be to just have that kind of acceptance in life. There were moments last week, that I was just kind of tied up in knots. Remembering previous trips, friends that were there, no longer here, no longer the same. Reliving moments of laughter in Central Park, shows once seen, places once familiar. As I got closer to home, the realization that I in fact, DO have that kind of acceptance in life, in this life, just made things all the sweeter.
And isn’t that just the best thing of all?
I don’t know when we’ll get back to the city. Mark hasn’t been. We’ve talked about putting it on our list. We’re also talking about an Italy trip. So we talk big. I know we’ll go together at some point. It will be lovely when and if it happens.
Until then, this was a remarkable adventure.
I’m really really happy that we all worked to make it happen.