Posts Tagged ‘preparations


Preparation #3: Narrowing down my must-see Broadway musicals

My mother instilled in me a passion for musicals at a very young age. While other little girls could count the number of musicals they had seen on one hand, I could name musical after musical after musical that I had watched and loved with my mother. After seeing so many musicals on film, I naturally developed a love for live musical theatre as well. I grew up watching the Tony Awards and dreaming of going to Broadway shows. So far I have seen three shows on Broadway: Hairspray and The Producers in 2005 and Gypsy over Thanksgiving. This summer, I hope to add at least the following five to my list. No tight budget can stop me from taking advantage of the Great White Way.


9 to 5

I want to see this musical for one reason: Allison Janney. I haven’t seen the film the musical is based on, but I have seen every episode of The West Wing, and C.J. Cregg still holds the title of “Cassie’s All-Time Favorite Television Character.” Not even Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development could take away that title.

Allison Janney

Avenue Q

Avenue Q is a musical that I should have seen by now. There’s really no excuse. I’m in love with the music and have all the songs memorized. And after all these listens, I still laugh at the parts in the songs you’re supposed to laugh. I gave myself a break from listening to it when I graduated from college because all of the sudden, I was 22 and trying to find my life’s purpose. It was just too real. That, and I couldn’t listen to “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” without crying.

Avenue Q

Billy Elliot

Confession: I don’t have a huge desire to see Billy Elliot, but I feel like it’s one of those shows you’re just sort of obligated to see while you’re in New York because everyone is raving over it so much. That’s what happened with The Producers when I was in NYC in 2005. I guess I should see the musical that got nominated for 15 Tonys. And who doesn’t love music by Elton John?

Billy Elliot

In the Heights

In the Heights is another one of those musicals where I hear the music first and see the actual show second. I love the story, and I love the music. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds on stage. Unfortunately, Lin-Manuel Miranda is no longer portraying Usnavi, but Broadway is grueling and people can’t stay in roles forever.

In the Heights

West Side Story

I’ve never seen a stage production of West Side Story, but of course I’ve seen the movie. I think I saw it for the first time in music class in grade school, and I remember being very bored. I’ve changed my opinion since then. As I got older, I was able to understand the deeper and darker themes of the musical. And I began to appreciate how magnificent the music is. I mean, seriously. Between “Tonight” and “Somewhere,” I’m just in musical heaven. I would see this Broadway revival regardless, but the production decided to do something different this time — it added Spanish. Not only is there Spanish dialogue, but some of the songs are even in Spanish too. Fittingly, Lin-Manuel Miranda did the translations. In the Heights opened the door for West Side Story to attempt more authenticity with its portrayal of the Sharks. It makes sense to have certain songs in Spanish. In musicals, characters burst into song because ordinary words can no longer express what they are feeling. Of course Maria would sing “I Feel Pretty” in Spanish because it’s what comes most natural to her. I already love this change to the production, and I really can’t wait to see how it turns out.

West Side Story


Preparation #2: Researching bars

When I studied abroad in the spring of 2007, we had a habit of choosing bars that had the best descriptions in Let’s Go Europe. This method had mixed results. A bar in Salamanca, Spain that looked like the inside of a submarine was a total bust, but a nightclub in Florence, Italy called Space Electronic (complete with space decor) ended up being a wild success. Because I have my very own copy of Let’s Go New York City, I decided to bring back my old method when making my list of bars that I absolutely have to go to this summer. I picked the following five bars based only on the awesomeness of the descriptions. I have not looked at any online ratings. For your enjoyment, I have also included the actual descriptions that appear in Let’s Go. These bars could be total disappointments, but I have some lingering post-election hope that just won’t go away yet.



5. Beer Garden at Bohemia Hall (because I want to celebrate my heritage)

“Operated by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society, this rowdy Czech restaurant and 900-seat outdoor beer garden is packed every night with a fun-loving, heavy drinking, heavy smoking crowd. If you’re hungry, try Bohemian staples like fried cheese with french fries ($8) and crunchy pork schnitzel ($10.50).”


4. Pete’s Candy Store (because I want to be in a spelling bee again)

“This soda-shop-turned-bar hosts live music every night at 9pm and a quirky assortment of activities beforehand. M 7:30 pm alternates between spelling bees and stand-up comedy. Tu 7-9pm bingo night. W 7:30pm quiz-off. Every other Th 7:30pm prose and poetry readings. Sa 5-8pm partners Scrabble. Su in summer 5-9pm barbecue in the backyard. Pomegranate margaritas $8.”


3. KGB (because I’ve always wanted to go to a Communist bar called KGB)

“Formerly a meeting place for the Ukrainian Communist Party; today a hangout for literati and Slavophiles. Many well-known authors and poets do readings her; recent appearances by Michael Cunningham and Jhumpa Lahiri. The bar retains its original Soviet furnishings, including a Lenin propaganda banner and candle-illuminated photos of factories, and serves over 20 kinds of Stoli shots.”


2. Employees Only (because of the handlebar moustaches)

“In this classy bar with a 20s feel, skilled bartenders in white chef’s uniforms—all with handlebar moustaches—mix up some of the best vintage cocktails in the city. The name derives from the establishment’s goal of mixing drinks so good that other bars’ employees come here for their own libations. There’s no sign other than the neon ‘Psychic’ in the window; one is often on hand.”


1. The Back Room (because I want to drink beer wrapped in a paper bag)

“This faithful rendition of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, housed in an ordinary-looking apartment building, is appropriately difficult to find. Go through the iron gate by the ‘Lower East Side Toy Company’ sign; there’s a bouncer posted there on the weekends. Head to the back of the courtyard, and go up the stairs to your right. You’ll find yourself in a classy parlor-like space, where 20- and 30-somethings drink hard-liquor concoctions out of teacups and beer from bottles wrapped in paper bags. A sliding bookcase gives way to a ‘secret’ 2nd bar. A fireplace blazes in the winter. Large groups, especially of men, could have trouble at the door.”



Preparation #1: Signing up for a class at the UCB

I can’t quite believe it, but I leave for New York City on Saturday. I’m slightly terrified but also extremely excited. After all, some of my best friends are waiting for me with open arms, and we’ll be celebrating my 23rd birthday the night I get there. It’s a good way to start my two months in the city.

I haven’t started packing or shopping for new clothes yet, but I’ve been preparing for my summer in other ways. I decided I wanted to take complete advantage of my time in NYC, so I signed up for an improv class at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.


The UCB is a place where you can see an improv comedy show for $5 or $10, and famous comedians regularly appear there. I went to one show in November, and Chevy Chase showed up. Quite a few people from 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live have performed there, so it’s a pretty quality place. The UCB offers sketch-writing classes too. If one of those opens up, I might switch over and drop the improv class. But the more I think about it, the more I think I should take the class that scares me more, which is definitely improv.

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A blog about my summer as an unpaid intern in New York City.

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