Give Me the Streets of Manhattan

Greetings all!  I’ve been noticeably absent since Saturday the 13th; a fact of which I am very aware and will now spend this post apologizing for by regaling you with tales from my spring break trip to New York City.  I didn’t mean to take such a long break from my blog.  Unlike most of my fellow twenty-something collegiate peers around the world, I wasn’t re-enacting scenes from Jersey Shore, doing shots of tequila out of weird crevasses on strangers’ bodies at crowded beaches or getting myself into situations worthy of recognition/embarrassment on the hilarious website Texts From Last Night.

My spring break was more like a business trip than a vacation.

I spent over a week in New York City attending free workshops with casting directors, Broadway actors, choreographers, etc.  My university has a great spring break program sponsored by our NYC alumni (and our wealthy board of directors) group who put together a week of workshops and a mock audition for aspiring Broadway actors, singers, and dancers at my school.  And it’s FREE. All I have to pay for is my plane ticket and a place to stay (which in my case, is nothing, since my aunt and uncle live in the City).  Great, right?

The truly fantastic thing about my school’s spring break program is it provides a safe environment for students to test their performance skills in a real-world setting in front of real, working Broadway professionals.  I look forward to this special week the entire school year, because each time I go, I learn new things about myself as a performer and as a person.  It also strips everyone of their school identities and equalizes us so we all have to work hard to prove ourselves instead of just relying on our reputations/popularity from school.  I’m pleased to say that I received extremely positive feedback from my mock audition and feel absolutely recharged in my abilities to actually excel at this crazy profession I’m getting into.  Believe me, no completely sane person would ever go into such a profession as acting.

New York City is like an electric charge too.

There is a palpable energy there like no other place in the world.  I feed off that energy every time I go.  Granted, I have a completely romantic notion of Manhattan (and its boroughs).  I swoon over the sight of the Brooklyn Bridge, taking long walks in Central Park, the lights of the Broadway marquees, the skyscrapers that reach high into the heavens, the paintings of the Impressionists at the Met, riding the subway, the noise of the traffic, the beauty of the Statue of Liberty.  The city is so full of history and extraordinary people it gives me goosebumps when I’m there amongst it all.  I feel the nervous excitement the immigrants felt as they left their old lives for a brand new one in the City That Never Sleeps.

New York City is my drug.  I’m addicted, and I can never get enough of it.

People in my hometown never understand what I’m studying or why I’d want to live in New York.  They say, “it’s a great place to visit, but not live.”  I disagree.  Where better to live than in a city so constantly alive?  I need a place like that; a place where I am surrounded by culture and art and history and people.  I feel free there.

While in New York, I saw four shows: Twyla Tharp’s new show Come Fly Away, Memphis, A Little Night Music, and Hair. I loved each show for different reasons.  I ended my week by seeing Hair, and I think that was the perfect show to close out spring break.  The energy of the cast is infectious, and I love all the audience interaction.  It really makes you feel a part of the show, especially a show about hippies!  Not only that, but I got to go dance onstage after the curtain call with the cast, and it was a blast!  You can watch my “Broadway debut” here.

“Keep your woods, O Nature, and the quiet places by the woods…give me the streets of Manhattan…with their powerful throbs, with the beating drums, as now; Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus—with varied chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes; Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.

—Walt Whitman

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2 Comments

  1. You owned that stage. I couldn’t believe I was watching my good friend dancing up a STORM on a broadway stage. The camera zoomed in on you and I actually started squealing. If my roommate didn’t already think I was crazy, he’s convinced now. I’m gonna be in NYC in a few weeks and Hair is on my list of shows to see. Maybe the camera will love me too?

    As for OCUNYC, I cherish the two years I went so deeply. I learned more in those quick weeks than I did in months of regular class time. Now that I’m out of school, I truly value the lessons I learned there. I think they put us a cut ahead of the game.

    Love you too much.

    Reply

    1. I was just so thrilled to be up on a Broadway stage with such a great cast, getting to sing and dance alongside them all. Afterwards, I got to talk to several of them (and hugged Diana DeGarmo!), and it was just the best time. I felt really comfortable amongst them, because a lot of them are right around the same age as us. You really, REALLY should go see it! It’s SO much fun!

      Reply

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