Monday, June 29, 2009

First 2 Days in NY

Well, I can officially call myself a New Yorker.

Not really. But in the last 2 days, I managed to get stuck in major parade-created traffic, get forced out (sorta) of my dorm room, watch an (off?)-Broadway show, take the subway several times (successfully!!) and, oh yeah—go to CAP21.

But let’s begin with yesterday. My day started at 6:30, when I woke up, got dressed, packed up a few final things, and drove with Dad to SFO. We get to the airport no problem, and I get through security and all that pretty quick. Then I grabbed a breakfast sandwich from the food place and wait for the airplane to start boarding people.

Random: the hand dryers in the SFO bathrooms are so cool! They’re like the traditional hand dryer, but instead of a big fan, you stick your hands in a little machine and, as you slowly drag them out, a “blade” of really fast air blasts at your fingers. Sounds strange in writing, but it was cool.

Anyway, I got on the airplane in what must be the family section, especially since I’m seated right next to this little boy. Now, I know what you’re thinking—uh oh, crying baby time! But I was pretty lucky, because he was, for the most part, pretty quiet. Sure, he shuffled around and talked a little too loudly and watched TV on his daddy’s laptop without headphones, but it wasn’t too bad. And the other little kids weren’t horrible. No more than half an hour of wailing, I’d guess.

The plane wasn’t as cool as I thought it’d be. The entertainment system got old really fast, though it was pretty cool using the touch screen to order my food. I didn’t want to pay for movies, and the little games were pretty lame. There was TV, but it didn’t list what was playing at the different times, and I’ve definitely been spoiled by TiVo and not-TiVo. So I watched a lot of Law and Order: SVU, since it was on reruns on USA, and America’s Next Top Model, on Oxygen. Both were on reruns.

Now, yes, I did try to sleep, I promise! But I didn’t get much, maybe an hour at most. I was just too easily distracted. Add that to the four and a half hours of sleep I’d gotten from the post-alumni show dinner, and I was pretty fatigued. Oddly enough, though, I didn’t feel terribly tired. I just was pretty low energy.

I did eat a steak sandwich, after picking out the veggies. It was surprisingly decent. I also had an Airborned water bottle, a mini-water bottle (plain), and a Coke. But that’s it.

5 hours later we land at JFK, and I take my time getting out of the terminal. I get my luggage quickly and found the Ground Transportation desk, where I “called” SuperShuttle to get picked up. 20 minutes+1 phone call home later, the guy gets me and we get on the shuttle.

Now here’s where it got sticky. It’s about 5:30, and he still has to pick up a bunch of other people in the (huge!!) airport. I need to check in before 8pm, or else call ahead and explain that I’ll be late. We get all our people by 6, and I’m hoping to be in by 7. I figure, worst case, once 7:30 runs around I’ll call them and say I might be late.

Well I forgot about traffic, and now it’s 7:30. We only have 3 of the 9 people left, so I’m hoping he’ll drop me off before 8pm. But when he doesn’t, and it’s 7:45, I try to call NYU Summer Housing. Sadly, I don’t have the number for the specific dorm, and the general office is closed. So I call Mom and Dad frantically and finally get the number (thanks Dad!!). The receptionist tells me that if I come in after 8, the security guard will let me in. It might be the unconventional way, but it will work.

The driver guy takes a bunch of side streets, because the Pride Parade is taking over the major streets, but we finally get there at 8:15. Hooray! I go inside and am greeted by a very crabby-looking security guard. When I tell her I’m there to check in, she says that the security guards can’t. Which is when I start to panic. Does this mean I have no place to stay for the night?!? But she calls down an RA, who gets me the forms I need.

