Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Tony's Are Coming! The Tony's Are Coming!

As I anticipate June's coming and my first summer stock gig, another major event is about to commence: The Tony's. Given to Broadway's best each June, I will have actually seen a good chunk of these shows, as opposed to being a clueless spectator in isolated Indiana, all knowledge coming from heresay, blogs, and if you are above the age of 40 (or me), The New York Times. In the musical categories, the current revival of La Cage aux Folles and an original piece Fela! lead the nominations with 11-a-piece. As with the Oscars, I am presented with the monumental and tempting task of attempting to see everything before it closes or I leave for PA. But what to do about all those that have already closed? How could I have missed A View from the Bridge or Time Stands Still (thank God this is one slated to return for a limited run in the fall). And then there's all the shows I'm trying to catch from last year (and the year before and before, etc). I may have made my way to Next to Normal, but what about Billy Elliot? How about those recent big hits Jersey Boys, In the Heights, or Mary Poppins? I know the revivals of Hair, West Side Story, and South Pacific can only run so long. And how about those indomitable titans The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, or The Phantom of the Opera which has made Hal Prince and Andrew Lloyd Webber so much money they'd need to rent out another theater to hold it all? Oi vey! Don't people see I have things to do; I've got to get to the theater!Now being Broadway, we are also presented with the predicament that Broadway shows are much (and usually much, much) more expensive than movie tickets. After freeloading off of as many visitors, relations, and dates as possible, I still find myself with a huge list of "to-see." Now, "You are coming back to New York," you might say, which, as far as I know, is true. But who can foresee the tricky probability that is Broadway openings and closings? Will all the nominees make it to Tony night? And if they are shut out will closing notices immediately follow? Undoubtedly, The Addams Family, which received very few nominations and toilet reviews, will run much longer than even the Toniest of its competition because of its star power and commercial comic-strip appeal. These are the thoughts and decisions mostly running through my head these days. In the past week, I have caught last year's Best Play God of Carnage, Fela!, and Sondheim on Sondheim. Now of course, there are a few things I just have interest in seeing. What is Collected Stories? Why does Sherie Rene Scott have Everyday Rapture (and I'm sorry that's not the feeling her voice usually gives me). While I think a few categories are sure bets (Fela! for Best Musical, La Cage for Best Musical Revival, Fences for Best Play Revival), others are a bit more tricky. My favorite topic of conversation: Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Who will it be? It's a battle of the octogenarians, Lansbury and Cook, two sassy black ladies, one dancing, one singing, and one drunk, who will probably steal the award as she did the show (Promises, Promises). Though, after seeing Sondheim last night, the crowd's love for Barbara Cook, on Broadway for the first time in a long time (her bio reminds you she was a star in the 50's and 60's), may just lift the saggy songstress to Tony-dom. In the Best Actress in Musical category, I'm gunning for Catherine Zeta-Jones from Night Music but perhaps one of the unknown upstarts from Memphis, Finian's Rainbow, or Ragtime will take the Tony. Of course, there's always Sherie Renee . . . Let's just hope I have TV access come June 13, otherwise Millbrook may find they have a slightly grumpy Wilbur on deck. The 2010 Tony Awards will be presented live Sunday, June 13 at 8pm. Only on CBS.
Besides stalking the theatre elite, my life has been busy with work, late night munchies, and planning for my big trip. This week we had an unofficial read through of Hairspray which I am getting more and more excited about. I have been to a few auditions and even mozied over to Uncle Charlie's, singing an array of toons and forgetting my book. Despite an inopportune jackhammer, things have been going pretty well; the sun is (mostly) shining, and I feel I have finally fully shaken off my winter sleepiness and blues. The city, too, seems to be returning to life, our restaurant busier, tourists aplenty, and street fairs popping up on the street. Hungry and confused, I was recently a victim to Colombian street fair food, arriving in Astoria $15 poorer and full of tamales and rice. Let's hope my trip to PA sees me not only embrace my artistic side, but also locate the gym and vegetables, friends I seem to have lost contact along the way. No theatre tonight, as I am off to work, but who knows that next week's excitement may bring.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bradley in Boston

