Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wicked Divas Concert

Last weekend I attended the Wicked Divas Concert with the Utah Symphony with my mom at Abravanel Hall. It was AMAZING! I loved every minute of it. Two singers were brought in for the concert-Julia Murney and Stephanie J. Block. Both women have played Elphaba in Wicked. I don't remember seeing Julia Murney play Elphaba but Stephanie J. Block is my most favorite Elphaba of all time. (I have even seen Idina Menzel who originated the role on Broadway play Elphaba.) This is the first time I have attended one of Stephanie's concerts (and it better not be the last). I saw her as Elphaba numerous times (on tour and Broadway) and as Judy Bernly in the musical 9 to 5 when it was playing in Los Angeles (before it went to Broadway). My friend Matt used to work with Stephanie decades ago at Disneyland and would tell me the funniest stories.

Back to the concert. I went with Mom Friday night to see it. I think I had a perma-grin on my face the whole time. I loved the songs these women sang. The instrumental pieces were amazing too. It was a perfect blend of orchestral and singing Broadway-style songs. I loved it so much I bought a single ticket and went Saturday night by myself to see it again! So good! I must admit, I enjoyed Friday night better because Stephanie sang Defying Gravity. (No one beats her Defying Gravity!) She sang Popular and Julia sang Defying Gravity Saturday night. Although Saturday night after Stephanie sang My Heart Will Go On, the entire audience was so entranced with the song there was a moment of silence between the last notes of the music and the audience clapping. It was magical! Here are some pictures from Friday night.

Three Divas-Julia Murney, Me, Stephanie J. Block

Me and the Amazing Stephanie J. Block-I can't get enough of her!

Michael, Me, and Chihuly*

The Close Up Version*

*Friday night I went to the Concert with my Mom. Michael randomly showed up after the concert. I think he is stalking me. Since we were dressed so nice, we decided to snap a few pictures. Thanks Chihuly for providing us with such a wonderful background.

Valentine's Day Ice Castles

Valentine's Day was a Furlough Day at work. I love Furlough Days! I am hoping for some more next year. Work can keep their money as long as I don't have to show up! My big Valentine's Day activity was to go see the Ice Castles in Midway, Utah with my parents. An artist made these ice castles out of a series of sprinklers and pipes. They are amazing! Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A New York Minute

It happened in a New York Minute, but it has taken me a month and a half to blog about it. I'm not used to this whole 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week job thing. I know most of you are saying, "Wah, wah!" Anyway, three days after I arrived home from Nashville on Christmas, my mom and I hit the airways and headed back East.

We departed for New York City a day after a blizzard had dumped mounds and mounds of snow. Our flight was not canceled but it was delayed two hours. That posed a slight problem as time was getting less and less between landing in Newark, NJ and getting to the Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular.

Once we landed in Newark, we channeled the racers on Amazing Race and booked it to the Music Hall. Our first challenge was to get a taxi. Once we got a taxi, we asked the driver if he had ever seen the Amazing Race. He said he had so we told him we had to get to the Music Hall in less than an hour. He took side streets and various other maneuvers to get us to our destination. After giving him a hefty tip, we entered the Music Hall less than ten minutes after the Christmas Spectacular started. Luckily Mom had already seen at least six times that season, and I had heard it over 100 times. It was awesome to see the show performed on that magnificent stage with twice as many Rockettes than I am used to. We took our time leaving the Hall.

A Christmas Tree inside the Radio City Music Hall
We decided to bundle up and walk to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. We didn't make it past the Music Hall's stage door before I ran into some people I knew. Two were performers in the show I had worked with in previous years and two were performers in my show that were visiting like I was. It was fun to talk with them in the freezing weather. We all had stories to tell of our Christmas travels. Good times!

Mom and I made it to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. We took a lot of pictures and saw it from every possible angle. It looks pretty on TV but, in real life, it is AWESOME!

Since we arrived after the blizzard of 2010, we found out how they got rid of all the snow. They couldn't just shovel it to the road because it would just be mounds and mounds of snow blocking the sidewalk and lanes of traffic. It would never melt until July! They have workers shovel the snow into huge plastic laundry bins. Then they wheel it to the road. The snow is then put into huge garbage trucks and hauled out of the city. Where the final destination is nobody knows?? It's NYC's well-kept secret. My guess is the Hudson River. These snow shovelers sure had their work cut out for them!

Snowflakes on the Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store

Huge Christmas light decorations

Crowne Plaza Times Square Christmas Tree
Late that night (after a huge slice of pizza from Patzeria Perfect Pizza), we checked into our home away from home at the Crowne Plaza Times Square. We got our money's worth in the less than 12 hours we spent there.

The following day was a busy one. We managed a little bit of sleeping in and then it was go, go, go. Our first stop was Macy's Department Store. Macy's always decorates their shop windows so cute for Christmas. This year's theme was "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus". All of the cutouts were made out of paper and moved. It was amazing!

We rode the subway back to Times Square. We ate lunch at another one of our favorite places Virgil's. We then dodged the huge puddles on every street corner and headed to the Marriott Marquis Theatre. We saw the Donny and Marie: A Broadway Christmas show. Poor Donny and Marie were overcoming illnesses so they weren't at the top of their game but they still put on a wonderful show. What made it even better was my friend was performing in the show. I found out later he was the swing and he rarely was onstage. But that day, he was!

After the show, I waited at the stage door to see my friend. Performers from the show came out and kept telling us that Donny and Marie weren't coming out. I told them I wasn't waiting for them but for my friend. They were able to go back inside and have my friend paged. We talked for a little while, took the above picture, and Mom and I continued on our journey.

Setting up the New Year's Eve stage in Times Square

Tons of snow in Times Square-Dirty!
We walked back to the Radio City Music Hall. We wanted to see the first ten minutes of the Christmas Spectacular we had missed the night before. We told the people taking tickets our situation from the day before. Amazingly enough, they felt sorry for us, and let us in. We had better seats than we had paid for the night before! We saw the first ten minutes of the show. I was also able to see my friend Brad perform. (He has been performing in the NY show since 2007.)

We had just enough time to pick up our luggage from the Crowne Plaza and then walk to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre where Elf was playing. Elf was very cute!

We got on the JITNY (sp?) and headed to my Aunt Caren's house across the Hudson River. We were able to see her place all decorated for Christmas. Very cute! She was willing to drive us to JFK at a very early hour the following morning so we could fly home.

My less than 48 hour trip to New York City was so worth it. If you EVER have a chance to go to NYC at Christmas time, you better not let it pass you by! It is MAGICAL!!! After we came home, I told my mom that we might have to change our NYC trip from annual to semi-annual. I just can't get enough....