Or does she? Because she can’t find the key. And she’s looking around the office but she can’t find my little envelope with room 406 on it. And she can’t find a spare. Apparently the people who lived in that room last never returned the key. Perfect. She actually finds the receptionist (or whoever runs the check in’s etc) and they talk, and they give me an option. Either they find me another room for the night, just so I can get some sleep and put my (extremely heavy!) backpack down, or they’ll use the 4th floor master key to let me in, and then hopefully my roommate will let me back in, should I choose to leave (which I planned to do—I desperately needed food!). At this point, I was really frustrated, so I said I didn’t care. So they brought me up to the room and unlocked the door.

Except… for some reason, the door wouldn’t unlock. So she bangs on the door loudly for a while. After what seems like an eternity, an Asian girl in PJs and bushy hair opens the door. She was probably asleep. I walk in, the RA still behind me. The room is strange. It enters straight into the bedroom, with a hallway in the back and then another room behind this one. As in, anytime someone wants to go to the back room/bathroom, they have to go in the first room. Sounds like a complete lack of privacy!

It gets better. This sleepy girl tells us that there aren’t any empty beds; that the room is full. At this point, I’m so tired and frustrated that I barely can think. We walk into the hallway, and I stay there while the RA gets the binders with all the information. Turns out that one of the girls extended her stay, and only half the stuff was updated. I’m listed for being checked in a week early (which is bizarre, since I’m definitely not), and I’m listed for room 1716. We make our way downstairs, where another girl is now at the reception desk and she gets me a key to the room. And I make my way up the elevators.

I open the door to 1716 and find 2 open beds. 1 is a bunk. My roommate Elise’s already there, apparently has been for at least a week. I am beyond relieved, you have no idea!!! I start to unpack, then call home. Then I realize I desperately need food, so Elise and I walk to a quick hot-dog store and I grab a hot dog, fries and a mango drink. Apparently the restaurant is famous-was in Sex and the City or something-and the food isn’t bad. The hot dog is a little small, and by the time I eat the fries they’re a little cold, but the mango drink is sweet and cool. We go back to the dorm to eat, and then I finish unpacking. It takes me forever to set up my computer, since the Ethernet cable only works with half the phone connections—there is 1 phone line and 1 data line on each phone connector thing—and one of them is broken while the other is in use. But I set it up, get my computer registered (took a while, though), and am now connected to the internet! Hooray!!

After that, I quickly review my audition material for the next day, and go to sleep. I set my alarm for 7:00, so that I can have plenty of time to shower and eat breakfast before I get to CAP21 at 9AM.

Well… I couldn’t get to sleep. And my alarm clock either didn’t go off, or I turned it off or something, because next thing I know it’s 8:30 and I’m in major panic mode. I take the shortest shower ever (less than 5 minutes) because I feel gross from the airplane and I need clean hair for an audition!! Then I walk as fast as I can to CAP21, without stopping for food. Which was really, really stupid.

I get to CAP21 and go up the elevator. I’m a little late, but it’s actually not a huge deal. I change into my (really baggy) dance pants and sit in “The Shop,” which is one of the studio rooms. I find Sophie and Rachel, which was a relief, and fill out some paperwork and listen to some orientation blahdeblah. Then we start the dance audition—sorry, “placement” tests.

The combinations are actually really easy. Fast sways, cha├«nes, grapevines, a pirouette. It was just crazy-fast. And I’m running on empty. I have to mark it a bit during the reviews. I’m not hungry, actually, but I think it’s because I’m beyond hunger. I’m just drained.

The ballet and jazz placements were first, and then those who said they had No Tap got to leave. I said I’d had tap (which I did! I swear!), so we did that. It was surprisingly easy—flaps, ball changes, and time steps. Now, I’m not saying I did the steps well, but I got the basics, at least. But then we had to do something called a rolling shuffle, which looked easy but was rather challenging. I think I managed not to make a huge fool out of myself though, thankfully. I got at least 4 mostly-correct, mostly-in time rolling shuffles in, out of 16. That may sound lame, but it was actually pretty good. Some people in that room weren’t very good. (It was the beginner’s room, so I’m not trying to be rude—I’m just trying to be honest.)

We finished, and Sophie, Rachel and I went to this overpriced bakery place down the street. It was actually quite good. I had catfish, broccoli, watermelon and honeydew. It felts good to have something healthy, especially after all that dance. Then I walked back home, since the singing/acting placement wasn’t for 2 more hours.

I get back and change into a slightly better outfit, then run to the music practice room and review my music. I was planning on singing Cain’t Say No and Meadowlark, but I realized that I just didn’t have the belt to finish Meadowlark, so I traded it for Mister Snow. It worked out that way—Cain’t Say No showed off the belt, and Mister Snow showed off the soprano. And I reviewed my monologue, which I put together from my scene in my Acting 252b class with Beth. Considering the time constraint, it would have to do.

Walked back to CAP21 and got there 15 minutes early. Once they called my name, I went in and showed the pianist exactly where I wanted to start. He told me they’d probably cut me off, so I eliminated the patter-ness of the songs and went straight into the refrains. I started with the monologue, which went well, and they seemed interested in watching. I almost wish this were an actual audition—they were so friendly and nice! Then Cain’t Say No. I got through the whole cut. I got through the first half of Mister Snow—not the best part, but it was fine. Then they asked me a few questions about where I was from and where I was staying, and then I left!

I knew I was going to have to take the subway when I went to The Wiz with Sophie and Rachel, so I took a practice ride down to my dorm. (It’s apparently the same amount of time to walk between CAP21 and my dorm as it is to take the subway. BUT it’s a lot less walking… ;D) I got in OK, took a little while as I got confused between the F train to Coney Island Exp vs… well, one without the Exp. But I got on it fine, and got off on the very next stop (naturally). Found my way back by recognizing the stores we passed when we got dinner the night before, then went back to the room to find directions on getting to The Wiz and unpacking the small amount of groceries that I’d purchased before getting on the subway (Special K bars, a Campbells microwavable soup, salted almonds… and Oreos. =D)

Before leaving for The Wiz, I stopped at the hot dog store again. This time I got 2 hot dogs, and the guy at the register was calling me “pretty lady” and said I had a “beautiful smile.” It was very nice and almost embarrassing!! But then I got on the subway, headed Uptown, and managed to grab a seat for myself. Then I got off at the correct stop and proceeded to get myself to the theatre.

It was 6:10. I’d left really early, just in case I got lost, so I arrived 20 minutes before I thought I’d meet Sophie and Rachel. Luckily, I brought a book. Unfortunately, I was on the last 10 pages. I finished within 10 minutes, so I just sat around and waited. I thought I saw someone who miiiight have been Sutton Foster walk in past me—she walked so quickly that I didn’t see her for more than a second, so it very well could have been someone else—but you never know! ;) I finally decided to head in at 6:45. Of course, at 6:47, Sophie calls me and asks if I’m there yet. So I wait at the stairs and we head in together.

Our seats are in the balcony, pretty far left. It wasn’t terrible, but we were surrounded by people who didn’t have proper theatre-going habits: they crinkled wrappers, talked during the show, took pictures (including FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!!!) and apparently sang along to the songs! It was straaaaange. But we moved up during intermission, and it was a lot better then.

The production itself was really good. There was a huuuge orchestra, the set was awesome, the ensemble dancers were great and the singers were really good. Ashanti as Dorothy was a great singer, but not my favorite actor. (Not like that part is particularly challenging though.) LaChanze as Aunt Em/Glinda was great, I love her voice!! And James Monroe Iglehart, who’s based in the Bay Area and has been in shows that I’ve seen there, was really good too. He was the Lion—I’d expected him to have an ensemble part, but nope, he was a lead! 2nd to last bow, Sophie noticed. He was really good.