The rain and gray have returned to New York as our temperature dial keeps frantically switching from HOT to COLD and back and forth. Deciding to once again defy the weather's attempts to keep me in bed, I journeyed to Washington Heights for another lesson with my wonderful and patient vocal coach, Will. This past week has been another busy one, despite my efforts to as little as possible. After two consecutive closing shifts (i.e. lots of quality time with Locale and Stefano), I braved a Mother's Day Double. Running food and coaxing families, I had a hard time getting going, in part because of my late nights, but also due to the nature of Sunday's holiday. My thoughts were on home, on my family (it was 4 months from that fateful day, just in case anyone has forgotten), and of course my mom. I felt guilty for not being home, not calling (my butt just was not ready to be up before church hour), and bitter towards those that got to be spending the day with their loved ones. As soon as I walked in the restaurant it was packed, and I quickly got to work. Luckily, it was very busy that day, so I had little time to sulk over my own thoughts, needing to instead concentrate on toast preferences and egg options, not to mention all those specials (tomato gazpacho, rigatoni with spinach and tomato, apple nutella waffle, steak omelette, crabcake benedict, chicken marsala, hanger steak, shrimp tempura panini, oh yes I am that good). Deciding to release my anger, because no one wants to work with a Grumpy Gus, I plunged into the world of Mother's Day, charming the moms, complimenting their youth, keeping their cup full, etc, etc. I served Asian mommies, Greek mothers, Dominicans, Filipinos, Colombianas, and even a few good old-fashioned Americans. During dinner I became quick friends with a mom after my own heart a.k.a. a Belvedere (classy=pricey) vodka martini, dry with a lemon twist. We talked food and Paula Deen and movies, her recommendation to me being Babette's Feast (to her family: "I know he'll like it, we have a connection!"). As I served all those moms and their (sometimes obnoxious) families, it boosted my spirits to know that I was helping to give a special Mother's Day to these people, even if I couldn't do the same for my mom that day. Though it's been said before, and it's something that I begrudgingly know is true, you really do help yourself when you help others, that by putting yourself in the position of servitude (no, I'm not talking about that), it gives one a sense of peace of pleasure. I find that one of the most satisfying parts of my job (besides getting paid, because that is why I show up everyday), is when I can show people a good time, when they are responsive to my service (as opposed to when they are rude or dismissive). It was a long, somewhat stressful day, but we made it through, and even had enough energy for a drink after work (a dry, vodka martini with a twist of course).
Changing directions and locations, I travelled to Boston on Monday to visit my good friends Aaron and Chrstina. After a near miss, I made it onto the Megabus Monday morning, settling into my seat and cranking my iPod. Though it certainly was not the warmest day of this spring, the brisk weather was cut by some nice sunshine and the excitement of being in a new city (not too mention the new sweater I just got a deal on at the Gap - 45% off, how could I not?). After snaking through South Station's many levels of stairs, we jetted onto the T, Boston's (wannabe) subway system and descended into Harvard Square, the site of Aaron's even-higher education. Once I dropped off my two old lady bags in his dorm room (dorms! what a flashback!), we headed over to a neighborhood pub for lunch and beer. We decided the pub was the right decision, because one doesn't want to start the day with hard liquor, and we intended to have a long day of drinking ahead of us; furthermore, while Indian food is delicious, Bradley does not get much mileage out of coma-inducing curried fare. Buzzed and full (jalapeƱo poppers and jambalaya, yum!), we took to Harvard Square to see the shops and sights, acclimating me to the Ivy League environment. Making a pit stop for coffee, we then subbed it over to Boston Commons, Boston's (wannabe) version of Central Park. After judging people and their dogs, we met up with my Christina, another IU alum. Fresh from a meeting with her lawyer, we decided to immediately begin Happy Hour (though they have no such thing in Boston - damn Puritans!). Three flowery martinis later (it was love at St. Germain, my new favorite liqueur), we were feeling quite good and even soaking up a little sun on the patio. While the sun did not last very long, our buzzes did, especially after Christina and I went for a round sangria, peachy and delicious. Defying the wind with our newfound blood alcohol content, we stopped in at H&M and immediately decided to but matching yellow sunglasses. Now, if I were a smart person or a good tourist, I would have remembered my camera and taken a picture and put it at the top of this blog, but alas. Two drunk purchases later, Christina left us to study, and we walked over for a quick sushi dinner. The food was good, but I must say that it did not hold a candle to Japanee. Oh, Japanee, my heart, my Bloomington. Full, but not too full, of rice and raw fish, we took the train back to Harvard and regrouped before the evening's events. One of Aaron's Harvard buds was celebrating the end of his exams, and so we decided to perform our friendly duties (even though he was a stranger to me) and join him in his libations. It was a bit of an Academy rewind, as our group consisted nerdy, smart boys (Harvard remember), a nice changeup to the hooligans I usually hang out with. I survived the witty and political banter, glad I had decided not to smoke marijuana in college, and felt thoroughly refreshed that I, indeed, do have a brain. After the smart bar, we again mounted the train to Boston, taking a chance on Boston's version of Musical Mondays. The videos were there, the drinks were there, but where were all the people. Though some might think it strange or even ludicrous, New Yorkers see no problem partying their asses off on a Monday night. What a great way to start the week! Apparently, Bostonians have real jobs and do not see things as such. After hitting up another equally sleepy bar, we surrendered to IHOP, stuffing our faces with mozzarella sticks and pancakes before bed. In all, I really enjoyed my getaway to Boston and am planning as many such getaways as time and funds will allow. Being in New York (the center of the world if you have forgotten), I am train or bus trip away from a while myriad of East Coast destinations. Where will I show up next?