Day 2: Rock Love Austin on Broadway

5 Jun

 

rocklovephantomAfter a wonderfully full first day in NYC, we decided to take it a bit easier on our second day. We slept in, read the New York Times, watched some TV in bed and took our time getting ready. Our first outing of the day wasn’t until a 1 p.m. walk down the street to get a couple slices of pizza (and a coke for $5, what a deal*). We had a pretty wide open plan for Friday, and even though Plan A fell through and Plan B wasn’t all we’d hoped, we still had another great day in New York.

*It wasn’t jaw-droppingly delicious pizza, but for $5? Damn good!
TheStrandCaitlin had talked up Strand Bookstore to me for weeks and as soon as we walked in, I immediately found out why. Brand new hardcover books. Half off. Still, that’s nothing if there isn’t a big selection, as we learned from a tiny bookstore on our way to Strand that was smaller than our living room. But Strand is enormous, with huge collections of my favorite kinds of books. Massive comedy and memoir sections, and all at half off. I was thrilled to find the brand new Todd Glass Situation for $12.50, when you can’t even get it for under $18.63 on Amazon. Don’t tell Book People. I have a new favorite book store. I got a sweet Strand tote for $2 and Caitlin got a great comedy book for her dad. I frequented Strand the summer that I lived in New York — it’s all over the place in a very comforting way. We spent over an hour in the store, and it went by in the blink of an eye.

cocoahandsAfter Strand, we ducked into Max Brenner for some hot cocoa. I talked Caitlin into getting the salted caramel hot chocolate, since you can get regular hot chocolate anywhere*. She was not disappointed. I probably should have gone for something dessert-y, but was still full from the pizza and opted for coffee.

*Sort of. The French version of uber-rich hot chocolate is hard to come by, but I’m still glad mine had a touch of caramel.

Since we wanted to see one of the hot plays on Broadway, but we didn’t feel like spending a couple hundred dollars per ticket, we went for the rush ticket lottery option in hopes of getting into Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was surprisingly fun. You get there 2.5 hours before show time and write your name down on a slip of paper. 2 hours before the show they draw 10 names and give out a pair to each winner. I took video of the 5-minute process and seriously recommend watching it. Everyone who wins has a great reaction and it was exciting, even though, spoiler, we didn’t win. Sorry Neil Patrick Harris — maybe another time.

the_phantom_of_the_operaThe back-up plan was Phantom, since we knew we could get tickets at the last minute and since Caitlin had seen the play and movie and loved it and was pretty confident I would too*. We grabbed tickets and headed back to the hotel to change into theater clothes. We were in a time crunch, so we went back to Grey Dog since we enjoyed it so much the day before, it was quick, and right by our entrance to the Subway. It took a bit longer than we hoped, but was delicious and we got to our seats with time to spare.

*I’d say that’s generous at best. I never thought this would be Zack’s favorite, but I was hoping if he went in with an open mind, he’d enjoy the spectacle of it all. I also forgot how much damn opera is in this thing (which, given the title, makes me embarrassed to admit).

phantomagainPhantom of the Opera is not for me. It may be a legendary, lavishly produced musical with great songs that has made it the longest running play in Broadway history. But yeah, I didn’t enjoy it. The woman playing Carlotta had a lovely singing voice, but it was quite difficult to understand the words she was singing, which left me more or less unable to follow the first 30 minutes of the play*. There were times I enjoyed the production. The chandelier was really cool. I enjoyed the way the stairs and fog revealed the world of darkness and I thought the Phantom and Christine were well acted, but it just never connected with me. If we had great seats and an ideal cast and all that jazz, I still don’t think I’d have been that into it. Oh, well. I’m not disappointed we went, even if I enjoyed the lottery for Hedwig more than I enjoyed Phantom (sorry). As Zack mentioned, I’m kind of an Andrew Lloyd Webber fanatic, and I have particularly loved Phantom for years. I was so obsessed with the movie version, in fact, that my parents purchased me the organ grinder music box that is featured prominently in the production. I will be the first to admit that this was the worst production I’ve seen. That doesn’t mean it was terrible — far from it. I thought the Phantom and Raul were excellent. But Christine mumbled her words together and they weren’t well-mic’d so I found myself explaining a LOT to Zack during both intermission and at the end. Not sad we went, but I’ll have to find another Lloyd Webber fan to take with me next time around.

*Minnie Driver does a MUCH better job in the movie.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.48.44 PMWhen the play let out, every other play on Broadway let out and we were released into the hell on earth that is Times Square at 10:30 p.m. It’s worse than the worst night on Dirty 6th*. Thankfully, we ended the night on a high note, hitting up the best dessert spot in the city. A place we’d return to again and the spot that is now the leading contender for our wedding cake, but we’ll get into that tomorrow in our post entirely devoted to the food we ate on the trip. Until then.

*Easily worse. I mean, it’s not a fair comparison — there are probably 20 times the amount of people in Times Square than on Dirty Sixth, and Times Square is narrower in places.

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