After the show, we waited at the stage door and then said hi to James. He was really nice! Hooray! At that point I was totally exhausted, so I found the subway station (or rather, I told Rachel the intersection and she told me it was down the street), waited what seemed like forever for the subway to come (they come far less often at 10:30 than at 6pm, I’ve learned!), and came back to the dorm. And spent the last hour typing up my day.

Tomorrow, the real fun begins. First day of classes. Then I’ll get my official ID card and get some real groceries, instead of just these snacky foods. (On the plus side, because of the massive mess of getting a room, the security lady knows me. I show her my temporary ID, and she just winks at me. So she knows my face. And the receptionist girl+RA both have run into me and asked how I was doing.)

So if you want to send me lotsa presents (and I KNOW you do!!), here’s my address:

33 Washington Square West #1716
New York, NY 10011

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oops

Guys and Dolls is closing next week.

And of course, Guys and Dolls is one of the shows my family planned on seeing when they visited me.

I should have figured--with their $7.77 with one full-priced ticket offer, it couldn't have been doing well, so I'm actually not surprised. Bummed, yes, because I would have liked to see Lauren Graham, but so be it. Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise--my parents keep commenting on how we should have gotten tickets for Billy Elliot, especially since it won so many awards.

So looks like we'll be looking into other options for a show on the 4th of July!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tony Awards

So last night was the Tony Awards, AKA the best award show of the year. Hooray! I had a few friends over and we snacked and discussed opinions throughout the evening. And now I shall share a few of my thoughts here:

I think I've already filed Billy Elliot into the slot in the back of my mind where all the slightly older, clearly successful shows that have audiences and aren't closing anytime soon (Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia...) live. As in, it exists, it's a show that "normal people" are going to see and love, it's not running any danger of closing, and I don't feel a major need to see it. So I kept forgetting that it was nominated (and nominated and nominated and nominated...). And, not gonna lie, I'm a little bummed that it won so many awards. Of course, having never seen it, I don't know if it was well deserved, so my POV is merely that of rooting for the underdog. And I must say, the dance they chose to represent the show? Eh. I still have no iea what it's about, I wasn't exteremely impressed, and there was no singing! Me likey singing!! The lighting was interesting, I suppose, but that dance did nothing for me. (Not to mention the actor's little yelps sounded rediculous and strange. Me no likey.) And I was hoping for an Avenue Q moment, with some other unexpected option wins over the frontrunner. Alas... no can do. Though the Billy's acceptance speech was the cutest thing I've ever seen. Stuttering over themselves, all having the same thank you's to their families... So adorable and sweet! I can't imagine what it's like, winning a Tony at that age. Wow!!!

I've never been a huge Hair fan, but I really enjoyed their number, as well as their section in the gigantic opening number. I told my friend, "they're having way too much fun up there," and it was awesome! I wanted to dance around with them. After the Tony Awards last night I went and listened to the Actors' Fund of America Benefit Recording of Hair that I got as a present my last birthday and heard it all the way through. Even after listening to the CD, I still don't know anything about what Hair's about, but they looked like they were having so much fun that they've sold me, and I'll be seeing that show in NY.

Next to Normal's song was fantastic. I know nothing about the show, yet in that song I feel like I learned so much. And I really want to know more. The music was good, the acting was intense, and now I really want to see the show. (Luckily, I'm off to NY in 3 weeks!)

Shrek looked like a Spamalot lite. Rock of Ages looked like a Hair gone wrong. The former made me laugh, so I'm excited to see that. Rock of Ages also made me laugh, but not in a good way. I might be seeing that, but more to laugh at it than with it. Hopefully my negative feelings towards Rock of Ages will be changed if I see it... So we'll see. I'm trying to keep an open mind!

West Side Story was classic West Side Story for me. I'm excited to see that one, but I didn't see much new in their performances at the Tonys. Of course, their section in the opening number was cool. I wanted more of the Spanish shown in their preview number. I thought Maria would be speaking to Tony in Spanish...? Well, I'll be seeing for myself, in NY, it sounds like!

