BWW Blog: Jessica Gould - A Week in New York Part 1
This past week, I took a visit to New York City. While I was there, I was able to partake in many activities, all centered around the arts. Here is what I did during a part of my week in the Big Apple!
I arrived in NYC on Tuesday, June 14th, along with my mother. First, we dropped off our things at our friend's apartment where we would be staying for the week. His apartment is at the perfect location because it is only a short walk away from Times Square and Broadway shows. A requirement to live in this apartment building is that you have to have been a show business professional for at least five years. It is home to costume designers, hair dressers, makeup artists, lighting designers, actors, singers, dancers, just to name a few.
After we were settled, my mother took me to Broadway Dance Center. Broadway Dance Center is a very well known dance studio in New York City that has trained many successful dancers in theatre.
I took a hip hop class from teacher David Thomas. This class was very challenging because most of the other dancers were adults and had a lot more experience than me. Regardless, I still had a lot of fun taking this class. I liked the hip hop combination a lot because it allowed you to add your own flair and personality to the choreography.
Once the class was over, we explored the garment district. My mom needed eggplant colored chiffon to make costumes for her Dance Company. We visited a lot of fabric stores. Some specialized in certain types of fabrics, such as leather or spandex, while others sold all kinds. There were even a few shops that only sold feathers, trims, or rhinestones! Because of the multitude of shops, we were able to find the perfect fabric for a good price.
My mother and I returned to our friend's apartment where we got ready for my favorite part of the day - seeing a Broadway show! Before we headed over to the theatre, we had dinner at a restaurant called B Squared. They made delicious pizzas and delectable rigatoni. It quickly became one of my favorite restaurants in New York.
Then, it was time to see the show! The show we bought tickets to was Bright Star. This musical conveys two stories in two different times, one set in the 1930s, while the other is in the 1950s. The score consists of country and folk music, and the direction and transitions are captivating. It is based off of a true story, and because Steve Martin wrote the script, it contains a lot of humor, while still expressing a heart-wrenching story.
We started our second day in New York City by eating breakfast at the Theatre Row Diner. I ordered a waffle sundae, which is a waffle with ice cream, whip cream, and walnuts, while she ordered an eggs benedict.
Later, we met one of my mother's former dance students, Leah Diaz, for coffee. It was so interesting to talk to her because her job is modifying Broadway shows for people with disabilities. For example, for audiences with autism, the sound is turned down and any flashing or strobe lights are taken out. There are quiet areas in the lobby for Audience members to take a break if the crowds become too much to handle, and the cast members are told what to expect from the audience prior to the performance. Musicals on Broadway usually only perform a limited number of these shows a year. It was a lot fun getting to talk to Leah and hear all about her inspiring job.
While venturing the streets of New York, we happened upon the Richard Rogers Theatre where Hamilton has been breaking box office records. It had a line of people extending two blocks in front of it! The line was for the lottery to win two front seat tickets to the show for ten dollars. My mother and I got there just in time to snag a good spot to watch the #ham4ham, where the cast of Hamilton and/or guests perform a song, before a large slew of people joined us. This #ham4ham featured Andrea Burns, an original cast member of In the Heights who is currently in On Your Feet, singing "What I Did For Love" from A Chorus Line.
Next up was an enchanting performance of Fiddler on the Roof! I was so happy that I was able to see a Broadway production of this fantastic musical. The choreography was fresh and new, and Danny Burstein made a hilarious Tevye. Seeing this musical that premiered in 1964 on Broadway again truly proved that it is a timeless show with a message, acceptance of people from all backgrounds, that will last for the ages.
This day was extra special because my mother and I also got to see The Color Purple that evening! Cynthia Erivo did not play Celie in the cast that we saw, but her understudy still had an outstanding voice and delivered a tear jerking performance. Each member of the cast could sing extraordinarily, and the script caused a lot of laughs as well as sobs.
Those were my first two days in New York City! In my next post, I will tell you about the other two days of my trip which were just as awesome!
Leah Diaz and I
Outside of the Richard Rogers Theatre
Me outside of the Broadway Theatre
Me outside of the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre