Without going into too much story, I had "post anxiety" about this trip. I left transformed, the pathway forward in life becoming rapidly clear where it had been uncomfortably murky upon arrival. The people, the places, the time spent, and the little details that I may have missed without help along the way, they all left me feeling touched, moved, and inspired.
Instead of the multiple drafts I started about all the ways I was impacted in New York City, I've chosen to detail the epicness of this trip and allow the transformation to unfold naturally through the direction this blog will inevitably take.
Without further ado - NYC - Part 1: The Road to Waitress
Arrival: Newark, NJ Airport
Wednesday, 3 May around noontime
This trip wouldn't have been possible, let alone as impactful as it was without my dear friend and fellow blogger Mari Partyka. She picked me up from their airport and brought me stay at her home, which served as the home base and decompression zone for my time in New York City. We had a brief lunch, cut from the garden, then head into the city for our first planned event.
Wednesday, May 3 @ 7:30pm
Waitress on Broadway, starring Sara Bareilles
Brooks Atkins Theater, W 47th St, New York, NY
When I learned that Sara Bareilles would be starring Waitress, her broadway musical writing debut, I booked my ticket to NYC. The culmination of being a musical theatre nerd circa my teen-hood, a Sara Bareilles fan as long as iPods have been around, and having never seen a Broadway show before set the stage (ha) for my best trip to New York yet.
The show was so beautifully constructed. The music, having heard it endlessly in my headphones at home, was brand new as Sara and the cast poured everything they had into the performance. It appeared that Sara might be under the weather, her voice not so strong in the beginning of the show.
It didn't take long for her to get her groove. What may have surprised me the most was how incredible her acting was. She was relatable, personal, hilarious, and to the perfect density for the stage. Theatrics toes a fine line of transporting you to the another world and being overly expressive and dramatic. Sara and her cast of supporting ladies and gents nailed it.
Click an image to see it and browse the gallery in full-screen.
The set was out of this world.
The movable structures were minimal but impactful, the band on stage was a hit, and the neon signs first for Joe's Pie Diner and then for Lulu's Pies were so fitting. Bordering the curtain on either side were full-height rotating pie shelves with pies of all kinds displayed in glass.
Did I mention that the theatre smelled like pie?
When you walk in, you are struck by the comforting warm scent of fresh baking pie. The source? Actual pies being baked behind the scenes. These small details made the experience extra special. Mari and I had center mezzanine seats - IE the perfect vantage point. From there we could see from the perfect distance all of the hilarious character interactions, down to the facial expressions.
Waitress the Musical is an absolutely MUST SEE.
The cast is talented and hilarious, the writing is superb, and the music is an exquisite example of modern musical theatre composition. Get your tickets here, you won't regret it!
I was also lucky enough to catch this lady leaving through the stage door!
It was true - she wasn't feeling well and didn't stay to sign autographs. I even heard a member of the crowd say that she hadn't performed the night before and her presence tonight was a surprise!
Unsurprisingly, she was the epitome of down-to-earth grace and awesomeness.
She bid farewell and thanks to her fans on both sides of the throng, almost entirely waiting for her, then ducked into a car to head home, hopefully to take care of herself.
Thank you Mari Partyka for this photo - I was too busy fangirling to even think about my phone.
The rest of my evening looked exactly as above.
I spent about 90 seconds being a tourist in Times Square, gratefully took my window seat on the train, and came home to a generous hospitality basket from my lovely host.