Guys and Dolls... Well, that was interesting. I liked the performances, though the updated ending seemed unnatural. And the screen as a backdrop was strange. Hopefully a good strange, because my family has tickets for that show!

(By the way... what was up with the tech last night?? You'd think that for the TONY AWARDS they'd not have so many screw ups! The techie running onstage and giving Tituss Burgess a microphone in the middle of the number, all the problems in the opening number, and I'm sure more that I can't remember now... It was depressing and definitely took away from the experience.)

I have nothing to say about Pal Joey, except I'm not a big fan of the song Joey. Mostly because someone sang it in a class of mine, and I didn't like it then. But that's unimportant, so that's all I'll say.

It was really cool having some of the touring casts perform. I'm just curious as to if those shows all were dark tonight, or if they had to bring in understudies or what. And why was Legally Blonde's so much shorter than the others?? The others did full songs, but Legally Blonde's was super-short. I think Jersey Boys did a good job, even though my TV had technical difficulties in the middle of the number. Mamma Mia wasn't good. But whatever. And Legally Blonde could have been a lot better, with a different number and/or a longer time segment.

And Neil Patrick Harris was a great host! Definitely better than Whoopi Goldberg. I loved his ending song, and he had a bunch of good jokes in there too. And he's rather adorable. So good job, Neil Patrick Harris.

Ok, I've typed enough, and I'm pretty sure that's all my thoughts on the shows. I don't know any of the plays, so I can't comment on those... and you probably wouldn't want to read them anyway. Haha. So that's all folks! Until next year, that is. ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Movies, Musicals, and Scripts

I just got back from watching the movie Up with my boyfriend. All I have to say is, GO SEE IT!! I loved it. I'm still smiling from it. It's heartwarming and funny and sad and sweet and wonderful, all at the same time. And the short film at the beginning is probably my favorite Pixar short yet. I'm not quite sure if Up was as good as Wall-E, which I adored beyond words, but it's definitely up there. And hopefully I'll be seeing it again!

In other news, my family got tickets to see some shows in NY the 4th of July weekend. (They're going to visit me while I'm at CAP21--it's pretty much an excuse for them to see some shows! Hehe.) We got great seats for Shrek-row D. I'll actually be able to see their faces! Sutton Foster better be there that night, that's all I gotta say. We're also seeing Guys and Dolls and In the Heights. Those seats aren't as good, but I'm still thrilled. (Though I saw a video of Lauren Graham singing Marry the Man Today on YouTube and I have to say, I wasn't extremely impressed. Hopefully she has a strong character in the show, because I could see her voice working if it's in accord with her interpretation of Adelaid... But right now, I'm a little nervous.) Besides, I have all the rest of my time in NY to get great seats. I'm planning on getting some student rush/lottery tickets! Hooray!

I went to the library today and got a ton of plays to read: My Sister Eileen, I Remember Mama, Noises Off, M. Butterfly, Stop Kiss, and Wendy Wasserstein's collection of plays: Isn't It Romantic, The Heidi Chronicles and Uncommon Women and Others. I'm really excited. The first 2 plays I started reading at the library and they seemed like they might be good. Noises Off is something I've been meaning to read for a long time, and same for Stop Kiss. I always mean to read M. Butterfly in my theatre history class, but never got around to reading it.... Oops. But I'm super intreagued. And I've done a scene from Isn't It Romantic, and some other people in my acting class did part of The Heidi Chronicles... So needless to say, I've got a good reading list. Not to mention all the other books I've purchased/borrowed from the library these last few weeks. My reading list is rediculous! On the plus side, my TV-watching has gone down a lot, though I still have lots of delightful Bones on DVD to watch.

Alright. Off to sleep. Hopefully, since I biked to the library today instead of driving, tonight I'll be able fall asleep sooner. I've gotten on a horrible sleep schedule, and it needs to change! Soon! Good night all.