32nd: To one that is your equal, or not much inferior, you are to give the chief place in your lodging; and he to who it is offered ought at the first to refuse it, but at the second to accept, though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
I'm a proud
THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
25 September 2004
1 a.m. in Times Square is as busy as 1 p.m.
I was amazed to walk down to Times Square after our post-show "party," and discover that nothing had slowed down at all. This really is the city that never sleeps.
After a very frustrating 10 minutes (for which I was PAYING, thank you), I am finally on the computer here at the hotel and must be quick. The computer is in this strange wooden box, which is supposed to take credit cards and doesn't, and which appeared to eat my $20 bill...it cheated me out of 8 minutes.
It was a glorious opening night. I have now seen "The Big Voice" at the very first production in Laguna Beach 2 years ago. I've seen it several times in two different theatres in Los Angeles, and I've seen it in Chicago, but this was the Big One. New York, the theatre capital of the universe (as Jeri describes it).
Now, truth be told, it wasn't the most glamorous theatre in New York...in fact, it maybe one of the crummiest. But that didn't matter. "The Big Voice" was opening in New York City and We. Were. There.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
"Reckless," the Mary Louise Parker/Rosie Perez play was very weird. The performers were all good, but the script was just bizarre. I told Walt I was sorry I wasn't reviewing it. I could have had fun with the review.
I actually SLEPT last night, which amazed me. I don't usually sleep more than 5 hours at home and almost never sleep well in a hotel, but I just died at 11 p.m. last night and was aamazed when I didn't wake up until 8 hours later. I am definitely well rested.
We decided to spend the day exploring the Museum of Natural History, just off Central Park. It's an enormous place. We arrived at 10:30, left at 5 and didn't see more than half of it, if that.
But it was great. We traveled through Africa, saw so many dinosaurs they eventually got boring (kind of like mummies in the British Museum). We saw the Star of India and traced the history of primates, as well as checking the biodiversity of the planet and an amazing "underwater" exhibit.
There is an exhibit, soon to close, called "Art for the Heart" which is currently on display. Alli Millard, a teenager whose stepfather was killed on 9/11, conceived the project as a way to bring together the children who shared the tragic bond of losing one or both parents in the tragedy. 200 children participated in sessions that enabled them to confront their feelings safely and express them artistically. The exhibit is traveling around to schools, art centers and museums nationwide. Each child painted a square of canvas and together they created this memorial. Some of the sentiments were heart-wrenching.
We also saw an Imax movie about bugs and I may never view a praying mantis in quite the same way again. And we checked out a display about primates, including this "gay" gibbon!
All that plus lunch in what was easily the very best museum cafe I've ever eaten in.
Eventually we limped out of there, grabbed a bus and went back to Time Square to meet friends for dinner. I had met Ida in New Jersey when I was there a couple of weeks ago. I was meeting Bobbie and her husband Leo for the first time. Ida had chosen a lovely Italian restaurant (Trattoria dopo teatro) and we had a great dinner (though the sticker shock for one glass of wine and one gin and tonic--$15--reminded us we weren't in Kansas any more!)
When dinner was over, we walked, from 47th St. down to 37th St., where the theatre was (fortunately streets are short blocks), arriving shortly before the show began.
The theatre has one (yes, one) row practically on top of the stage, and all the rest of the seats are in the balcony. This meant that Steve and Jimmy had to play the whole show for the audience upstairs, which was a switch for them. But the managed to do it.
I sat with my friend Amy (at the left with Steve) and her friend (John? Michael?). Amy had helped us find this nice hotel and had recommended the restaurant, so she's really been kind of the tour guide for this trip and it was so much fun seeing her again. I last saw her in--Baltimore? Cincinnati? I don't know. That Schalchlin guy has me flying all over the country and it's hard to keep track.
Jimmy said after the show that the first act threw them off because where they are used to getting laughs, there were none. Where there are usually "screams" there was only laughter, but by the second act, both Steve & Jimmy...and the audience...had hit its stride.
If they were off stride, I sure couldn't tell. Jimmy actually had me moved to tears at one point--and I've seen this show so often that is something difficult to do. Both of them were so focused and the energy was palpable. They were going to conquer New York or die trying!
By the time they sang the "11 o'clock number," "How do you fall back in love?" the audience gave them a long sustained applause and when they ended the show there was a standing ovation and they easily could have taken more bows.
The festival organizers said that they had received a stronger reaction than any other festival piece thusfar, and everyone was THRILLED.
We said goodbye to Ida, Bobbie and Leo, who went home. We waited around for Steve and Jimmy and then went with them and a small group up to Sam's place, on 47th St. Another 10 blocks to walk! (I can't believe how much I've walked today!)
We sat around talking about how great the show had been and figuring out how we could get more people to come to the rest of the run.
We finally left the restaurant around 12:30, walked back up to Broadway and caught a cab, where I gratefully collapsed until we got here to the hotel. Now I have to face the two flights of steep stairs up to our room. It's been a long day, but a terrific one. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Now if only this will get attention from the "right" people. Everybody cross your fingers!